As John Keating (Robin Williams) said in The Dead Poet’s Society, “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” As a Smiley Member, you’re always writing and sharing your ideas—in reviews, blog posts, fun captions and comments—to help brands improve their products. In honor of National Grammar Day, we thought we would share some of our favorite grammar lessons and tips to help you leave the best feedback possible!
Your Sentences Should Agree
Subject-verb agreement is important when you’re trying to make a point. If the object you are describing is plural (meaning multiple objects), the verb should be plural as well.
Correct: “The gummies were chewy.”
Incorrect: “The gummies was chewy.”
It can be confusing when someone switches between past and present in their speech. To make a clear and concise point, it’s important to make sure you use consistent tenses.
Correct: I was a little skeptical at first but when it came down to it, it did the work and it got rid of those pesky stains.
Incorrect: I was a little skeptical at first but when it came down to it, it did the work and it get rid of those pesky stains.
Punctuation is Key
Punctuation can be confusing. It has the ability to change the context of the simplest sentences, yet some forms seem incredibly similar. When it comes to commas, the possibilities seem endless. Outlined below are some key moments to use a comma:
- To separate three or more items in a series.
Correct: The scent was fresh, comforting, and festive.
Correct: The scent was fresh, comforting and festive.
Incorrect: The scent was fresh comforting and festive.
- After an introductory adverb.
Correct: Finally, my kit has arrived!
Incorrect: Finally my kit has arrived!
- Before coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, so, yet) that link two clauses.
Correct: We ran out of product, so we bought more.
Incorrect: We ran out of product so we bought more.
Constructing a Full Sentence
It should be easy to distinguish a sentence from a phrase. A sentence has both a subject and a verb whereas a phrase has neither. While a phrase can’t be used alone, it can be a part of a sentence.
Correct: We’ve used it on some pretty grimy stuff and it works well, better than most. OR We’ve used it on some pretty grimy stuff and it works better than most other cleaners.
Incorrect: We’ve used it on some pretty grimy stuff and it works well. Better than most.
We live in a world where we rely on technology for the simplest things. For example, autocorrect has made us lazy when it comes to spelling. Most of the time, we don’t even have to spell! Just use an abbreviation (LOL). Because of this, sometimes we can find ourselves stumbling over simple words we use every day. And if we don’t take the time to learn from being auto-corrected, it will never be fixed. As a result, we sometimes may spell words the way we pronounce them—leaving off letters, adding letters, and misplacing letters.
Incorrect: “an,” “n”
When a word has multiple spellings, or, when two words are similar, syntax can be confusing. What is the difference between “there” vs “their” vs “they’re?” When do I use “too” instead of “to?” What about “then” and “than” or “much” and “many?” Read carefully.
Their: possessive, someone’s property.
Correct: I love their products. I am definitely purchasing more when I run out.
Incorrect: I love there products. I am definitely purchasing more when I run out.
They’re: they are
Correct: The gummies taste great. They’re my new favorite probiotic.
Incorrect: The gummies taste great. Their my new favorite probiotic.
There: a pronoun introducing a noun or phrase
Correct: There were so many different things I loved about this product.
Incorrect: They’re were so many different things I loved about this product.
There: an adverb meaning the opposite of “here” (a place)
Correct: I bought the product there.
Incorrect: I bought the product their.
There: a noun (person, place, thing, or idea)
Correct: Hello there, I have a question.
Incorrect: Hello their, I have a question.
Than: a comparison
Correct: I like this spray more than the other leading brands.
Incorrect: I like this spray more then other leading brands.
Then: time, sequence
Correct: I exercised and then I took my probiotic.
Incorrect: I exercised and than I took my probiotic.
Many: used with countable nouns
Correct: There are so many awesome uses for this product.
Incorrect: There are so much awesome uses for this product.
Much: used with uncountable nouns
Correct: I didn’t buy this product because it was too much money.
Incorrect: I didn’t buy this product because it was too many money.
To: shows direction (towards)
Correct: I am going to the store to purchase this when I run out!
Incorrect: I am going too purchase this when I run out!
Too: means also, as well, additionally
Correct: I really liked how this worked, too!
Incorrect: I really like how this worked to!
Proofread! Proofread! Proofread!
Finally, to improve your grammar, always be sure to proofread your work. Whether it’s a quick email, a text to a friend, or a post to the public, you always want to make sure that what you’re saying makes sense. Plus, as your writing improves, you’ll find that your speech does, too!
Our Favorite Tips:
- Expand your vocabulary.
- Download Grammarly!
- Make reading a priority, whether it’s an article a day or a book a month.
- Make time for yourself to write—journaling is a great way to reflect, keep memories, and improve your grammar.
- Have fun with words!
Want to test your grammar skills? Head over to Smiley360.com and take our grammar quiz for a chance to win some Smiley Swag! The higher you score, the better your chance of winning some awesome prizes!