THE INC. LIFE

6 Embarrassing Grammatical Mistakes Smart People Are Making Publicly

These blunders are so common, and easy to make.

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BY Christina DesMarais - 02 Dec 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

I receive a daily digest in my email which calls out some of the most shared stories on the internet. Number seven on the list the other day--with hundreds of comments and thousands of shares and likes--was a story posted at The Atlantic, a reputable and well-read national media outlet. The story description--called a "deck" by journalists--read: "Generation X, Millennials, and younger generations would bare the cost of the Republican tax plan." Even as I type this sentence Microsoft Word has underlined the misused word, which makes me wonder why someone didn't catch it. Anyway, here I tackle that blunder, plus a few others commonly used by intelligent people.

Bare vs. Bear

The former indicates something is uncovered as in "her bare shoulders." Bear, obviously could be the large furry mammal which comes to mind, or it could mean "to carry" as in "younger generations would bear the cost of the Republican tax plan."

Everyday vs. Every Day

The former is an adjective (a describing word) as in "His everyday jacket was starting to look shabby." You'd use the two words separately if you were talking about something which happens daily, such as "I use LinkedIn every day." A successful CEO recently emailed this sentence to me, but the last two words were smashed together incorrectly.

Inappropriate Apostrophes

One of my favorite snack bars (I will not tattle on the brand) proudly proclaims on its label that it contains a certain amount of "MCT's and Omega-3's." The founder behind the company is ridiculously intelligent, yet neither he nor the smart people who work for his company realize that apostrophes in this sense are not correct. I get it--people use them to put some separation between an abbreviation or number and its plurality--but it's still wrong. Apostrophes should only be used in contractions to indicate a letter or letters are missing (such as "can't" or "I'll"). They also can indicate possession, such as "Charlie's car."

Semicolons

I hate these things. Show me a sentence made better by a semicolon and I will argue the writer could have tried harder, used different wording or is merely trying to appear intelligent by using one. This columnist from The Los Angeles Times shares a similar view.

Exclamations

The back label of my favorite snack bar (making this list twice, unfortunately) features a paragraph in which the founder explains why they are so amazing. He uses two explanation points within the span of six sentences. This is not cool. In fact, writer Elmore Leonard believed a person should never use more than two or three exclamation points per 100,000 words. And never use more than one at a time. One will suffice if you reserve an exclamation point for times of genuine excitement.

Irregardless

A guy on Twitter recently took issue with the fact that I included this one in a list of 43 common grammar mistakes. He shared a video that makes the case that "irregardless" actually is a word. While I'm firmly in the camp that will use only "regardless"--whether I'm trying to shut down a conversation or not--I can't deny this is good stuff.