The Value Of Good Grammar

by Marjorie J ~ . Filed under: How To Improve Your Writing.
Grammarians celebrate! Some fun tips to help you with your writing.

Today is National Grammar Day. More than just a silly holiday, Grammar Day serves as a good reminder to communicate clearly, using correct grammar, punctuation and spelling. How you write and speak is a reflection of who you are, and giving a presentation riddled with spelling errors or poor grammar can take away from the message you’re trying to impart to others.
Take a look at some common grammar mistakes and how you can avoid them:
Me, Myself and I
Knowing when to use me, myself or I depends on whether you’re the subject or the object of the sentence. An easy way to remember which word to use is to take the other person out of the equation. So, if you’re going to the bank with Mr. Fargo, you’d say, “Mr. Fargo and I went to the bank.” Why? Because if you take Mr. Fargo out of the sentence, you wouldn’t say, “Me went to the bank.”

The word “myself” should only be used sparingly, and only for emphasis. It is not a substitute for “me.” You might say, “I love working for Wells Fargo, myself.” But don’t say, “Myself and Henry Wells ate lunch together.”

Affect vs. Effect
Affect is a verb. To remember this, look at the “a” in affect and think “action.” The movie greatly affected her.

Effect is a verb or a noun. It’s most commonly used as a noun. The movie had an effect on her. As a verb, effect means to bring something about, especially a change. As a general rule, you should always think twice about using effect as a verbyou can usually find a clearer way to communicate if you just think about your words.
Use Your Dictionary!
Often in the corporate world, words are invented, but your dictionary is filled with realwords, so use them. Make sure you’re not making up something new like “solutioning” or “planful” to sound important. Often, using a made-up word has just the opposite effect.
More Than or Over?
Over is a spatial reference. More than is a numeric reference. So, if you’re “over the hill,” you might be “more than 40 years old.” In other words, use “more than” when talking about numbers and amounts, and use “over” when you’re talking about the location of something.
Is it Insure or Ensure?
Insure and ensure are sound-alike words with slightly different meanings. Sometimes even the best writers and editors mix these up. Remembering definitions for each is a way to keep the two straight:
  • Insure means to protect against risk.
  • Ensure means to make certain.
Use “insure” when you’re talking about things that are related to insurance. Use “ensure” in most other cases. And, just to complicate things further, a similar-sounding word—“assure”means to convince someone or make someone confident. Are you still with us?
i.e. vs. e.g.
These two show up frequently in business communications, and many times the terms are used interchangeably. Here’s the difference between the two so you don’t make this mistake.
  • i.e. stands for id est (that is). Use it when you’re explaining something. I like cats and dogs, i.e., animals you can have as pets in your home.
  • e.g. stands for exempli gratia (for example). You can remember this by pretending that e.g. stands for example given. I like big dogs, e.g., Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds.
And, don’t forget to use commas before and after using either one in writing.
Unnecessary Verbiage
According to the dictionary, “verbiage” means “more words than are required for clarity or precision.” When you’re writing or speaking, try to cut down on the words and phrases you use that just aren’t necessary. If something “goes without saying,” then don’t say it. Adding tired clauses or clichés to your speech only helps people tune you out.
Then or Than?
When one event follows another, it’s correct to use “then.” For instance: The machine turned on, then she entered her ATM card. 

When two things are being compared, use “than.” Her credit balance is higher than his.