English Teacher’s Pet Peeves (Part 2)

Last week we looked at some common grammar and spelling errors and ways to avoid them.  Here are three more English Teacher Pet Peeves.

I will eat, than I will play. He is better then me at soccer.


Then vs. Than

Too many people confuse these words, and we blame it on lazy pronunciation.  When we speak, these two words sound so alike that we mix them up when we’re writing. How can you remember which one is time or order-based, and which one is comparative?  Here’s how we do it:


Then has EN in it, which we can reverse and use it to spell NExt. If you can substitute ‘next’ in the sentence, you’ve got the right word!

For example:  We will practice first, and then we’ll play a game.

Than has an A in it, and so does ‘compare.’ Therefore, if you are comparing two or more things you use ‘than.’

For example: She is a better soccer player than her brother.

We care about the Oxford Comma! 

heroesAh yes, the heated oxford comma debate.  You’ve probably heard of this term before, but you might not know exactly what it means.  We can help! The oxford comma is the last comma used in a list before a coordinating conjunction (and, or, nor). The picture to the right demonstrates why you need the oxford comma. Without the comma you might think that the author’s parents are Superman and Wonder Woman, which would be pretty awesome, if you ask me. However, the author probably means that he/she has four heroes, so the sentence should be written with the oxford comma: “My heroes are my parents, Superman, and Wonder Woman.


UR Txt Spch!


Okay, we know that texting is not writing an essay. But let’s face it, we’re not doing ourselves any favours by texting our friends and family using the shortest abbreviations possible.  In fact, some of us feel that we’re losing our ability to effectively express ourselves in writing altogether. Here at RRLS, we challenge you to write in complete sentences, no short-forms, and no text-lingo for a week!  Let us know how it goes!

If you’d like to learn more and improve your writing skills, check out our Essay Coach programs.  It’s a face-to-face, online program that helps you develop skills necessary for writing awesome essays! 


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