- We started small, but as the company has grown over the past ten years.
- The reason we cancelled the picnic was because there was a thunderstorm.
- I have never and will never go skydiving.
- I have waited for this opportunity for year’s.
- None of the executives were available to meet the visitor.
- We had to choose between three good candidates for the job.
- The amount of people taking the subway is growing all the time.
- Have you seen Shakespeare’s play, “Romeo and Juliet?”
- There the best cameras on the market.
- Our company has attacked the market aggressive since the summer.
1. This is not a complete sentence. What happened as the company grew? We must either add something at the end or remove the word as.
Correct: We started small, but as the company has grown over the past ten years we have employed hundreds of people.
Correct: We started small, but the company has grown over the past ten years.
2. Never pair reason and because.
Correct: The reason we cancelled the picnic was that there was a thunderstorm.
Correct: We cancelled the picnic because there was a thunderstorm.
3. The opening phrase is incomplete. In this construction, you must be able to take out the intervening phrase and will never. If we do that here, we will be left with have never go, which doesn’t make sense.
Correct: I have never gone and will never go skydiving.
Correct: I have never gone skydiving, and I never will.
4. This is an incorrect use of the apostrophe. Years in this sentence is not possessive, but simply a plural noun. As such, it requires no apostrophe.
Correct: I have waited for this opportunity for years.
5. The word none is a shortened form of the phrase not one, which would take the singular form. Therefore, none also takes the singular.
Correct: None of the executives was available to meet the visitor.
6. Between is used to compare two. For more than two, use among.
Correct: We had to choose among three good candidates for the job.
7. Use the word number for countable nouns, i.e. those that can be divided into countable units. For non-countable nouns, use amount or quantity.
Correct: The number of people who take the subway is growing all the time.
Correct: The amount of time I spend on the subway is also growing.
8. Although the entire sentence is a question, the part inside the quotation marks is not. Therefore, the question mark should come outside the second quotation mark.
Correct: Have you seen Shakespeare’s play, "Romeo and Juliet”?
Note: In modern usage, you can eliminate this problem by using italics in place of quotation marks, as I have done in this article.
9. There is much confusion among three words that sound the same, but have different meanings: their, there and they’re. Their means belonging to them; there usually means in that place but can also be an introductory word, as I have used it at the beginning of this paragraph; they’re is a contraction of they are.
Correct: I like their cameras very much.
Correct: Let’s look at the cameras over there.
Correct: They’re the best cameras on the market.
10. Aggressive is an adjective, which must describe a noun or pronoun. In this sentence, it is describing the verb has attacked, and for that we need an adverb.
Correct: Our company has attacked the market aggressively since the summer.
Correct: Our company has mounted an aggressive attack on the market.
Well, how many did you answer correctly? Using correct grammar is vital to good writing, and making these common mistakes can damage your image as a professional. For more help with your grammar, have a look at 101 Grammar Gaffes.
Helen Wilkie speaks at conferences and conducts corporate training sessions on all aspects of business communication. She is the author of Message Received and Understood! and The Hidden Profit Center. Contact her by phone at 416-966-5023, by e-mail at email@example.com or browse her main website at www.mhwcom.com
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