10 Common Grammar Snafus Explained [Infographic]

Some grammar mistakes manage to trip up the vast majority of writers. Take "affect" and "effect" -- no matter how many times this grammar rule is explained to people, many writers continue to mix them up. If you're regularly tripped up by homonyms such as "who's vs. whose" and "further vs. farther", this infographic is here to help.

Cramp image from Shutterstock

We're confident that most Lifehacker readers have a commanding grasp of the below grammar rules. Nevertheless, it's smart to have a cheat sheet on hand for those brain-fart moments when an obvious spelling escapes you. Not only do good grammar and accuracy matter, they can also allegedly affect your love life.

For more advanced grammar tips, be sure to check out this guide from Harvard cognitive scientist and linguist Steven Pinker.

[Via Visually]


    With due respect to Harvard and Steven Pinker, I'd suggest that "farther" has almost disappeared from common usage in Australia, where "further" is widely accepted as a substitute.

    Why would you separate rules 1, 6, and 10? They each have to do with apostrophes.
    Number 4 is also not correct. "They", "them", and "their" can all be used in the singular sense. Not only have they each been used by Shakespeare, Austen, and Dickens, to name a few, but it is also now a much more appropriate pronoun given that gender is a spectrum, not a dichotomy. The singular "they" was even voted Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society.
    I'm surprised that Pinker does not allow for language to adapt in this way.
    (Sorry, it seems I only ever comment here to complain. I'll write more positive comments in the future now that I have recalled my password.)

    Ah, the University of Pheonix. Well, US conventions for spelling and grammar have their place, I guess. But are they correct in Australia?

      most of them are the same.

      the only different ones are spellings (color vs colour, encyclopedia vs encyclopaedia, organize vs organise) and punctuation (in the usa, punctuation always goes inside quotation marks, whereas everywhere else punctuation only goes inside if it's a part of direct speech).

    Thanks for posting this article, it was quite educational... I sometimes get confused with these things....

    So if I continue to make these grammatical errors does that make me a looser?

    Yes, and the apostrophe is now regularly used in both mainstream print media and in internet media as an abbreviation for 'is' ... e.g. The school's getting a new sports hall. That usage is different, but fine with me.

    Grammarians like to turn the patterns of language into 'rules' and then complain when the rules are broken. But that doesn't allow for the fact that language is spoken by real living people who constantly change the way they speak (and write).

    One reason some people complain is because we learn our first language when we are very young, at the infant and toddler stage, when our brain is very flexible and is developing many connections. So our language becomes 'built-in' to our brain structure. As we become older it is harder to change that and when the next generation develops its own language patterns these are harder for us to incorporate and we tend to get annoyed.

Join the discussion!