Grammar Essentials to Learn on National Grammar Day

Writing has been made relatively easy. With modern spellcheckers on your computer or phone and software like Grammarly or ProWritingAid, the average reader might never know you nearly failed all of your English classes.

However, you should never rely too heavily on software. One reason is that this is inefficient. If you are spending as much time checking your writing as you are writing it, you are doing something wrong. The second is that these tools aren’t perfect.

So the more you understand the essentials of grammar, the faster you will complete whatever you are working on and the lower the chances that an embarrassing mistake will make it into your published piece.

Direct Address

Direct address seems trickier than it is. Have you ever seen sentences like these and wondered what makes them different?

“Frank, when are you bringing the test results for the supplements?”

“Frank is coming to the meeting with the supplement test results for BrainMD, Premier Research Labs, Integrative Therapeutics.”

This is the difference between direct and indirect address. In the first sentence, you can imagine that you are speaking directly to Frank to find out information. In the second sentence, you are talking about Frank but not directly to him.

It, It’s, and Its

Apostrophes play an important role in words you may be overlooking. 

You may be most familiar with the apostrophe as a way to show possession or as a contraction. But apostrophes aren’t always for showing possession. 

It, it’s, and its is a great example of this. It is a pronoun that is used in place of a subject that has been previously established. It’s is a contraction of it and is. While its shows possession. For example, when talking about a car’s engine, you would say, “Its engine has died.” 

People make the mistake of using “it’s” to show possession, when they should use “its.” This is the same for who, who’s, and whose. For example, “Whose car is this?” 

Commonly Confused Words

Here are a few words you should not confuse. While many of us will confuse words from time-to-time, many people are like you and won’t notice the incorrect usage. However, some of these could cause confusion and should be avoided.

  • Accept and except: The word accept means to receive or take something. Except means to leave something out.
  • Apart and a part: The word apart means to be separate or in pieces. A part means one thing that could be joined with something else.
  • Elicit and illicit: The word elicit means to evoke or draw focus to something. Illicit could mean something that is forbidden or illegal.
  • Precede and proceed: The word precede means to come before. Proceed means to begin or continue forward.
  • Through, threw, thorough, though, and thru: The word through means to complete or into or out of. Threw is the past tense of throw. Thorough means complete or careful. Though is another way to say however. Thru is slang for complete.

Final Thoughts

Making the correct word choices is important to properly convey your intended meaning. In your normal day-to-day, using the right words can save you from making mistakes and will show a certain amount of professionalism that some people lack when they take good grammar for granted.