The Write Stuff August 2020 Volume 16 Issue 8

Grammar Pet Peeves from a Gen Zer

Wonder if younger generations care about grammar? Please enjoy this month’s featured article, written by my 22-year-old niece, Jenna — Michigan State Class of 2020.

Hello! Thank you for having me in your newsletter, Aunt Adrienne. I’ve been on this email list since elementary school and I’m honored to be your first guest columnist — to share a few of my grammar pet peeves as your resident Gen Zer.

1. Affect vs. Effect — These verbs can be very easy to mix up — even fresh out of 19 years of education! The way I remember it best is: affect means to impact or change and is usually a verb, while effect is the result of a change and is usually a noun.

2. Your vs. You’re — This mistake is super frustrating to come across and might be one of the most common grammar flubs I see on social media. Rule of thumb: your is possessive and you’re is a contraction for the words you are.

3. Alot is not a word! — Remember a lot is two words and the word alot doesn’t exist. Simple as that.

4. Its vs. It’s — It’s really the little things that get me — see what I did there? So often, minor punctuation errors can throw off a sentence. Its vs. it’s is a prime example. Remember its is possessive and it’s is simply a contraction for it is.

5. Choose vs. Chose — The way I remember this common mixup takes me back to the days of sounding out words in elementary school. When two o’s are next to one another, it makes a long “oo” sound. Thus, chooseis a present tense verb (I’m choosing to pay attention to grammar) and chose is a past tense verb (I chose marketing as my college major).

6. Breath vs. Breathe — When I see this mistake, I wonder if people realize how silly their sentences sound; maybe it’s just me and the grammar DNA I have in my genes. (Thanks, Aunt Adrienne!) Breath is a noun that refers to the breathing pattern, while breathe is a verb describing the action of inhaling and exhaling.

For those who made it this far, thank you! I hope this has been helpful. If I’ve learned anything from my aunt, it’s that it’s never too late to correct your writing mechanics.

Be still my heart; Jenna sure makes me proud. And if you want to learn more about her — she’s exploring opportunities — visit her website:


Thank you to one of my faithful readers, who sent in this sign faux pas. Do you see it? It should read construction personnel, not personal. Wonder how many sets of eyes missed that during the production of the sign — and every day since?

Time Flies

September 1 will mark the 16th anniversary of me making the leap from employee to freelancer. I’d like to thank everyone who’s supported me over the years. While it was scary to leave certainty for unpredictability, I’m so glad I did.

Published On: August 17th, 2020 / Categories: 2020 /

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