7 (More!) Grammar Mistakes You Don't Want to Make

Are these your grammar pet peeves?

By Amy Mascott
Mar 10, 2014



Mar 10, 2014

We had such a great response to our first post about 7 Grammar Mistakes You Don't Want to Make that we decided there must be a second: 7 (More!) Grammar Mistakes You Don't Want to Make. 

So here it is, seven more grammar mistakes that many of our readers and Facebook fans declared their "pet peeves."  These are mistakes we hear in everyday conversation, on school fliers, on menus -- you name it. 


Whether you diagram sentences for fun and get a kick out of spotting the occasional misplaced modifier or even if the mere thought of grammar makes your skin crawl, there's no doubt about it: Grammar ROCKS!


So here's the skinny on seven (more!) common grammar hang-ups for kids and parents.  These are the mistakes you don't want to make. 


1.  a lot vs alot


A lot is correct and alot is incorrect.

The class has had a lot of time to complete the project, so it should be done well. 


We have a lot of great ideas for the spring fair. 



2.  to vs too vs two


To can be a preposition.

We're going to the park. 


To can indicate an infinitive when it precedes a verb.

We want to help in any way we can. 


Too is an adverb that can mean excessively when it precedes an adjective or adverb.

I ate too much ice cream for dessert. 


Too is a synonym for also.

I ate too much ice cream for dessert, too


Two is a number.  

Marcy ate two pieces of pie.

I have two books I'd like to read.



3.  are vs our


Are is a verb in present tense, a form of the verb "to be."

We are staying at the hotel closest to the stadium. 

They are my cousins.


Our is an adjective, the plural possessive form of we.

They will bring our keys to the hotel lobby. 

The pleasure is all ours.



4.  double negatives


A double negative is the combination of two negatives when only one is necessary.


Incorrect: I don't have nothing to say to him. 

Instead, say: I don't have anything to say to him. OR, I have nothing to say to him.

Incorrect: Barry doesn't want no help from you. 

Instead, say: Barry doesn't want any help from you.


When double negatives are used, often the writer's intended meaning is not clearly conveyed to readers, as in: She is not unattractive



5.  feel badly vs feel bad


Feel bad is correct if you're talking about emotions.                               


Because feel is a linking verb and a linking verb is followed by an adjective—not an adverb—the latter phrase is correct. 


I feel bad about not bringing a snack for her. 


It gets confusing because feel can be an action verb or a linking verb. Action verbs express actions, and linking verbs are less powerful; they express a state of being or a sense, such as feel, smell, and taste.



Those flowers smell sweet.  (The flowers have a sweet smell.)

The old dog smells badly.  (The old dog is not good at smelling.)



6.  irregardless 


Irregardless is a word, though it is not a standard word -- meaning that common usage has put it in many dictionaries. 


Regardless means without regard, so irregardless, with the negative prefix ir- means without without regard. It doesn't make sense.  Irregardless is not a good word. Don't use it. 



7.   by accident or on accident


Though research has found that the majority of people under 35 use the phrase on accident and those over 35 prefer by accident, both are correct.  


Since 1970, the phrase on accident has been on the rise, perhaps from combining by accident with on purpose.  Which do you prefer?



Those are our seven additional grammar mistakes, folks! And just for kicks, do you think it's cannot or can not? (Both are correct.)  But again, which do you prefer? 


And one last grammar fact, just for good luck: anyways is not a word!




Share your thoughts on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page, or find Amy on Twitter, @teachmama, and let's continue the conversation!



Read all posts by Amy Mascott.

Raise a Reader Blog
Age 13
Age 12
Age 11
Age 10
Age 9
Age 8
Age 7
Grammar and Mechanics