9 Most Confusing Confusions in English Grammar

grammarmonkeySome English grammar can be really confusing.

So, I decided to write this article to point out some grammar mistakes that cause much confusion, and also how to get them right.

I’ve made all of these grammar mistakes before, which is how I got to write this post, anyway 🙂 .

And now, I present to you,

9 Most Confusing Confusions in English Grammar!

photo by baboon™

1. Subject pronouns and object pronouns

Wrong: He sat between you and I.
Correct: He sat between you and me.

I now fully understand this rule once I took an English lesson about subject and object pronouns.

The subject is the one that does things. (He sees me)

The object is the one who has the thing done to him. (He sees me)

Another type of object is the prepositional object and it is the one which the preposition is directed at. (He sees it with me)

So, here is a table of subject and object pronouns.

Subject pronouns Object pronouns
I Me
You You
He Him
She Her
We Us
They Them

So, if you are using a pronoun as a subject, use a subject pronoun. Same thing on the objects.

It’s “between you and me” because “you and me” is the object of the preposition between.

It’s “I know him” because “him” is the object of the verb “know”.

It’s “William and he read” because “William and he” is the subject.

2. Who or whom?

Here’s a tricky one: “Who/whom did he see at the party?”

Here’s what you need to know:

Who = subject pronoun
Whom = object pronoun

So, to get the answer, change the question to a statement: “He did see whom at the party.”

Whom is an object, so that is the answer 🙂 .

Question: “Who/whom ate all the cookies?” Statement: “Who ate all the cookies.”

Hope I’ve made it clear =) .

3. “Than me” or “Than I”?

Wrong: He runs faster than me.
Correct: He runs faster than I.

Ahh, this is one of the mistakes that I have been frequently making last time 😛 .

“Than” is a conjunction, which introduces a subordinate clause, so the subjective pronoun “I” is used. See usage note.

The easiest way to make sure this is right is to make the sentence “long”.

“He runs faster than I” becomes “He runs faster than I run”.

“I run slower than he” becomes “I run slower than he runs”.

However, there is an exception in which you have to use the object form of the pronoun. Here’s an example:

“Jon gave Dan more apples than he gave me” –> “Jon gave Dan more apples than me”.

4. “It is me” or “It is I”?trex

Wrong: It is me, the great tyrant Tyrannosaurus!
Correct: It is I, the great tyrant Tyrannosaurus!

It is important to note that “is” is a linking verb, meaning it renames the subject with a subject predicate.

Now, normal transitive verbs have an object. (He sees me) Me = object.

Linking verbs have subject predicates instead. (That guy was I) I = subject predicate.

Here’s another example. – “A dog is a great pet.”

A dog = subject
a great pet = subject predicate

You can see that “subject = subject predicate”. A dog = a great pet. That’s why they are called linking verbs; because they link two subjects.

And since linking verbs link to subjects, subject pronouns must be used. So that’s why it is “It is I” and not “It is me”.

I hope you get what I’m saying. Unfortunately, I think Mario will never get it.


T-rex photo by Esparta

5. i.e. and e.g.

Wrong: Please volunteer to bring some food for the party, i.e., fries, nuggets, and chips.
Correct: Please volunteer to bring some food for the party. e.g., fries, nuggets, and chips

Believe it or not, last time, I thought i.e. and e.g. can be used interchangeably! But I was wrong. i.e. and e.g. have different meanings.

e.g. = For example
i.e. = That is/In other words (for clarifying stuff)

Here are some examples.

To stay healthy, eat vegetables, e.g., spinach. <— Here I used an example of a vegetable.

I love to eat the vegetable that I like the most (i.e., carrots). <— Here I used i.e. because it clarifies the “vegetable that I like the most”. I cannot use e.g. because there is no vegetable other than that.

6. Lightening

This is perhaps the most common spelling mistake ever.

Wrong: Being struck by lightening is a shocking experience!

Correct: Being struck by lightning is a shocking experience!

The present participle of lighten.

e.g. I was lightening the load on my camel because it was exhausted.

A streak of static electricity through the sky, usually accompanied by thunder.

e.g. You got struck by lightning? That must have been a shocking experience!

The arrangement of light, especially in photography.

e.g. The photo was dull because the lighting wasn’t good enough.

Photo by Owen Zammit

7. “If I was” or “If I were”?

Wrong: If I was an elephant, I would give you a ride.
Correct: If I were an elephant, I would give you a ride.

Wrong: If I were rude, I apologize.
Correct: If I was rude, I apologize.

“If I were” is more for situations when you are imagining things, usually followed by a sentence on what you would do in that situation.

If I were you, I would read more books about animals.
If he were an animal, he would be a parrot!

“If I was” is more for things that could have happened in the past or now.

If he was singing that well, he should become a singer. (This is an answer to a girl who told me that when her friend sang just now, her heart melted)

If she really was kind to animals, I respect her. (This is a thought after reading news about a girl saving a cat from drowning, but you are not really sure whether it’s true)

Here is an example of the differences between “If I were” and “If I was”.

If she was hardworking, she would be a famous singer by now. <– I’ve only met her once and all I know is she wants to be a famous singer.

If she were hardworking, she would be a famous singer by now. <– I know her very well; she wants to be a famous singer but she’s very lazy.

Conclusion: “If I were” is for imagination. “If I was” is for things that could have happened.

lie8. Lie down, don’t lie to me, and birds lay eggs

Oh dear. These 3 words are perhaps the most confusing as some parts of the three words are parts of each other.

Lie has two completely different meanings. The first meaning is to rest in a horizontal position. The second is to bear false witness.

Lay means to put into a position of rest or bring forth eggs.

Here are the tenses of the words:

Lie down – lie, lay, lain.
Don’t lie to me – Lie, lied, lied.
Lay eggs – lay, laid, laid.

That’s why they are confusing! They sound similar and you can easily have them mixed up!

Here are some examples of common mistakes when using those words.

Wrong: I have lied on the grass all morning.
Correct: I have lain on the grass all morning.

Wrong: I laid on the couch.
Correct: I lay on the couch.

So, here’s three things to remember when you’re not sure how to use those words:

Remember that lie (don’t lie) and lay are regular verbs, which mean they add the usual suffix “-d” to form the past tense (lied, laid). Their past participles (have lied, have laid) are the same.

Remember that the word lie (lie down) is the most complicated; an irregular verb; doesn’t use “-d”; past tense is lay, and past participle is lain.

Remember that the word lay is the only transitive verb – You can’t “lay” on the bed; you must lay something. You can lay yourself on the bed, though.

photo credits: grandmasandy+chuck, btsergio, Pixieslayer,

9. Take and bring

This is probably one of the most confusing confusions in grammar!

Whether to use bring or take all depends on the perspective. You use take when the item is going away from the perspective and bring when the item is coming to the perspective.

For example, you and your friend are going to a place. You might ask your friend, “Are you going to bring your cell phone?”

If you’re not going but your friend is, you might ask your friend, “Are you going to take your cell phone?”

But still, it can be confusing. So, use substitutes instead.

“Are you going to carry your cell phone with you?”

Problem solved 🙂 .

I hope you’ve enjoyed my post! I hope that you are not confused now. LOL 😛 .

So, have you ever made the grammar mistakes above? Please share your experience in the comments below. I know I’ve made every single one of them before. 🙂

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15 Ways to Get Your Blog Comments Noticed

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It’s my 3rd guest post so far. I’m looking to writing more guest posts soon!

To view it, click here => 15 ways to get your blog comments noticed. I hope you’ll enjoy my guest post!

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What You MUST Do With Important Files on Your Computer

Back them up

Yes. It is that simple, and as important.

The thing you must do after an important file appears on your computer is to back them up.


The main reason why backing up files is very, very important is because if that important file is lost, you can’t get it back. And usually, important files are the files that has been put time and effort into. You don’t want to waste all that effort, do you?

The Internet

Well, in my opinion, the Internet is the safest place to store your files.

You could store it in your email. First, click on compose mail. Then attach the important file to your mail. Then, send it.. to yourself! It is safe there and you can download it anytime you want.

You can use DriveHQ as an online backing up device. The free version has a storage space of 1GB. There are paid versions, too. DriveHQ also has FTP, which means you can upload your files using an FTP Client. In fact, it also has its very own client.

Zipping the file
If the file is too big and you can’t upload it, you can zip it.

If you are looking for a zipping client, you should use 7-zip. Even DailyBlogTips says 7-zip is better than Winzip. (Psst. It is free)

When you don’t have an Internet connection

At least make a copy of it
If you have no time to do those, at least make a copy of it! It is much better than not making any backups at all. If something goes wrong with the file, you can use the copy.

Put another copy of it into a flash drive
Actually, this is safer than just making a copy of it. It’s because if your hard drive crashes, you still have it in your flash drive.

If you back your files up (the more backups, the safer), you can feel confident about the files. Anything could happen to your computer, such as viruses, and stuff. If anything happens to your computer, at least the important file, which has been put a lot of effort, is safe.


How To Remember Phone Numbers 2

I have already shared with you a method to remember phone numbers.

However, there are a lot of people who says that the method didn’t work for them as that method does not apply to everyone.

In this post, I’ll share with you another method to remember phone numbers. I think this method would work for more people, because it is simpler.

It is called the sound method.

Sound Method

In this method, you create stories out of the rhymes of the numbers. If you noticed, each number’s rhyme is unique.

Here are some examples of the rhymes.

0 – Hero (or you can replace 0 with nil – bill)
1 – Bun (or you can replace it with ‘want’, as it has a similar sound)
2 – Shoe
3 – Tree
4 – Door
5 – Hive
6 – Sticks
7 – Heaven
8 – Ate
9 – Line
10 – Hen

You can create more rhymes out of the numbers.

(It is ok to rhyme the numbers with their word form (‘2’ = ‘two’), as long as you can remember it.)

If you want it easier to remember, do not use a word that rhymes with a number if the number is not included. This is because it would be confusing.

For example, change ‘I want (1) to (2) go to (2) heaven (7)’ with ‘I want (1) go heaven (7)’, or not the number ’17’ would sound like ‘1227’.

It would also be easier to remember if the story is kept simple.

If the story is fun, absurd, or funny, it would be easy to remember (That’s our brain). –

If an ant disturbed you while you are having lunch, you certainly won’t remember anything about that. But if a pink elephant came and disturbed you while you are having lunch, you would probably remember the date, what did it do, what time was it, and what food you ate.

This is an example of how to remember 26317246

Two (2) sticks (6) in a tree (3) want (1) go heaven (7) too (2), for (4) they are sick (6).

This is an example of how to remember 23182938

Two (2) trees (3) want (1) eat (8). They were too (2) skinny like lines (9). So, the skinny trees (3) ate (8).

This is an example of how to remember 04351286

Zero (0) cents for (4) tree (3) candies! High five (5)! I want (1) to (2) eat (8)! But I became sick (6).

Of course. They were tree candies! 😛

This is an example of how to remember 83927416

In gate (8), is tree (3). It’s mine (9). I got it from heaven (7). In there, millions of doors (4). I wanted (1) go into them. Instead saw drums and played them with sticks (6).

This is another example (76837192)

Seven (7) sticks (6) ate (8) a tree (3) in heaven (7). They’ve eaten one (1) pine (9), too (2).

This is another example (98321673)

The pine(9)apples ate (8) it’s own tree (3)! Two (2) little ones (1) seek (6) for help from heaven (7), and heaven resurrected the tree (3).

This is another example (89531232) (Okay, okay, this is the last one. Sorry. It was so fun making all those stories 🙂 )

He ate (8) nine (9) hives (5) that he got from tree (3). Because of this, one (1) boy cried. Two (2) other trees (3), too (2).

This method would also enhance your creativity.

P.S. If you recite the story after you created it, it would be easier to remember.

So, is this method working for you?

If not, maybe you could try the number story method instead.