English Teacher Pet Peeves (Part 1)

It’s a hard-knock life being an English teacher. Grammar mistakes are everywhere and sometimes it feels like you’re the only one who sees them.  Here’s our short-list of our pet peeves. Do any of these remind you of yourself?

Alot of people think a lot is one word

Alot: Character Creation of Hyperbole and a Half
Alot: Character Creation of Hyperbole and a Half

A lot is always two words, never one.  Trust us.  This is such a common mistake (and a pet peeve) that the always hilarious web-comic, Hyperbole and a Half devoted an entire comic to it. She created an adorable creature and named it Alot (see below). Now you’ll never forget, because the next time you see the word, ‘Alot’ you’ll remember this guy.

Their pirates. They got there ship stuck over they’re.

their there theyreOh my. This one’s a doozy.  These homophones haunt us all.  Here are some easy ways to remember which their/they’re/there to use! Let’s start with their.

Their is possessive.To help remember, think of the ‘i’ as a person (as shown in the picture to the right).  So if you are talking about people and something that they own, you use ‘their!’

For example: Their dog is so cute. 

They’re is a contraction of ‘they’ and ‘are.’ If you can substitute ‘they are’ into the sentence, use ‘they’re.’

For example: They’re best friends.

Last but not least, let’s discuss ‘there.’  ‘There’ has the word ‘here’ in it, so it means a place or a position.

For example:
He’s sitting over there.
There are six puppies.

Great!  Now you’ll never fall victim to the terrible their/they’re/there mix-up ever again!

Its a great book, but it’s cover makes it look bad!

Tricky, tricky its/it’s. You might remember that one of these words is a contraction and that one is possessive, but which one is which?! Let’s start with the possessive one first.

Its’ is possessive.  Think about it like ‘our’ or ‘your’ – one word, not a contraction, and possessive!

For example: Careful with the knife, its edges are sharp!   

Okay, now the next one is a bit obvious. ‘It’s’ is a contraction of ‘it’ and ‘is.’

For example: It’s so sunny outside!

These are just three common grammar and spelling mistakes, and we’ll share more next week.  Are there any grammar and spelling mistakes that are your pet peeves?

grammar poster

If you think you’d like some help with your grammar and spelling or essay writing, we can help!  RRLS now offers online and face-to-face Essay Coach Programs!


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