Finance News & Insights

Avoid these 4 embarrassing grammar errors

Are you or your staffers guilty of any of these sins against good grammar?

This is Finance — you’re numbers people. Chances are few of your staffers majored in English.

Doesn’t mean you want egg on Finance’s collective face by making any of these common grammar mistakes:

Mistake #1: “Your” vs. “you’re”

This might be the most common blunder out there. “Hope your going to be able to make the meeting” — wrong. If you can say the exact same sentence with you are, use the contraction you’re. Similar errors with the same fix: It’s vs. its and whose vs. who’s.

Mistake #2: “affect” vs. “effect”

This one is simple to remember: If you need a verb, go for affect (“The policy change will only affect nonexempt employees”); if you require a noun, use effect (“The effects from the new accounting system conversion will be felt for a few weeks”).

Mistake #3: “less” vs. “fewer”

Both mean the opposite of more, but you can’t use them interchangeably. If you can count the number of items, use fewer (“Sarah has fewer collection calls to make than Jay”); If you can’t count the items individually, use less (Sarah has less work than Jay”).

Mistake #4: “ei” vs. “ie”

Spellcheck should help you with this most times. But if you’re handwriting a note, a grade school rhyme will do the job: I comes before e, unless it comes after the letter c, or when it makes the sound of a, like neighbor or weigh.

Are there any other common grammatical mistakes you see? Share them in our comments section.

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  • terrie j

    I hate to see “as per” used – Whatever happened to just using “per?”

  • HI Innkeeper

    Loose in place of lose. That one is so common, it’s almost become an accepted spelling of the opposite of win.

    Or how about judgement instead of judgment. The first is an alternate international spelling while the second is the correct American spelling.

  • Elizabeth P.

    When I went to school, “irregardless” was definitely considered incorrect. OMG, if people continue to use it more and more, it may become more than a joke. If so, I will choke.

  • cmk

    The most common errors I see are gauge spelled guage, the use and spelling of their – I often see thier, and finally received spelled recieved. The last one I have seen on web pages, in cover letters and I think the worst was from a human resources department is a job rejection letter.

  • christine

    There are two words that are often misused by many: It’s “regardless” not “irregardless”, i.e. “Regardless of the situation, I have found…..”

    Also, “oriented” not “orientated”, i.e. “We have oriented ourselves to the high fuel prices.”

  • Susan A

    I see there, thier and they’re mixed up a lot- Drives me crazy!

  • Kenneth

    I cannot stand it when people mess up common words, such as “to”, “too”, and “two”. I have seen many people use them erroneously, such as, “Jane is walking TOO the store”, instead of, “Jane is walking TO the store.” Go back to elementary school people!!!!

  • Al

    How about a ruling on when it is appropriate to use an apostrophe, rather than just adding an “s” to the end of the word? I see plurals misspelled everywhere!

  • I think the error that bothers me most is “Send your reply to Jim and I” rather than “to Jim and me.”

  • While living in Montana, I noticed the frequent use of the word “boughten” and it drove me absolutely nuts! How about: “don’t” in place of “doesn’t”, and “ain’t” instead of “isn’t.”

    I’m not an English major, either, but proper communication is vitally important in today’s world, and I pride myself on the use of proper grammer and punctuation. Their be lots of great gramer books out theyre. Ones youve boughten yourself one, it ain’t to hard to use it.

    Irregardless of what people say, irregardless is not a word. 🙂

  • Li

    How about the word “FRUSTRATED” – I’ve heard it pronounced without the first “R” as “FUSTRATED”
    Bugs me, but do you correct the person? I usually don’t.

  • Kim

    One entry found.

    Main Entry: ir·re·gard·less
    Pronunciation: ?ir-i-?gärd-l?s
    Function: adverb
    Etymology: probably blend of irrespective and regardless
    Date: circa 1912
    nonstandard : regardless
    usage Irregardless originated in dialectal American speech in the early 20th century. Its fairly widespread use in speech called it to the attention of usage commentators as early as 1927. The most frequently repeated remark about it is that “there is no such word.” There is such a word, however. It is still used primarily in speech, although it can be found from time to time in edited prose. Its reputation has not risen over the years, and it is still a long way from general acceptance. Use regardless instead.

    You guys may not like it, but it is a dictionary word.

  • Susan A

    Well, color me embarrassed! I know which word to use, just not how to spell them!!! ( And yes, I did a spell check on this one! 🙂 )

  • Cheryl

    Using “a ton” to mean “many” has become common, but it drives me crazy to hear that somebody has a ton of ideas for solving a problem. Do they have one really heavy idea or several thousand lightweight ideas or some number in between?

  • Jane

    How about the use of “alot” instead of a lot?

  • Youse folks have to much time on you’re hands ! Just kiddin.

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  • Laura

    It bothers me to hear “conversate” instead of “converse”. Does this one bug anyone else?

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  • Janet S

    Well, here’s one no one has mentioned yet – perhaps it’s regional? It’s the improper use of the apostrophe. I see PLENTY of times where people use an apostrophe when they are writing the plural form of a word. Examples are “Employee’s must wash their hands before returning to work”, “pup’s for sale”. You talk about driving you CRAZY – I call it “dumbing down of America”. The problem is that the more you see of these errors, the more people who don’t know any better think that’s the way to write, so the errors just get more and more widespread.

  • Michele Bloom

    This is spoken English, not written . . but if I hear “if you will” one more time my head is going to blow up!

  • Michele Bloom

    And – who created the annoying word “incentify?”

  • Carla

    It drives me crazy when someone says, “How dare him/her/them?” It should be, “How dare he/she/they?” If you finish the sentence with whatever the offense is, it wouldn’t sound right with him/her/them in the middle. For example: “How dare her correct my grammar?” Doesn’t it sound better to say “How dare she correct my grammar?”

    Also, when you say “Send the message to Joe and I.” If you take out “Joe” would you still stay “I?” Of course not! You would say, “Send the message to me.” So why not send the message to Joe and me?

  • Judy

    I agree with Carla about Joe & I. There is also “Send the message to Joe or myself.” That drives me crazy! I am the only one who can send a message to myself.

  • Lauren

    What’s most humorous is that none of these errors is truly an example of poor grammar. All four of the above are actually errors in usage or spelling – not grammar.

  • Kate

    One of my favorites is the regional use of ‘supposably’ instead of ‘supposedly. Maybe it’s intended to be a hybrid of presumably and supposedly!

  • Sharon Mia Opinionstein

    YES! Loose instead of lose drives me NUTS! Also I see the word alot as one word a lot!

  • Peggy

    It is an infection here…It is a moot point not a MUTE point!!!

  • Lori

    I’m not sure if it is just in Texas or if other states are also becoming more hillbilly. I hear the following error constantly: “Me and her are going shopping” or “Me and him saw the car crash”. What is up with that? Are there any teachers in America who have taught students to put himself or herself first in a sentence? I hear it constantly – even by college graduates. Even worse can be heard any night of the week on the local news with “Me and him seen the house on fire down the street”. Well yeehaw!