Correct usage of English grammar

Aspirants often are under a false notion that Grammar is an endless sea of unknown concepts. While Grammar is indeed a vast topic, it is also important to notice that the questions based on Grammar in different exams are often limited to a few types.

By Author  |  P V Rama Sasank  |  Published: 9th Apr 2018  12:36 amUpdated: 8th Apr 2018  4:45 pm
English grammar

As the academic year ends, while the graduating students are figuring out their next steps, the pre-final year students across colleges are prepping on aptitude and programming skills to get selected in recruitment tests on campus. And Grammar is an integral part of the English section in exams like Recruitment Tests on Campus along with SBI PO/Clerk, IBPS PO/RRB in addition to MBA entrance exams like CAT.

Aspirants often are under a false notion that Grammar is an endless sea of unknown concepts. While Grammar is indeed a vast topic, it is also important to notice that the questions based on Grammar in different exams are often limited to a few types. In today’s article, let us look at a few common concepts that are often tested in these exams.

1) There vs Their

How many times have we come across people saying “Are you going to there party?” or “Is their any problem?”. Faulty usage with these words is quite common and one to watch out for. To eliminate errors, first thing that we should be doing is understanding the meaning and usage of the two words.

There – Is generally used as a reference (Did you go there?) or as a pronoun (There is some food left.)

Their – Is a possessive adjective that provides more information on a noun answering the question “whose”. (This is their property. In here, it is providing more information on “property”.)

Theirs – Is a possessive pronoun that answers the question “whose”, but without the presence of a noun. (This property is theirs.) Do note that in this form, there is no “apostrophe”. “Their’s” is a wrong usage.

A quick tip to differentiate, if you are referring to a place – use there and if you are referring to someone else’s belonging ( a thing ), then use their.

Examples of correct usage – I went there to announce that their vehicle was punctured.

2) It’s vs Its

If there was an award for the most common mistake in grammar, this one would make life tougher for all its competitors. I ended up giving you a hint. But let us follow the same approach as we did earlier, understand the meaning first and look at the correct usage.

It’s – Is nothing but a shortened notation for “it is” or “it has”. You can write “it’s working” instead of “it is working”. Feel free to replace “it is” with “it’s” wherever you feel like.

Its – Its is a pronoun. A possessive pronoun! Something like “The plate lost its shine”. As mentioned in the case of “theirs” above, possessive pronouns do not have apostrophes. Hence, “it’s” is a wrong usage. “The plate lost it’s shine” would therefore be wrong.

The trick is simple. Usually, when “its” is used, as this is a pronoun, there will be another verb in the sentence. In “the plate lost its shine”, the verb is “lost”. However, if it is used as a shortened form, “is” is the verb and hence one more verb is not necessary.

Example of correct usage – If you feel it’s right, then there’s something wrong with its principles.

3) You’re vs Your

How many times have you thanked someone and they responded with “your welcome”. They were wrong when they used your instead of you’re. Yet another deceiving mistake that’s common even among the native English speakers.

Your – Is a possessive adjective of ‘you’. (Did you have your dinner?)

You’re – Is a shortened representation of ‘you’re’. Say “Mr. Karthik, You’re fired!”

The best way to see if the word “your” is correctly placed in your sentence or not, is to see if there’s a noun after the word. For example, “Is this your pen?” PEN here is a noun. Hence, “Your” is rightly placed. Coming to “You’re”, expand it as “You are” and see if the sentence is making sense. If yes, then congratulations! Else, change your sentence altogether.

4) Wrong placement of Commas

Here comes the winner of the lot! The dreaded “Comma”. How many times have we seen beautiful sentences ruined by wrong placements of a Comma? Commas, in fact, are some of the most often misused punctuation marks. Let us decode the logic behind this.

A comma is used to link two independent clauses. If the sentences on either side of the punctuation can act as an independent sentence, then there’s no need of a comma. For example – He won the Oscar, he deserved it. Here both statements can exist independently. In such cases, we need to use a full stop. Use the comma before any coordinating conjunction that links two clauses.

Let us see a correct example – He won an Oscar, and he dedicated it to the director.

There are various other types of mistakes, but these are some of the most common ones you come across in different tests. Do tune in to our YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/ConduiraOnline) for learning videos on different concepts of English Grammar which will help you get started with your preparation for cracking recruitment tests on campus and bank jobs. Good luck! Fight on!