Do you know what we love more than this Alot? Correct grammar. (A lot.)

20K Group has acquired a new addition to our office space – the friendly Alot. He lives in our Lightbulb Lounge and serves as a gentle reminder to the team to be on the lookout for easy-to-miss grammar errors. (For those of you not familiar with the story of the Alot, read about his origins at Hyperbole and Half.)

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In addition to not combining words that should remain separate, the Alot also reminds us to drop the Oxford comma in a series, use commas when they are required, avoid ending sentences in prepositions (unless it would sound silly not to) and generally be the grammar cops we were destined to be. We’ve all seen Facebook statuses like this one:

commas-important

Forcing your coworkers or friends to “decode” a status, tweet, text or email won’t win you many admirers. Unfortunately, today’s young professionals aren’t known for their grammar savvy.  According to Forbes, 46 percent of hiring managers believe that members of the texting-and-social-media savvy generation known as “Millenials” need to work on their writing skills.

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The Alot understands how confusing grammar can be. The rules of English are fluid and, at times, tend towards the nonsensical. However, using proper grammar enhances your credibility, readability and likeability. Even if you feel that your grammar (or lack thereof) doesn’t affect your day-to-day life, below is an adaptation of Forbes writer Alison Griswold’s list of common slip-ups to avoid with some additions from our Alot.
  • It’s/its: Use the apostrophe to contract “it is.” No apostrophe indicates a possessive.
  • They’re/their/there: Learn the difference.
  • Between/among: The former is used with groups of two, the latter for three or more.
  • Me/I: Similar to above. These most often get confused when used in conjunction with another name or pronoun. When in doubt, just remove the other person from the equation. “Jim and me went to the store” wouldn’t work, because you wouldn’t say “me went to the store.”
  • Less/fewer: Less in quantity, fewer in number. You wouldn’t ask for fewer butter.
  • Affect/effect: Something has an effect on you. You affect change.
  • Than/then: These homophones can be easy to mix up in a hurry – be careful!
  • Irregardless/regardless: Irregardless isn’t a word; it is simply an incorrect double negative, and the Alot hates it.
  • Literally: Just because Google now tells us that it can be "used to acknowledge that something is not literally true but is used for emphasis or to express strong feeling" doesn't make it OK.
  Although these rules are a great starting point, a personal copy of the AP Stylebook can always come in handy… as can the steady gaze of an office Alot.

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    2 Responses to “Do you know what we love more than this Alot? Correct grammar. (A lot.)”

    1. Dad says:

      You always were and always will be our favorite grammar cop. Great article. I like it a lot.

    2. admin says:

      [Amy] I’m just glad that being a grammar cop is acceptable in this industry!

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