I used to think I knew and understood grammar. I was pretty picky about it, too. What I didn't understand was that there are a whole bunch of grammar rules that I didn't know, or, more precisely, didn't follow correctly. I read this article in a magazine and my eyes have been opened. Join me, if you will, for a quick lesson on some widely but incorrectly used terms.
The term: Very unique.
The reason: There is no need for the very. Things that are unique are one of a kind.
The term: Hopefully the teacher does not assign homework.
The reason: Hopefully is incorrect when used this way because this implies that the teacher is not assigning homework in a hopeful manner, as in the teacher is hopeful, not the students. The corrected sentence would be: "I hope the teacher does not assign homework."
The term: I feel badly.
The reason: You probably mean you feel guilt, in which case you should have said "I feel bad." "I feel badly" is saying that your sense of touch is physically impaired.
The term: Would of, should of, could of, ect.
The reason: My English teacher and I will hunt you down and peel of your toenails if you say these.
The real reason: It is should have, would have, could have, ect. They are often confused because they sound alike.
The term: ATM machine, PIN number.
The reason: You basically just said automated teller machine machine and personal identification number number. Need I say more?
The term: The person that
The reason: A human is a "who". Instead, say "The person who . . ." Everything else, you use "that."
The term: I literally laughed my head off!
The reason: No, you did not literally laugh your head off. "Literally" means "actually". Please do not use it incorrectly.
Now stun your parents, amaze your teachers, and impress all that hear you speak with these simple rules that are often overlooked. I know I was shocked at all the things I said wrong. I hope we can all learn from this and improve our grammar for years to come.
Author's Note: Sources: Reader's Digest, February 2010 Edition, pages 142-145