To get in the swing of the season, I’m extending five gifts – five errors that should be a cinch to spot. Identify them all to bat 1.000.
1. I could of hitched a ride with Carrie, but I decided to drive.
2. Except for Jerry and myself, everyone arrived on time.
3. We heard that your going to Florida for a few weeks.
4. Sherry has ran in more than 10 marathons.
5. Please send your reactions to the proposal to Barry and I.
“C” for correctness and credibility
No one can bat 1.000 every day, so the best we can do is limit our errors and commit to avoiding errors that are so fundamental they will distract the reader and rob us of credibility. The errors in numbers 1, 3, and 4 fall in that category. (The errors in 2 and 5 are fundamental as well, but, unfortunately, commonplace. Try to get those right every time, too.)
1. The reason for this error is our pronouncing could have as could’ve, which lures us into writing could of instead of could have.
2. Far too often, writers and speakers use I or myself when the correct pronoun is me. We don’t have to be grammar experts to get this right. Just eliminate Jerry and for a moment. It should then be clear that except for me sounds correct, so we want except for Jerry and me.
3. Ouch. We want the contraction for you are – you’re – not your.
4. The conjugation goes “Today I run.” “Yesterday I ran.” And “I have run.” So it’s Sherry has run, not ran.
5. We’d never say send your reactions to I. Therefore, we want to Barry and me.