Grammar rules can seem like a nuisance. Honestly, do you really need to check every single document for appropriate hyphenation?
According to CUNY Journalism Press editor and writing coach Timothy Harper, the answer is a resounding “YES.”
“The whole point of grammar and punctuation is clarity,” he told Business Insider. If you write that a woman has “dirty-blonde hair,” for example, people know that you’re referring to the colour. “It doesn’t mean that she needs a shampoo,” Harper said, which it would if you’d written “dirty blonde hair.”
We asked Harper about the most common grammar mistakes he sees and added some that drive us crazy on a daily basis. Read on for a list of tricky – but super important – rules that get broken way too often.
1. Confusing ‘fewer’ and ‘less’
2. Confusing ‘amount’ and ‘number’
3. Confusing ‘it’s’ and ‘its’
4. Confusing ‘who’ and ‘whom’
5. Confusing ‘him’ and ‘he’
If you’re having trouble with this rule, Harper suggested taking away the “and.” For example, you can probably tell that the sentence “He gave it to I” sounds weird, so you can figure out that “He gave it to she and I” is also incorrect.