If there's one thing I know about conversational writing, it's this: you always have the liberty to occasionally go amiss with grammatical rules to make the conversation fun and engaging!
Also, internet is where you'll always find someone keeping a check on your grammar. Then, there comes a time when you make silly grammar glitches that make you look dumb. Trust me, this is the most dreaded place for any educated and confident individual.
Its and It’s
One of the most common mistakes people make is confusing the usage of ‘its’ and ‘it’s’, and even using them interchangeably. Although the struggle is understandable since apostrophe s (‘s) is mostly used to indicate possession. However, that is not the case while using ‘it’s’. Here ‘it’s’ is merely a contraction of ‘it is’, whereas ‘its’ indicates the possessive form of ‘it’.
“Its” is a possessive and “it’s” is a contraction of “it is”.
It is my pen, can be written as It’s my pen
My cat is running down the stairs. I can hear its (its refer to the cat here) footsteps.
Your and you’re
Taken from the first episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S in series 4, "YOU apostrophe RE means “YOU’RE”, YOUR means “YOUR”, and that is how most teenagers of the 90s learnt the difference between the two. Isn't it?
In this case too, the one with the apostrophe indicates the contraction form and the one without apostrophe indicates possessive form.
For example, you’re a student and this is your assignment.
Whose and who’s
Yet another dilemma caused by the apostrophe! And again, the same rule applies here - who with an apostrophe s (that is ‘who’s’) indicates contraction for ‘who is’, while who without the apostrophe (that is ‘whose’) indicates possessive form.
For example, whose book is this?
Who’s that girl standing near the water cooler?
Then and than
Most people confuse ‘then’ and ‘than’ because they sound and look almost similar. However, ‘than’ is used to compare two things or sentences and ‘then’ is indicative of time and order of occurrence of events.
“Than” is a conjunction that is used mostly for making comparisons. “Then”, on the other hand, is commonly used as an adverb where it helps define the flow of actions in time.
For example, I like my blue dress more than my pink dress.
I wrote my paper, then the teacher evaluated it.
Affect versus effect
There are many people I know who have impeccable hold on the English language, but often get feel perplexed when writing.
To jot the different, “Affect” is a verb, whereas “Effect” is a noun. By thinking the purpose and intent of the statement, you can usually sort it out.
For example: What will be the effect of demonetisation on the economy?
How demonisation is going to affect the lives of daily wage earners?
Have you ever made any of these mistakes? How many of these differences did you know? What other common grammar errors do you think leave you cringing over the English language? Let us know in the comment section below.
India’s most prolific entrepreneurship conference TechSparks is back! With it comes an opportunity for early-stage startups to scale and succeed. Apply for Tech30 and get a chance to get funding of up to Rs 50 lakh and pitch to top investors live online.