See what I did there? Ooh you're observant this Friday morning. Those are some 'over the top' mistakes but I just want to check you're awake.
I think this week's subject is fairly obvious. Grammar. I used to teach Literacy and ESOL and for a while taught English to foreign students whose English was better than mine. I knew it was time to brush up on my grammar when one day, unable to immediately answer a question, a student eloquently said, “Well if you don't know, how are we supposed to learn?” In front of a class of thirty students, this was not one of my finest classroom moments (although there were far worse). Anyway, I determined then, never to be caught out by the Future Perfect Continuous Passive* again.
But I was. I was always caught out, not just because some students made 'tripping up teacher' a hobby, but because English grammar is complicated and contradictory, even to a native speaker. It's easy to make mistakes when we're speaking and even easier when writing. But as we're told over and over again, before we send a manuscript out, it must be polished until we can see our face in its reflection. And then given another wipe just to be sure. Tenses correct, apostrophes in the right places, commas doing their proper job. The list is endless.
I have two grammatical weak points. I actually have far more than two, but these in particular need constant vigilance.
1) Homophones. (Words that sound the same, spelt differently with a different meaning.) In a blog post I talked about a leek in my roof and really didn't see the mistake until a kind reader pointed it out. In a blog post that's no big deal but in a subbed piece, it wouldn't have done me any favours.
2) Relative Pronouns (Which / Who /That). Who refers to people and which refers to things. That is more informal and can refer to either. I always have to stop and think about these.
So my question to you today is this. What are your grammar weak points and are there any grammatical mistakes that irk you when you hear or read them? I'm really not fond of should of/could of, instead of should have/could have.
Be brave. I don't believe many people are grammatically perfect. If any.
Here are a couple of websites, used for EFL/ESOL students but with some good basic grammar 'rules'.
* Example - The novel is going to have been being written for 20 years by the time she finishes it.
A tense rarely, if ever, used. I bet that student has never used it.