Someone over on my WanaTribe recently asked what the difference was between Who’s and Whose, so I thought I’d dedicate today’s post to all those common and annoying little grammar mistakes that spell-check isn’t so good at spotting.
Like with all my posts, I like to make these explanations as simple a possible without resorting to the use of crayons and picture books, which I regularly use
So, without further ado, lets start with the one that brought us here…
Who’s vs Whose:
Who’s is an abbreviate and used in place of ‘who is’, or ‘who has’. Example – Who’s going to the party? Who’s this? It would also work at Who is going to the party? and Who is this?
Whose is the possessive of who. Example – Whose book is this? Whose side are you on?
Basically, if ‘who is or who has’ does not fit the sentence, then use ‘whose’.
Who vs Whom:
Who, like I, he, or she, is a subject and is the person performing the action. Example – This is who gave it to me. Is Paul the one who wants to know?
Whom, like me, him, and her, is an object. It is the person to whom the action is being done. Example – To whom do I send this letter? This is the man whom I told you about.
Basically, who and whom is the same difference as I and me. Try re-writing the sentence and change who or whom with another pronoun. So,
This is who gave it to me — He/she gave it to me – OR – Him/her gave it to me? She how he/she sounds correct, so ‘who’ would be used.
This is the man whom I told you about. — I told you about him/her – OR – I told you about she/he. In this instance him/her is correct so whom would be used.
To whom do I send this letter? – Do I send this letter to he/she? – OR – Do I send this letter to him/her? Again, the latter him/her is correct and whom is used.
Which vs That:
That is used in a restrictive sentence. Example – “Cars that are red are more sexy”. You are restricting the sentence by saying that only red cars are sexy.
Which is used in a non-restrictive sentence. Example – The red cars, which went on sale yesterday, are now half price. If you omitted which went on sale yesterday it wouldn’t actually change what you want to say, which is that red cars are now half price.
All Right vs Alright:
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, alright is a frequent spelling of all right. Now, although the dictionary lists the word ‘alright’, you be hard pushed to find somewhere that agrees with the spelling ‘alright’.
What should you do? Although the ‘alright’ usage is growing, it’s probably best to stick to ‘all right’.
Like vs Such As:
Like is used when you are comparing. For example – Can you take me somewhere nice like Paris or Rome? Here, the person is not asking to go to Paris or Rome, but somewhere like it.
Such As is used when you are including. For example – Can you take me somewhere nice such as Paris or Rome? Now they are making it clear they want to go to either Paris or Rome.
One vs You:
Using either one or you is classed as grammatically correct.
One, however, is often used when one is being more formal. It gives the impression of a higher standing. For example – One has to conduct oneself in a certain manner. However, you would not use ‘one’ when you are the object. For example – The maid lay the blanket over one’s lap, and one thanked her. This just sounds awkward.
You is much more relaxed. For example – You have to conduct yourself in a certain manner. See how the same sentence holds a different weight? It’s not as formal. Basically, using you is more acceptable in the world today.
So, what version of words do you get stuck with? What are your pet hates. Let me know…. Don’t be shy