How good is your grammar? When writing email messages, proper grammar is important. By being aware of common mistakes, you can avoid them.
In other words, you dont need to know all the rules. (What a relief!) But, . . . (You knew that was coming, didnt you?) you need to know what you dont know. If you are unsure if something is correct, look it up. Or, ask someone knowledgeable for assistance.
If you dont have the time to seek help, heres a quick tip. Use different wording. To put it another way:
If you cant determine how to make the sentence correct, re-word the sentence so it doesnt contain the item youre having trouble with. Please dont tell your high school English teacher that I made this suggestion!
Yes, it would be great if the entire country knew proper English. However, the reality is many people dont. The goal of this article is to convince you to select the grammar that you know is correct.
Are your grammar skills good enough? Find out by taking the following quiz.
Directions: Indicate whether the specified phrase is Correct (C) or Incorrect (I).
CI1.John is (laying) on the couch in the office.
CI2.Peter (laid) the file on the desk.
CI3.He (sat) in front of the computer.
CI4.(Set) the files on my desk when you are done.
CI5.The customers want (their) price quote now.
CI6.The customer wants (their) phone call returned.
CI7.Wilma had (less) callers on her line.
CI8.Fred has (fewer) employees.
The correct answer is lying.
To lie means to recline.
The verb is intransitive; it does not require an object.
The past tense is lay.
To lay means to put or place.
The verb is transitive; it requires an object.
The past tense is laid.
To sit means to be seated.
The verb is intransitive.
The past tense is sat.
To set means to put or place.
The verb is transitive.
The past tense is set.
(Yes, it is the same as the present tense. This is, after all, English grammar. It is not supposed to make sense.)
The antecedent is plural which requires a plural pronoun.
In other words, the plural form of customers requires using a plural pronoun their.
The antecedent is singular which requires a singular pronoun.
In other words, the singular form of customer requires using a singular pronoun his or her.
This can also be written his/her.
The correct word is fewer.
Fewer is used when you can count the quantity (e.g., fewer students, or fewer hours in the workday, or fewer corn kernels).
Less is used with an indeterminate quantity (e.g., less interest, or less time, or less corn).
Fred can count the number of his employees, so fewer is correct.
8 = Youre perfect. (But, you knew that already.) Keep emailing!
6 - 7 = Youre okay. You could learn a few tips from my book, Email Etiquette Made Easy (see link in resource box).
3 - 5 = You could use some help. Try my book, Email Etiquette Made Easy (see link in resource box).
Less than 3 = Ugh! Call me now! Well schedule your intense therapy immediately.