You're 'Me,' Not 'Myself,' and Other Grammar Peeves

Sad kids do not 'literally tear' the heart out of a mall Santa, and other mistakes
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2009 4:16 PM CDT
You're 'Me,' Not 'Myself,' and Other Grammar Peeves
Letters spell "No."   (Shutterstock)

Some common grammar mistakes are also inexcusable, Johnny Truant writes for Copyblogger. Too many of the following, and your readers may decide "that you’re actually a chimpanzee—and not one of the smart ones, either."

  • It's "me," not "myself:" People often "think that complicating the language needlessly will make them sound smart." Usually not. "I did the job myself" is correct. "So-and-so and myself..." is heading down a dangerous path.

  • "Subject/predicate disagreement:"  Take "this person didn’t know what they were doing." Substitute "Bob" for "this person"—is he still a "they?" The proper, if clunky, solution is "he or she."
  • "An historic:" Just like "myself." "Ask yourself if you’d say, 'an horse' or 'an house.'" However you try to rationalize it, the "h" in "historic" is not silent.
  • "Was vs. were:" "Everyone makes this mistake," Truant writes, but still. A simple rule for the subjunctive: "If you’ve used 'if,' that’s a pretty good indicator that were is appropriate."
  • Think about what "literally" literally means: Truant collects "'literally' mentions," like a reference to Britney Spears being “literally on a roller coaster to hell.” Now, that may be true, but if it's not, "metaphorically" would be better.
(More grammar stories.)

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