- Books, Literature, and Writing
Grammar Mistakes NO ONE Should Make Part III
11. WHO v. WHOM
We often run into the issue of "hyper-correction" with who and whom. Many people use whom when they're not supposed to because they think it sounds "smart." It doesn't.
Use WHO when referring to the subject of a sentence or clause:
- Whoever wants a cookie can have one. ("Whoever" is the subject of the sentence)
- I will give a cookie to whoever wants one. (although "I" is the subject of the sentence, "whoever" is the subject of the clause "whoever wants one")
Use WHOM when referring to the object (direct or indirect) of a sentence, infinitive, OR preposition
- I will give the cookies to whomever I please ("whomever" is the object of the sentence)
- For whom will you write that letter? (whom is the object of the preposition "for")
HINT: You will ALWAYS use "whom" if it is followed by a noun/pronoun (that's not the only time to use whom, but it's one good trick).
12. MISUSE OF ADJECTIVES
Adjectives only modify nouns, be verbs, and linking verbs. Be verbs are any form of the word "be" such as am, is, are, was, were. Linking verbs are verbs of the senses such as "feels," "looks," "smells," "appears," "seems," etc. If you are unsure about a linking verb, replace it with a form of "be." If it still makes sense, you have a linking verb. (For example: "Her hair appears soft" still makes sense if you say "Her hair IS soft;" however you cannot do this with action verbs. You can't replace "He tastes the popsicle" with "He IS the popsicle," but you can replace "The popsicle tastes good" for "The popsicle IS good" because in that case the word "tastes" is used as a linking verb)
Use adjectives with NOUNS
- That's a good dog.
Use adjectives with LINKING VERBS
- The dog seems good.
Use adjectives with BE verbs
- The dog is good.
Use adverbs with action verbs
- That dog behaves well. ("well" is an adverb modifying "behaves," which is an action verb)
NOTE: Use "well" with linking and "Be" verbs ONLY when you are referring to health
- The dog was sick, but he is well now.
- I know the dog is sick, but he seems well.
13. BETWEEN YOU AND I or BETWEEN YOU AND ME?
It's always, always between you and ME and never ever between you and I. This is often another "hyper-correction" where people just want to sound "smart."
Use ME when referring to the object of a sentence, clause, or PREPOSITION ("BETWEEN" IS A PREPOSITION)
- Between you and me, I think he's really attractive.
14. LAY v. LIE
Lie is what we do when we go to bed, lay is what we do to something else when we put it down.
Use LIE when something or someone is going from a vertical to a a horizontal position
- I didn't feel well, so I had to lie down.
Use LAY when something is being "placed" or "set" down.
- Please lay that sheet across my bed.
15. COULD OF, WOULD OF, SHOULD OF
The problem here is that we so often write how we speak. What we mean to be saying is the contraction for "could HAVE" which is "could've" (and the same goes for would and should)
Use the contraction 'VE for the word "have"
- I could've gone on the trip if I wanted to.
- I would've gone on the trip if it wasn't for the rain.
- I should've gone on the trip because I didn't get anything done anyway.
More to come...