There are some misused words and phrases repeated so often, they become accepted parts of our speech patterns. While we are more forgiving of grammatical errors while talking than we are in writing, sometimes it’s helpful to know where we can improve in our spoken word, even in everyday discussions. You never know who might be listening…
Below are tips to help correct each common mistake, plus a little mental trick that will help you remember the correct usage.
|Incorrect Usage||Correct Usage||Tip|
|Me vs I||Ralph and me went to dinner.||Ralph and I went to dinner.||Remove the other person. For example: in the first sentence, if you remove Ralph, “me went to dinner” sounds wrong, and in the second sentence, “Suzie went to dinner with I” also sounds wrong. Remove the other person, and it will be more obvious if you should use me or I.|
|Suzie went to dinner with Ralph and I.||Suzie went to dinner with Ralph and me.|
|Who vs Whom||Who do you mean?||Whom do you mean?||Add the m to who if the answer is him. Him and whom go together, which is easy to remember because they both end with an M. For example: in the first sentence, you use whom because the answer is “him” (you wouldn’t answer “I mean he,” you’d answer “I mean him”). In the second sentence, you’d answer with “he,” so you use who (you wouldn’t say “him will join us for the meeting,” you’d say “he will join us for the meeting).|
|Lay vs Lie||I’m going to lay down.||I’m going to lie down.||Use lay when there is an object being put somewhere. For example: in the first sentence, there is nothing being put anywhere. You wouldn’t say “I’m going to lay myself down,” so you use lie. In the second sentence, the towel is the object put on the sand, so you use lay.|
|Suzie will lie her towel on the sand.||Suzie will lay her towel on the sand.|
Once you absorb these tips and tune your ear to the proper versions, soon the correct way to say these words in your sentences will flow easily, and you won’t have to think twice.