5 common grammatical errors in modern writing

For those who didn’t clamor to diagram sentences in Mrs. Pickering’s English class, some basics of syntax and structure can be elusive. Here are a few stumbling blocks to sidestep.

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With ever-tightening deadlines, burdensome workloads and looming burnout, even seasoned writers can slip up on grammatical tenets.

Here are five to refresh in your memory:

1. Parallel construction.

These days you can’t swing a dead albatross without hitting this construction:

He bought peanuts, Cracker Jack and went to the ballgame.

The series is shown to be flawed by removing the first two elements:

He bought peanuts, Cracker Jack and went to the ballgame. 

He bought went to the ballgame.  Really?

Better to recast it:

He bought peanuts and Cracker Jack and went to the ballgame.

In all likelihood, he opted to root, root, root for the home team, as well.

2. Nominative versus accusative case.

Nominative pronouns (I, we, he, she, they) are subjects of verbs; accusative pronouns (me, us, him, her, them) are direct objects of verbs. The latter forms are also used as objects of prepositions.

So instead of this:

Him and her should contact we and they. 

Go with:

He and she should contact us and them.

For some reason, this gaffe is more commonly seen when there is a first-person singular pronoun (I, me) and a person’s first name.

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