10 Grammar Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes on the Web

With more of your communications going over the web, you, like other business people, may worry about grammar. You don't want to get nailed by the grammar police or, worse, make a goofy grammatical mistake that goes viral. Here are 10 grammar errors to watch out for as you post and comment. 

1. "Fewer" or "less?" Use "fewer" when referring to a lower number, as in: "They have fewer than 100 workers." Use "less" when referring to a smaller amount, as in: "We need to get there in less time."

2. "More than," not "over." When referencing a greater number, use "more than," as in: "We have more than 15 new clients." "Over" is simply incorrect. It indicates a physical position in space, or can mean "instead of," but not "more than."

3. "Affect" or "effect?" Think what these words mean as verbs and you'll use them correctly as nouns. To "affect" something means to influence it. So if you influence something, you will have an "affect" on it. To "effect" something is to cause it. So if it's the result of something, it's an "effect."

4. "Me" or "I?" Always use "me" following a preposition, as in: "for me," "with me," "to me," etc. But people can get tripped up when something else is added. They'll say: "for my company and I" or "to my partners and I." Check yourself by leaving out the other element. You'd never say "for I."

5. "I could care less." People say this to be dismissive, but it's incorrect. If you could care less about something, that literally means you care more about it now than you ultimately might! People forget to include the "not" in the phrase. The correct statement is: "I couldn't care less."

6. "Nauseous" or "nauseated?" "Nauseous" refers to something that's sickening to contemplate, but it's not how a person can feel. The correct expression is: "I feel nauseated."

7. Irregardless. This isn't a word. The word is "regardless."

8. The Oxford comma. This is the name for the last comma in a series of three or more items. It appears before the word "and" or "or" at the end of the list. For example: "The shirt comes in Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large." You can omit the Oxford comma, but there will be times when the sentence won't make sense. Better to always put the Oxford comma in there.

9. Commas for clarity. Always read your copy out loud to see if you need a comma to make the meaning clear. "Let's eat my friend" is not the same invitation as: "Let's eat, my friend."

10. Quotation marks and punctuation. Punctuation belongs inside quotation marks.

The best way to make sure your grammar is correct is to check an authoritative source. PR professionals say two of the best are The Elements of Style and the AP Stylebook. Here's to your continued success with grammatically correct online communications, as you keep putting together your best year ever.... Enjoy a great month!

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