Monthly Archives: January 2011

Pardon My Rant

Some grammatical blunders shouldn’t be forgiven. For instance, “rise up.”  When was the last time you noticed smoke “rising down”? Ditto “raise,” “lift,” and “hoist.”

If you’re not careful, you’ll commit “a myriad of mistakes.” Well, I hope not. “Myriad” is an adjective. Used correctly it should directly precede the noun it modifies: “myriad mistakes.” Think of “myriad” as an upscale substitute for “many,” and you’ll get it right every time.

When you work on a tan, you don’t “lay on the beach,” you “lie on the beach.” “Lie” means “to rest or recline.” Its principal parts are “lie” (present tense), “lay” (past tense), and “lain” (past participle). “Lay” means “to put or place.” Its principle parts are “lay,” “laid,” and “laid.”  The confusion happens because “lay” plays two roles–as the present tense of one and the past tense of the other. I know it’s confusing–but you’re not a dummy. You can learn this!

Doesn’t everyone love their mother?  No, everyone loves his (or her) mother. Forget the “every” part and concentrate on “one.” That way you’ll remember that “everyone” is singular, requiring a singular pronoun referring to it.  I know, I know, “anyone” sounds singular, and “everyone” sounds plural. But both are singular, as are anybody, everybody, someone, and somebody. Class dismissed.