Wednesday, 10 September 2014

So, As I Was Saying

This week's top 5 bungles, and why.


Many people seem to have a problem remembering the difference between then and than. These are very basic elements of our language, so let's have a look at them.

Then is a word we use to describe sequence. I put on my coat, then I went out.
Than is a word used to compare. I'd rather have ice cream than cheesecake.

If you get this muddled it actually changes the meaning of the sentence.

I'd rather be outside then inside. (OK, we'll get you a catflap.)


When we speak, we often run words together, so we can't hear two consonants one after the other, but that doesn't mean they're not there.

When you write "I use to" it doesn't actually make any sense. The correct version is "I used to". The same applies to "I was suppose to". Write "I was supposed to." Yes, they sound the same in rapid, casual speech, but then so does penis and peanuts.


Many of you are still confusing to and too. Now come on. You learned these in Kindergarten.

To is a direction. I went to the zoo.
Too is an emphatic. I work too hard.

ESL writers never get these wrong, because this basic English. Try harder.


Could of, should of, would of.

No. That is very, very poor English. I don't care if they sound like could've, should've, and would've (actually they don't, not really, if you listen carefully). Get this right. It makes you look dumb.


Stop using apostrophes to form plurals, or I may have to get violent.


  1. "ESL writers never get these wrong, because this basic English. Try harder."

    Was that deliberate?