In today’s world, good grammar has become the standard by which many rise and fall. You could miss out on promotions, jobs and other such opportunities which require good communication skills. A good technical understanding of English in terms of speaking and writing will serve you well in making a great first impression. Since rules are difficult to memorize and remember, here are some grammar hacks to help you stay on top!
The most important tool to have is an understanding of subjects and objects. In every sentence with a verb, there is a subject and an object. The subject, as the name suggests, is the thing or person that the sentence is about. The object, on the other hand, is the thing or person that is being changed/affected by the verb.
The easiest way to remember is the sentence, ‘I love you.’
In this sentence, ‘I’ is the subject and ‘you’ is the object. A simpler way to put it is: I’m the subject and you’re the object (of my affection, as well).
‘I’ and ‘Me’ are personal pronouns that are often misused. The first thing that you should understand is the difference between the two. ‘I’ is a subject pronoun while ‘Me’ is an object pronoun. This means that when used in a sentence, ‘I’ becomes the subject while ‘Me’ becomes the object.
Use the subjective form if the person is the subject (of the verb) in the sentence.
David and I are going to watch a movie.
‘Who’ and ‘Whom’ are often used interchangeably, especially since there are similarities in spelling and sound. But, the definitions are quite different. ‘Who’ is used in reference to a subject while ‘whom’ is used in reference to an object of a verb.
A simple trick to figuring out which word to use is to substitute with ‘he’ or ‘she’ and ‘him’ or ‘her’. If ‘he’ or ‘she’ works, use ‘who’. If ‘him’ or ‘her’ works, use ‘whom’.
Who/Whom took the dog for a walk?
When you substitute:
Correct: He (She) took the dog for a walk.
Incorrect: Him (Her) took the dog for a walk
Therefore, it should be, ‘Who took the dog for a walk?’
If you’re still unsure of which sets go together, remember that whom and him both end with ‘m’.
‘Affect’ and ‘Effect’ have similar sounds and spellings and are often misplaced. ‘Affect’ is generally a verb while ‘effect’ is a noun.
Use the word ‘RAVEN’ as a memory tool:
R – Remember
A – Affect
V – Verb
E – Effect
N – Noun
Another great way to differentiate is to remember that alphabetically, ‘affect’ comes first and an action (affect) is required for a result (effect).
This medication has no long-term effects but it is affecting my sleep and concentration.
A common mistake is the use of ‘that’ in place of ‘who/whom’ while referring to a person. ‘That’ is used for everything BUT humans. ‘Who/Whom’ is ONLY used for people.
Humans – Who-mans
Everything Else – T-hat
This is my friend, Rose, who runs the bookstore in town.
This story is about a cat that wears a hat.