Blog

Ignorance of Grammar Can Make You Look Stupid

In: How to

Even the most prominent professors of philology make grammar mistakes from time to time. But there are two different kinds of mistakes: the first ones are those that you make in haste, although knowing how to say the same thing right, and the second ones are really stupid mistakes that penetrate into your speech because of your ignorance. You had better avoid the latter in order not to lose your face in front of professors and grammar geeks. Smart Essay Rewriter has prepared for you a selection of common English blunders in written speech with tips how to choose the correct variant. We hope this article will help you overcome your language imperfections.

Its / it’s

Our team expects that you are competent enough not to insert contractions in your academic writing. But it does not strike out the necessity to know how to use them correctly. One of the key problems withit’s is that many people tend to forget the apostrophe; and vice versa, when using the possessive pronoun, they put an unnecessary one.

This mistake is one of the stupidest ones, but it applies only to written English as the two options sound identically. In order not to litter your papers and essays with this kind of blunder, remember for the rest of your life that it’s means it is and introduces things and people in sentences, while its shows that something belongs to something else. These examples will help you:

  • It’s a rather silly chinchilla.

  • Look at the chinchilla! Its tail is so fluffy.

Historic / historical

Many people believe that these two adjectives mean the same, and therefore they are interchangeable. However, this is an example of a severe misconception, which can eventually make you look silly in front of intelligent people. Let us clarify this for you. Something described as historic was of a great importance in the course of history, whereas the word historical simply refers to something that took place in the past. The examples can be the following:

  • The Second World War turned out to be a historic event that changed the course of international development.

  • I watched a historical film yesterday, and I can tell you it was really boring.

Specially / especially

These two adverbs are spelled almost the same, the extra letter e in the second word being the only difference. Although even their meanings overlap, there is still a nuance you should know. The word specially indicates something made for a particular person, occasion or purpose:

  • I bought these multi-colored balloons specially for your birthday.

  • Let me sing a song that I wrote specially for you.

It also means in a special manner, like in this example:

  • The boy deserves to be treated specially.

When it comes to the word especially, it often precedes adjectives and amplifies their meaning. Alternatively, it can introduce things that stand out compared to others; in this case you can replace especially with particularly without any shift of meaning.

  • The restaurant just around the corner is especially good in terms of customer service.

  • Mary liked the sour cream and especially the kefir that she bought in a local shop.

Effect / affect

Although in some cases effect can be used as a verb, its meaning changes dramatically with the conversion. When being a noun, it refers to results and consequences; in the role of a verb effect means carry out or accomplish:

  • I tried to persuade him for several hours, but without effect.

  • The executive officer effected a number of changes in the company’s articles.

As for the word affect, it can also belong to the group of nouns or verbs. In psychology, affect means strong emotion. But generally this word is used like a verb and in this case it conveys the meaning of having an influence on something or someone:

  • His early departure without any explanations affected the girl deeply.

If all these linguistic shades of meaning seem too intricate for you, our essay editing service suggests the general rule for you: use effect as a noun to indicate results and affect as a verb to show that something had an effect on something else. And please note the difference in how they sound: the first letter in effect is pronounced like [ɪ], while in affect it is the neutral schwa.

i.e. / e.g.

These two abbreviations initially came to the English language from Latin. There they respectively stood for id est and exempli gratia. For those who never had Latin classes it may not clarify anything, so we will give you their English translation: id est = that is, exampli gratia = for example. They are often confused because they both consist of only two letters and even have one letter in common. So we suggest that you remember their full versions in order to use only the right variant in the future.

  • At 9 o’clock I came to Sunrise, i.e., a small bar near the seashore.

  • Take a sharp metal instrument (e.g., a knife).

By the way, you can see that both abbreviations are typically followed by a comma in a sentence, and examples themselves can be given in brackets. But each writing style will provide you with specific recommendations how to use i.e. and e.g. in your text, so be attentive while reading guidelines.

So, we have discussed mistakes that from time to time pop up in texts written both by native speakers and by foreigners. However, it is easier to remember the rules once and for all than to double check yourself each time while writing. We hope this article clarified the main principles how you can avoid stupid English mistakes. But if you still feel at loss and not sure that you managed to eliminate all of them on your own, our editing company will be glad to help you. Look through the list of our services, and you will definitely find the one to ameliorate your essay. And keep in mind that placing the first order on our website, you are eligible to a huge discount – you will get 20% off!