Sillies for Summer — Part 1
It might be the most relaxing season, but you don’t want to relax your writing efforts. In this issue and the next two, I’ll feature basic grammar mistakes that will make you look silly. Yes, this is rather elementary — but I know plenty of you will appreciate it.
- Your and You’re. Your is a possessive, i.e., your team, your home. You’re is the contraction of you are, i.e., you’re enjoying the longer days of summer.
- It’s and Its. It’s is the contraction of it is, i.e., it’s a great place to work. Its is a possessive pronoun, i.e., the company strictly adheres to its core values.
- There, Their and They’re. There is an adverb, i.e., we’re going to Hawaii and staying there for 10 days. Their is a determiner, i.e., their vacation, their passports. They’re is the contraction of they are, i.e., they’re going to have a great time.
- Affect and Effect. Affect is a verb, i.e., your performance will affect your bonus. Effect is usually a noun, i.e., the effect of your actions will soon be known. (Why usually? Effect can be used as a verb, meaning to cause something to happen, i.e., we effected a cure.)
- Then and Than. Then has a variety of meanings, including “at a point in time” and “in addition to,” i.e., she put on sunscreen, and then went for a swim. Than is used to compare two different things, i.e., my tan is deeper than yours.
I hope this is helpful. Silly has its place, but it’s not in the world of business — unless you write jokes for a living.
Invest or Fee?
Instead of using your fee or your cost in proposals, I’ve started using your investment. It makes a more powerful statement — one of gaining value rather than paying for something.
Your Pet Peeves
Thanks to those of you who shared your pet peeves with me after last month’s issue. My favorite is the overuse of on.
Waiting on his return vs. waiting for his return. It happened on accident vs. it happened by accident. I want to brag on my daughter vs. bragging about my daughter. Witnessed on the line of duty vs. witnessed in the line of duty.
When did we become so dependent on the word on?