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Grammatical Mistakes You Were Not Aware Of

Looking for that one place where you find -All that YOU need; to help you clear the
English section of competitive exams? Look no further! This blog post carries some of the most common grammatical mistakes you
werent aware of and their correct answers.
Not all is intended to be covered, nor all is intended to be explained-what is covered below should be enough for you to go ahead and
attempt correctly 8 out of 10 questions on English, Grammar & related in any competitive exam be it CLAT, CSAT, UGC-NET, Bank
PO, CAT, GRE, GMAT, SSC, NDA or any that happens in India.
1. Redundancies
It really hurts to overflow the ears with repetitive usage of similar meaning words.
Classic Cases:
a.)
Blunder
Mistake,
b.)
Return
Back,
c.)
Added
Bonus,
d.)
Happy
5th year
anniversary!!!!
e.) Also (this one is often heard on cooking shows): Let the sauce reduce down. How else can it reduce but down. Just say reduce
and be done with it!
Careful Tip:
For Males: Dont just spend words extravagantly, sometimes its classy to bargain and spend the optimum words.
For Females: Carry on with your judicious spending, it just works always!
2. Two Villains Vs One Villain
Heres one that really bothers me. Just read the next two lines:
I
couldnt help
I couldnt help thinking/laughing/worrying, etc.

but

think/laugh/worry,

etc

Which one makes sense to you?


Rule: Realize that using help and but together creates a double negative.
Cricket tip: Helping SALMAN BUTT when he was caught on tape could act as something negative for you.
Filmi Tip:The one villain (one negative) theory has given us hits; Two villains (two negatives) create confusion, complexity and
thus lead to flops (egregious errors).
3. Collective Nouns
There are instances where we use collective nouns as singular entities rather than plural like:
The
The crowd were rushing

crowd was rushing

Or

(Both the forms are fine in appropriate situations)


What presses the button is usage like The club has elected their first president or The committee has passed their new rule.
Rule: Wecannot mix singular and plural forms like this? ( If you stillthink we can, think questions like HAS
THEY?) Wouldnt it sound better like :
1.
The
club has elected its first
president.
Or
The club have elected their first president.
2.
The
committee has passed its new
rule.
Or
The committee have passed their new rule.
Fun Tip: Same Same Works in the Game.

So If youre going to refer to a group (usually of people) with the pronoun they, or possessive pronoun their, then use the plural form
of the verb in the same sentence. If you prefer to use singular pronouns, then thats OK too so long as you use the singular form of the
verb!
4. The Random Apostrophe
Im thinking of starting a Save the Apostrophe campaign because it is in danger of dying out altogether because of mass
prostitution of usage. Unusual modern use of the apostrophe is in plural acronyms, like FAQs, NGOs, and CDs.
Rule: S with an apostrophe indicates possession as in The NGOs new project was a novel concept.
Here with NGOs we are talking about the project initiated by the NGO. So when we need to talk in terms of multiplicity of number, we
just need an s and not an apostrophe.
Today most of the NGOs are doing really well.
Some more examples to check out:
a)
Plots
b) Learn ABCs/ ABCs of Economics

Plots

for

sale.

5. Obsessed myself
Now that makes me gnash my teeth and curl my toes. I cook myself.
Friends, understand that this means you are going to fry, bake, saut etcetera your own self instead of the food. So when you are trying
to make your way to somebodys heart through food cooked by you, use
I cooked food on my own.
Only in case you have an intention of sacrificing your life and offering yourself in platter to somebody, use Ill cook myself.
6. Gender Bias
Woman/women used as an adjective rather than female like Women pilots. This seems to have become standard usage. Have you
ever thought of saying man politicians or men doctors? No, right!
Then why is it acceptable to say women lawyers?
Empowering Tip: Fight for Gender equality while your English usage gets corrected along. So the next time you see doctor who is a
lady, tag her female doctor.
7. Direct Translation From Hindi
It just wrecks my ear when I hear people say I called her again and again. Or even more nave Come Come sit
sit (Hyperbole intended).
Lovely Tip: The best way to keep the love of language is to give it wings of individuality and worst way to lose the same is to hold it
tight with other languages.
8. Effect Vs Affect
Just remember the pictures that follow and youll never forget Effect Vs Affect.

The venom affected the villain.


The
effect of nail was notorious.
Affect: Affect with an a means to influence, as in, The venom affected the villian. Or to act as in She affected an air of
superiority.
Effect: Effect with an e means a result as in The effect of the nail was notorious or The lighting effects were spectacular.
Rule: Barring a few exceptions, Affectis used as a verb and effect as a noun. Its easy to remember with the picture.
The Venom affected the Villain, Remember the Vs in the sentence and youll remember that affected is averb. And
The effect of nail wasnotorious, Remember the Ns and youll know that effect is a noun. And once you remember that Affect with
an a is generally used as a Verb and Effect with an e is generally used as a Noun, youll get it in 95% of the sentences.
EXCEPTIONS:
Well, affect can be used as a noun when youre talking about psychologyit means the mood that someone appears to have. For
example, She displayed a happy affect. Psychologists find it useful because they know that you can never really understand what
someone else is feeling. You can only know how theyappear to be feeling.
And, effect can be used as a verb that essentially means to bring about, or to accomplish. For example, you could say, Kapil Sabil
hoped to effect change in the education system.
9. And some more

Its just too common to encounter statements like more better, more faster, more swifter. Before I explain, just
carefully read the statement Women are more better mangers than men.
When we compare two things, we use comparative adjectives like:
Their
report
was better
than our
report
or
Akash is wiser than Mohan
These are perfectly legitimate sentences. We dont need to use more to compare the two things as the comparative
form of the adjective has already been used.
For example:
1)
2)
3) Happy, Happier

Good

Better
Louder

Loud,

Rule: Using a more with comparative adjectives is repetitive and so is incorrect.


Scroll though some examples:
a)
Her
dress
is
more
Her dress is prettier than my dress. (Correct)

prettier

b)
The
meal
was
more
The meal was better than last night. (Correct)

better

than
than

my

dress.(Incorrect)

last

night.

(Incorrect)

10. Regardless vs Irregardless


We mistakenly use irregardless instead of regardless. Regardless means without regard or despite something.
For example: I will eat ice cream regardlessof the fact that mom will get angry.
Rule: Now ir is a negative prefix and if we use it with regardless, it gives us a double negative word that means
Without without regard
The only reason people use it is that they follow the pattern of words like irresponsible and irrespective. Try for
yourself:
a)
b)

I
am
not
going
to
school
____________
___________ of the terror alerts, he went to buy a gift for her.

of

the

consequences.

11. So we use So so much that it is one of the most common error.


Emphasizing the words in your statements to add the required intensity to your speech but why not do it in a
grammatically correct way? So seems to add punch to a simple statement Im sooooo happy, which is fine in
informal conversation. But in formal writing we need to hold our horses of intense emotions and understand the
rule.
Rule: When we use so with an adjective, so becomes an indefinite adverb of degree instead of a vague intensifier.
So, when I say Im so happy, it pops up the question how happy I am? Thus we need to pair it with that.
For example: Im so happy that I feel like dancing on the rooftop. Here that answers: How happy I am?
So the tip: When you use so as an adjective, link it with another clause like that.
Practice time:
a)
b)

I
am
_____
frustrated
He was ________ excited. (So/very)

that

cant

wait

even

for

second.

(So/very)

12. Literally
Im literally dying to correct this error. So would just start straight. Literallymeans Exactly, accurately, plainly
but when I when I said Im literally dying to correct this error.
Rule: I was trying to draw an analogy to exemplify the intensity of my emotion. So what I mean is figurative and not
literal.
Literal examples:
a)
Im
(literally)
starving
b) He is kicking ass at the kick boxing championship tournament.

to

death.

13. Dress sense vs Dressing sense


When you turn around to check out your friends clothes and say with a WOW, Great dressing sense girl!, you are
giving your language a dressing down because of incorrect usage.
Rule: Somebodys taste in clothes or their ability to coordinate colors & styles effectively is Dress Sense. Dressing is
a verb, an action. So Dressing Sense is the sense of doing the action.
Thus,
she
has
She has a good Dress sense (Correct)

good

Beautiful Tip: Dress up your language with correct usage.


14. Suppose Vs Supposed

Dressing

sense

(Incorrect)

Now both these words have different meanings. Lets check out:
Suppose:
1) To think. Like I suppose I should leave
Supposed:
1)
Required
or
obliged
like
You
are
supposed
to
complete
2) Mistakenly believed or based on not very strong evidence like She is the supposed Boss.

your

work

Lets just take one example:


I
am suppose to
I am supposed to go (Correct)

go

(Incorrect)

In the above sentence we mean required to go, so we should use Supposed. So far so good but the confusion also
sets in with past form of the verb Suppose and the adjective Supposed (second meaning of supposed)
Lets try and understand:
A.
After
no
response
from
her
friend,
she supposed she
was
not
coming.
B. Their supposed leader failed to support them in tough times.
In the first sentence, the verb, supposed, follows directly after the subject. In the second sentence, supposed is in the
adjective place in front of the noun. Dont forget the adjective form looks like the past tense, but it isnt really a verb.
Try out some examples for more clarity:
a)
I
___________you
will
tell
me
when
its
time
b) He is __________to be at work at 6:00 P.M.( suppose/supposed)

for

dinner.

(suppose/supposed)

15. Its Vs Its


Its raining or Its raining?
I know while we talked about Apostrophes, we discussed that s with an apostrophe means possession. So keeping
that in mind you would reject Its raining as incorrect.
But this one is an exception to the Rule.
Rule: Here Its is a contraction of it is or it has and here Its is a possessive pronoun.
Forever Rule: Repeat your sentence out loud using it is instead. If that sounds goofy, its is likely the correct
choice.
Thus, Its raining
(Incorrect)
Its raining (Correct)
Try some of these:
a)
b)

This
club
has
_____ not easy to keep your word always. (its/its)

lost

______motto.

its/its)

16. Sex Vs Gender


Do I sound alien when I say you can have a male sex with a feminine gender or a female sex with a masculine
gender
If I do, I wish to clarify that I am cent percent sure that what I am saying is possible under completely usual, normal
circumstances.
Rule: Sex is designation of male or female and Gender is designation of masculine or feminine tendencies. Though
both these words are used interchangeably very often but its never too late to learn new things.
Here are some examples:
a)
The
participants
were
segregated
according
b) The gender portrayed by the protagonists was the highlight of the play.

to

sex

and

interests.

17. Plural Mania


Even the people with command over the English language, sometimes err with plural forms of words.
Hair Vs Hairs: We usually use Hair even when we are talking about millions of hair on somebodys head. Like: she
has got beautiful hair.
Rule: It is because we take hair as uncountable unless there is something in the sentence to suggest that they are
countable. For e.g.She found two hairs in the dish plate. Now here, two signifies that they are countable, so we use
Hairs.
Consider the some words which we mess while using their plural forms:
Singular
Plural
a)

Criterion

Criteria

b)

Crisis

Crises

c)

Formula

Formulae

d)

Radius

e)

Spoonful

f)

Daughter-in-law

g)

Maid-Servant

h)

Radii
Spoonfuls
Daughter-in-laws
Maid-Servants

Man-servant

Men-servant

17. Do I hate moms ranting or I hate mom ranting?


Confused? Read on for the confusion to settle. The words with +ing have three forms.
1) Verb : Doing action like She is sleeping in her room (Here sleeping is an action)
2) Participle (Modifier): Adjective like The sleeping girls smile is very beautiful (Here sleeping modifies noun Girl
as an adjective does)
Adverb like She sat sleeping in the class(Here sleeping modifies the verb Sat as an adverb)
3) Gerund : Noun like Sleeping relieves stress (Here sleeping is a noun because you can replace it with something
that is more obviously a noun: say Pen).
The trouble is with possessives before a gerund, so we move to the basic question:
Do I hate moms ranting or I hate mom ranting?
Though mom may be irritating you, the real source of your irritation is the ranting itself and, therefore, the subject of
the sentence. So you would say I hatemoms ranting and not mom ranting. (Of course, you dont hate your mom).
Here ranting is the noun and subject, so the modifier needs the proper structurein this case, a possessive form:
moms .
Whose ranting is getting on your nerves? The moms
Heres another example:
I appreciate you working for me. Correct? or Incorrect?
Just ask yourself, do I appreciate the work or the person? Of course, you appreciate the work done, so working is the
subject of the sentence. So it should be I appreciate your working for me
Not so Compassionate Tip: Put the deeds ahead of the person.
Some more examples:
a)
I
I hate your spending. (Correct)

hate

b)
I
love
I love that birds humming. (Correct)

you
that

spending.
bird

(Incorrect)

humming.

(Incorrect)

18. Hopefully, I hope we get it right


This word is used incorrectly so much (including by me) it may be too late. But lets make you smarter anyway.
Hopefully is an adverb like she looked hopefully at the ice cream. It modifies the verb looked. Here, she is looking
in a hopeful manner, in a hope to get the ice cream. But the problem is when we use something like Hopefully, I will
get that ice cream.
Here hopefully is modifying the complete sentence and not just the verb. Look at this sentence:
Hopefully, Tarun stole the exam paper
Now it could mean two things:
1)
Tarun
stole
the
exam
2) Taruns friends are hopeful that he stole the paper.

paper

in

hopeful

manner.

Rule: In order to avoid confusion or ambiguity in interpretation of the sentences, you should never start a sentence
with hopefully.
Other words that can function as sentence adverbs include fortunately andhonestly
Fortunately,
I
was
out
by
then.
(Incorrect)
Honestly, I wish I were somewhere else. (Incorrect)
Both of them are modifying the complete sentence.
So, it should be:
I
was
fortunately
I honestly wish I were someone else. (Correct)
19. Doubt that Vs Doubt whether

out

by

then.

(Correct)

Doubt that is used when you are sure about something being false / negative. Basically, it is reflects surety from your
side about some situation. And doubt whether is used in situations of uncertainty.
I do
not
doubt that
he
will
succeed.
(negative
sentence)
I doubt whether the news is true.(uncertain sentence)
TIP: Weather forecasts by MET department are always uncertain. So, you can always be in doubt WHETHER the
WEATHER will be pleasant today.
Connect WEATHER = WETHER = UNCERTAINTY
How did you find this article?
Some of you would say Nice, some would say Ok while some would answer through web, google, website etc.
My intention was to ask if this article was able to clarify your doubts but with sloppy usage my question was
interpreted in other ways. Thus find is to be used when the intention is to ask How did you get to know about this
article? or anything else.
For example:
How did you find this place/person?
But when you wish to ask if I liked the place or the person, use verbs like Like. So to modify: How did you like this
place/person?And so correcting myself, let me ask you How did you like this article?