I and Me, When to Use, How to See

Grammar police, I and meDo you have a hard time getting the usage of I and me right in your writings? I did too until I learned one simple trick that can be applied on the fly to get your prose in line proper grammar.

But first, I need to point out that this does not apply to dialog spoken by your characters. Not all your characters will (or should) speak with perfect grammar and sentence structure. Let their personality show through when they speak.

For non-fiction and expository text in fiction, getting I and me right will promote a professional appearance.

First, it is never proper to place the speaker’s pronoun first:

Me and Sally went to the movies and watched The Blob.   Continue reading “I and Me, When to Use, How to See”

Is It Farther or Further, Father?

Grammar police, further or fartherOne of those grammatical faux pas that people sometimes make is in confusing the words “farther” and “further”. They do have distinctly different meaning and cannot be used interchangeably.

The easy way to remember it is that farther is a measure of distance: think, ‘is it far?” while further is a measure of degree: “how thick is your fur”.

Here are some example sentences:

  • I can throw the ball farther than you.
  • You can further your education with self-study courses.
  • How much farther will we drive before we stop for the night?
  • How much further will you read in that book before you turn out the light and go to sleep?

See the difference?

Farther is a measure of physical distance. Further is a measure of degree or proportion. If you keep the memory key of “How far – thick fur” in mind it should help you use these words correctly.  Holly Jahangiri brings it all together for us with this example, “The son of a pro mountain climber attempting to scale Everest, furthers his career by climbing farther than his father.”

When Less is Less and Fewer, Fewer

fewer, less, grammar usageOne of my greatest pet peeves about modern writing is the flagrant misuse of the word “less”.  I see it everywhere, even so called professional journalists are saying such things as “…we have 20 less laps to go in the race…”  Advertisements claim, “Now with less calories” or “We have less waiting lines”.  Less has become the defacto identifier for all quantity comparisons.

Prior to the eighteenth century, this would have been perfectly acceptable, but since that time it has been accepted that “fewer” is to be used when talking about things that can be counted individually, “less” when taking about items or amounts that are not individually countable.  Let’s look at some examples. Continue reading “When Less is Less and Fewer, Fewer”