Grammatical Pitfalls

When we’re in a professional environment how we express ourselves matters a lot. We generally don’t emphasize much on our grammar. And while we write we consider grammar as an annoying technicality or a minute detail without which our writings or speech is worthless.

We’re all human, so mistakes are certain. Sometimes while speaking English we use words that are non-standard or common in use and some dictionaries even point out these words. But when we give a speech in a gathering we should avoid these mistakes. Here are some common mistakes we may make:

  • Irregardless vs regardless – Often some words are so overused that we don’t notice that we’re not speaking right. ‘Irregardless’ is such a word which people use instead of regardless. ‘Regardless’ already means without regard. Irregardless is not correct as it contains two negative elements ‘ir’ and ‘less’.


  • Thusly vs thus – ‘Thusly’ is another non-standard word that can be used mistakenly. Both thusly and thus are adverbs, but thusly is a pointless synonym for ‘thus’ and so we must avoid it.


  • Everyday vs every day –‘Everyday’ is an adjective which means common or informal, whereas ‘every day’ is used for each day. Although the use of both everyday and every day is acceptable but, the use of everyday in place of every day should be avoided.


  • Anyways vs anyway – Anyways is not a word we should use in formal writing. ‘Anyways’ is highly informal and the speaker might use it to change the topic or resume a discussion. ‘Anyway’ is the correct form and means “in any case”. It is also acceptable in formal writing.


  • Literally vs figuratively – Literally means exactly, word for word, in a strict sense, whereas figuratively means in a metaphorical sense. For example, “he literally drowned in a sea of grief”. This sentence actually doesn’t have a meaning as there is no sea which is filled of grief. But this sentence can be used as he figuratively drowned in a sea of grief, which means the person is extremely sad.


  • Alot vs a lot – Alot is always used in text messages. However the correct written form is ‘a lot’ which is used for large amount or extent, still people sometimes mistakenly use ‘alot’ in place of ‘a lot’.


  • Alright vs all right – ‘Alright’ is the one word form used for ‘all right’. Alright is only used in informal writings but all right is the acceptable form worldwide.


  • Fewer vs less – Fewer and less are quite confusing terms. Although both are used as a measure of quantity, ‘fewer’ is used for countable things and ‘less’ is used for singular collective nouns.

Now that we know the differences between the above words and phrases, it can help us write better and make a lasting impression on our readers.

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