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Fab Five Flubs

Though the following examples may not be the worst grammatical goofs, I see them frequently and they drive me crazy:

5.   Its or it’s?

If you don’t know which one to use, try this simple test: Say it is in place of it’s in your sentence and if it works, it’s (it is) it’s! If not, it is its.

Poor pooch; it’s tail got caught in the car door. (It is tail got caught?) Nope. Its tail got caught…

I think it’s time to give that poor dog a treat. (I think it is time…) Yes!

4.   Your or you’re?

You’re is the contraction of you are: You’re (you are) the love of my life.

Your shows possession: Your wish is my command. To be sure, try this test: You’re (you are) wish is my command? Nope.

Here’s my theory on why this one gets abused so often:

You and your friends know when you’re supposed to use the contraction, but you’re too lazy.

3.   Than I or than me?

The easiest way to figure this out is to finish the sentence in your head – and you will know which word is correct.

She runs faster than me. (She runs faster than me runs?) Nah!

She runs faster than I. (She runs faster than I run.) Yeah!

But sometimes both words work – depending upon what you want to say.

She likes cheesecake more than I. (She likes cheesecake more than I like cheesecake.)

She likes cheesecake more than me. (She likes cheesecake more than she likes me.)

2.   Insure or ensure?

Use insure only if you work for State Farm.

This policy will insure your safety.

Taking two aspirin before bed will ensure I don’t have a hangover tomorrow.

1.   Between you and I or between you and me?

I defer to the wonderful book, Woe is I, by Patricia O’Conner, for help with this one.

The magic lamp is between you and …?

If you are confused, take the “other” person out of the picture and try another preposition.

The magic lamp is behind I. No! The magic lamp is behind me.

Thus, The magic lamp is between you and me.


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