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Basic Grammar Rules That Everyone Should Know (And Common Mistakes That Everyone Should Avoid) 

by shreyasi datta

Clear and effective communication is the key to success in every aspect of life, and the best way to achieve this is by mastering the basic grammar rules of any language. The English language is no exception.  

So, whether you’re writing a dissertation paper, a professional email to your boss, a social media post, or even a text message, a strong grasp of English grammar rules can make all the difference. But the truth is that sometimes, even the most confident writers can stumble over grammar from time to time. 

Fear not; we are here to save you from the attacks of grammar nazis. In this article, you will guide you through some basic grammar rules and common grammar mistakes to avoid, ensuring your writing is polished and easy to understand. 

A Brief Introduction to Grammar 

Before we move on to talk about basic grammatical rules in english, let’s first have a clear understanding of English Grammar. To put it very simply, English Grammar is a set of rules that governs the flow of words. It tells us how words should be arranged to create meaningful sentences.  


This includes a wide array of elements, such as the structure and form of words, meaning and interpretation of words within sentences, and structure of sentences, such as sentence agreement and relationship between words. 

So why is having proper knowledge of grammar so important? You already know that good grammar knowledge is important for clear and effective communication. Apart from this, there are several reasons why a good understanding of grammar is essential.  

  • More clarity in writing: Without any knowledge of grammar, sentences will not carry any meaning, thus creating more confusion. Hence, proper knowledge of grammar is essential as it will ensure that your writing is clear and easy to understand. 
  • Professionalism: Proper grammar knowledge reflects professionalism and attention to detail. This creates a polished impression of the writer, especially in formal settings. On the other hand, typos and grammatical mistakes can make you look unprofessional or careless. This can negatively impact your academic opportunities, job application, and business interaction. 
  • Confidence booster: Having a solid grasp of grammar will help you to communicate effectively with others. It will help you get your message across and understand written and spoken communication in English. This can help in boosting your confidence. 

Basic English Grammar Rules That Everyone Needs To Know 

By understanding and following basic grammar rules, one can convey one’s thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively. However, with the ever-evolving nature of language, it is easy to make mistakes and slip up on grammar. In this article, we will discuss basic grammar rules that everyone should know and common mistakes that should be avoided.  


Subject-Verb Agreement 

The first basic rule of English grammar is subject-verb agreement. This means that the subject and verb in a sentence must agree in number. In simpler terms, if the subject is singular, the verb must be singular, and if the subject is plural, the verb must be plural.  

Let’s check out the sentences given below: 

Sentence 1: The group of students was studying for their exams. (Incorrect) ❌

This sentence is incorrect because the subject (group of students) is plural, whereas the verb (was) is singular. Since the subject and verb do not agree with each other, this sentence is not grammatically correct. 

Sentence 2: The group of students were studying for their exams. (Correct) ✔

Notice that Sentence 2 uses the plural verb ‘were’ to agree with the plural subject ‘group.’ Therefore, this sentence is grammatically correct. 

Pronoun Usage 

Pronouns are words that replace nouns in a sentence. While they make sentences shorter and avoid repetition, their usage can often be tricky. One common mistake is the misuse of pronouns. Let’s look at an example: 


Incorrect: Me and my friend went to the movies. ❌

Correct: My friend and I went to the movies. ✔

In the incorrect sentence, the pronoun ‘me’ is used as the subject, which is incorrect. The correct pronoun to use in this sentence is ‘I’. Another common mistake is the misuse of possessive pronouns, such as ‘your’ and ‘you’re’. ‘Your’ shows possession while ‘you’re’ is a contraction of ‘you are’. For example: 

Incorrect: Your going to love this movie. ❌

Correct: You’re going to love this movie. ✔

In the incorrect sentence, the wrong pronoun ‘your’ is used instead of ‘you’re’. This can lead to confusion and affect the meaning of the sentence. 

Sentence Structure 

The structure of a sentence plays a vital role in conveying a message clearly. A sentence must have a subject and a verb to be complete. It is also important to use proper punctuation to avoid confusion. Let’s look at an example: 


Incorrect: After finishing dinner, the dishes were washed by my family. ❌

Correct: After finishing dinner, my family washed the dishes. ✔

In the incorrect sentence, the subject is missing, which makes the sentence incomplete. The correct sentence has the subject ‘my family’ and the verb ‘washed’ in the correct order. Another common mistake is the incorrect placement of commas. For example: 

Incorrect: My favorite hobbies are painting swimming and cooking. ❌

Correct: My favorite hobbies are painting, swimming, and cooking. ✔

In the incorrect sentence, the commas are missing, which makes the sentence run-on. The correct sentence uses commas to separate the hobbies, making it easier to read and understand. 


Capitalization is often overlooked but plays a significant role in grammar. The first word of a sentence, proper nouns, and titles should all be capitalized. Let’s look at an example: 

Incorrect: the president of the united states is joe biden. ❌

Correct: The President of the United States is Joe Biden. ✔

In the incorrect sentence, none of the words are capitalized, which makes it difficult to understand the sentence. The correct sentence capitalizes the first word, proper noun, and the title, making it clear and easy to read. 


Articles such as ‘a’, ‘an’, and ‘the’, are used to introduce nouns. The choice between ‘a’ and ‘an’ depends on the sound of the following word. ‘A’ is used before words that begin with a consonant sound, while ‘an’ is used before words that begin with a vowel sound. Let’s look at an example: 


Incorrect: I have a apple. ❌

Correct: I have an apple. ✔

In the incorrect sentence, the article ‘a’ is used before the word ‘apple’, which begins with a vowel sound. The correct sentence uses ‘an’ to introduce the noun ‘apple’. Another common mistake is the omission of articles. For example: 

Incorrect: I am going to the store. ❌

Correct: I am going to the store. ✔

In the incorrect sentence, the article ‘the’ is missing, which makes the sentence incomplete. The correct sentence uses the article ‘the’ to introduce the noun ‘store’. 

Double Negatives 

A double negative is when two negative words are used in the same sentence, which creates a positive meaning. This type of grammatical mistake can change the entire meaning of a sentence. Let’s look at an example: 

Incorrect: I don’t have nothing to wear. ❌

Correct: I don’t have anything to wear. ✔

In the incorrect sentence, the double negative ‘don’t have nothing’ creates a positive meaning, which is opposite to the intended meaning. The correct sentence uses a single negative, making the meaning clear and accurate. 

Misplaced Modifiers 

Modifiers, such as adjectives and adverbs, are words that describe or modify other words in a sentence. One common mistake is the misplaced modifier, which results in a sentence that is confusing or doesn’t make sense. Let’s look at an example: 

Incorrect: I only eat chicken on Sundays. ❌

Correct: I eat chicken only on Sundays. ✔

In the incorrect sentence, the modifier ‘only’ is placed before the verb ‘eat’, which implies that the person eats only on Sundays. The correct sentence places the modifier ‘only’ before the adverb ‘on Sundays’, which accurately expresses the intended meaning. 

Final Thoughts 

Understanding and following basic grammar rules is essential for effective communication. By avoiding common grammatical mistakes, one can ensure that their message is conveyed clearly and accurately. With practice and attention to detail, one can improve their grammar and become proficient in the language.  

So, let’s remember to maintain subject-verb agreement, use pronouns correctly, follow proper sentence structure, use correct capitalization and articles where needed, and avoid double negatives and misplaced modifiers. By doing so, we can achieve clear and effective communication. 


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