As modern technology continues to evolve and become a greater part of our lives, improper use of grammar is becoming more and more common.

There is now no longer a need for people to focus on what they are typing into their devices as there is an assumption that ‘autocorrect’ will pick up and correct any errors. This reliance on technology and the increasing use of text speak is leading to a reduction in the quality of academic writing as many people forget the basics.

Some of the most common grammar mistakes include incorrect use of the words ‘they’re’, ‘their’ and ‘there’, as well as ‘your’ and ‘you’re’. Looking at these examples, once a person understands the definition of each term, it is much easier to use them correctly:

• ‘They’re’ – a contraction of ‘they are’, They’re going to the shops
• ‘Their’ – belonging to a person, They forgot their lunches
• ‘There’ – where something is, I found my glasses over there

• ‘Your’ – belonging to you, Is that your car?
• ‘You’re’ – a contraction of ‘you are’, You’re going to be late for school

As a whole, contractions tend to confuse a lot of people. To decide whether or not you are using a contraction correctly, first try using the whole term within the sentence. If ‘they are’ would still make sense in the same sentence, then the contraction ‘they’re’ can be used.

Recently, it has become prevalent on social media that more people have started to confuse the words ‘genuinely’ and ‘generally’. The two words have very different meanings, and using them incorrectly in an academic piece of writing would be seen as a big mistake:

• ‘Genuinely’ – authentic, real and true, I genuinely passed my exam
• ‘Generally’ – usually, as a whole, in general, I generally don’t enjoy jazz music

In addition to the incorrect use of words, grammar mistakes can come in the form of improper use of punctuation. The most commonly misused or forgotten includes colons, semi-colons, commas and apostrophes. In this article we will look at commas and their various uses.


Commas have many uses, but a lot of people either put them in the wrong place, or do not use them in a sentence where they could be beneficial to the writing. Commas can be used to separate articles in a list:

‘I went to town and bought a bag, a purse, three pairs of jeans, and a pair of boots’ (the last comma is optional, known as an ‘Oxford comma’)

Commas can also be used to separate independent clauses. An independent clause is something that can form a sentence on its own. If the second part of a sentence would make sense as a complete sentence, then add a comma in between. For example:

‘David and I went to the beach, and we spent the whole day arguing’

Finally, a comma may also be used following an introductory word or phrase:

‘However, we made up on the drive home’
‘In addition to this, we forgot to put our towels in the boot’

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