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ENGLISH TEACHER Interviews - Grammar Issues

Rehmat Kaur

Volume 4 Issue 2

January 16, 2024

 ENGLISH TEACHER Interviews - Grammar Issues

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Grammar is a set of rules that helps us organize our sentences. It covers a variety of features of the English language. We all make grammatical errors on a regular basis, whether we are writing or speaking. I asked our amazing English teachers about the grammatical problems they see students have all the time. 



A reader can benefit from capital letters. They indicate the beginning of a sentence, highlight essential words in a title, and they indicate proper names and formal titles. In English, the initial word of a phrase and all proper nouns (words that name a specific person, place, organization, or object) are capitalized. “Students forgetting to use basic capitalization really icks me!!  That's text speaking crossing over to formal writing (Ms. Belbol). 


Similar Sounding Words 


“Older teens and adults mix up terms that can be easily corrected by a quick Google search like "their, there, they're" or "you're" and "your" (Ms. Mclarney). Words that sound the same but have distinct meanings and spellings might be difficult to distinguish. People are frequently perplexed by three extremely common ones: their, there, and they're. The words their, there, and they're all sound the same. The possessive pronoun their implies "belonging to them," as in "their house is new"; there is used to designate a specific area or location, as in "don't go there" and "there is a shop"; and they're is a contraction of "they are," as in "they're winning the game." ‘"there" is written when the writer means "they're" or "their"’ (Ms. Mansfield). 


Using you're and your wrongly is one of the most prevalent writing mistakes, especially when writing anything fast like an email or text message. You're is an abbreviation of the phrase you are, as in "you're wearing blue", "you're needed in class", and "make sure you're on time". Any of these lines would read the same if you were substituted with you're. Your is a possessive adjective that indicates ownership. There is no contraction here. Your is generally followed by a word, such as "Your seat is close to the window", "check your phone", or "I need your papers". If you’re was substituted for your in these example sentences, it would not make sense. 


Incorrect Usage of Apostrophes  

"My biggest grammar ick is the misuse of the apostrophe.  Either people don't use it at all, so they have contractions and possessives without an apostrophe, OR they use it anytime there is a word that ends in an "s"" (Ms. Modzelewski). To express possession when the name is singular, add an apostrophe followed by a "s" to the end of the name (e.g., Mike's jacket). If a name is single but ends in a "s," you should always add an apostrophe to emphasize possession, but you can also add another "s" after the apostrophe if you choose (e.g., Lucas' car OR Lucas's car). If the name is plural, just add an apostrophe at the end to indicate ownership (e.g., the Miles' house). Forming a contraction with a name also requires adding an apostrophe with a "s," therefore examine the context of the phrase to ensure that the meaning is obvious. “Since it's holiday time, my BIGGEST ick is when people use an apostrophe with their names. It's wrong to say "Love, The Belbol's" because the Belbols don't own anything here; just put the s: "Love, The Belbols" (Ms. Belbol). “In a piece of student writing? many grammar problems, so little time. But we have a virtual epidemic of missing possessive apostrophes in students' (plural, possessive) writing today (Mrs. Mansfield).” (Ms. Mansfield). 


Usage of “wanna” and “gonna” 

“I really despise when students use:  wanna and gonna.... they are NOT words!!!  Write want to or going to (Ms. Melluso). Formal English writing should be flawless, which means the writer should have chosen words with precision.  When used in writing, "gonna" and "wanna" seem informal. Using "going to" and "want to" will improve the quality of your writing. 


These are just a few of the numerous grammatical errors that we make, as shared by some of our amazing English teachers. This involves not capitalizing when needed and getting confused between similar sounding words like "there" "their" "they're" and "your" "you're". The incorrect use of apostrophes is a typical error in student writing and using informal words like “gonna” and “wanna”. To improve our writing, we should proofread and check for grammatical errors. 

Sources Referenced:

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