Bad grammar is everywhere. In fact, the title of this article is an example of a misplaced modifier. To fit the grammar rules, and to put the modifier in the correct place, the title should be “Examples of Bad Grammar.”
Grammar Rules and Examples
There are countless grammar rules in the English language. From rules on misplaced modifiers and subject/verb agreement to rules on double negatives, there are many guidelines here on YourDictionary for you to follow when writing just about anything. However, one of the best ways to learn correct grammar is to review examples of bad grammar.
Typical Examples of Bad Grammar
Verb Tense Errors
Verb tense errors occur when you use the wrong verb tense and are a common grammar mistake. The verb tense tells the reader of your sentences when the action is taking place – in the past, the present or the future. You must be consistent on verb tense, unless there’s some reason to make a switch to a different tense.
Some examples of verb tense errors include:
- I go to the store and I bought milk. Go is a present tense verb. Bought is a past tense verb. Bought should be buy milk since these two events both occur at the same time.
- I will eat fish for dinner and drank milk with my dinner. Will eat is a future tense verb but drank is a past tense verb. Since the dinner is going to happen in the future, it is not possible that the milk was drunk already.
Subject/Verb Agreement Errors
The subject of the sentence (the person or thing doing the action) has to agree in number with the verb (the word representing the action). Otherwise, you have an example of bad grammar.
Here are some examples of situations where the subject and verb do not agree:
- Matt like fish. Matt is singular; like is plural. The sentence should read Matt likes fish.
- Anna and Mike is going skiing. Anna and Mike are plural. Is is singular. The sentence should read Anna and Mike are going skiing.
Pronouns take the place of nouns in sentences. In order to avoid a grammar error, the pronoun has to agree with the noun that it is replacing.
Some examples of bad grammar errors that occur due to noun/pronoun agreement errors include:
- Anna and Pat are married and he has been married for 20 years. Anna and Pat are plural, and he is singular. The sentence should read Anna and Pat are married and they have been married for 20 years.
- Everyone forgot their notebook. Everyone is singular (every single individual one) and their is plural. This should read Everyone forgot his or her notebook. This is one of the most common grammatical errors that exists today.
Double negatives are a classic example of bad grammar.
Some examples include:
- I don’t want no pudding. Because you have said you do not want no pudding, essentially this sentence suggests that you do want some pudding, which is the opposite of the intended meaning.
- I can’t hardly believe. Can’t and hardly are both negative constructions.
A sentence should have a subject, a verb and express a complete thought. If it fails to do so, then it is a sentence fragment.
Sentence fragments are bad grammar, and some examples of sentence fragments include the following:
- Because I ate dinner. This is a sentence fragment because it doesn’t express a complete thought… what happened because you ate dinner?
- Jumped high. This is a sentence fragment because the reader does not know who jumped high.
A run-on sentence is a sentence in which two or more independent clauses (sentences that could stand on their own) are joined together improperly.
- I went to the store I got milk and cookies. I went to the store could be an independent clause, as could I got milk and cookies. The two independent clauses cannot just be joined together without some type of punctuation.
In this example, the sentences could be repaired by either separating with a period or a semicolon.
Checking Your Grammar
These are just a few of the many examples of bad grammar. The best way to make sure your own writing is free of bad grammar is to learn the grammar rules for the different parts of speech and how they fit together.