We all have grammar pet peeves. From confusing contractions to misused modifiers, there are plenty of grammar mistakes that are downright annoying.

In search of the worst, we turned to our in-house grammar experts: the Prestwick House Editorial Department! With years of experience writing and editing, they've compiled a list of grammar grievances. Below, you’ll find their top grammar pet peeves and tips for avoiding them!

Me. vs. I

Many times, people confuse the pronouns me and I when they include another name before it. I used to overcorrect myself because I knew the name of another subject or object should come first and the speaker second.

For example:

  • Incorrect: The other day, Billy saw George and I.
  • Correct: The other day, Billy saw George and me.

Same goes for this:

  • Incorrect: George and me saw the train.
  • Correct: George and I saw the train.

Tip for avoiding it: The easiest way to avoid this mistake is to think about how the sentence would look without George. "Billy saw me" makes more sense than "Billy saw I." For grammar geeks (like myself), keeping the subject, verb, and object in mind when crafting a sentence makes a huge difference. In modern English, I will always be the subject. Me will always be the object. I will occur before the verb and me will occur after the verb.

— Christie C., Associate Writer

Dangling Prepositions

Sometimes people use the preposition at at the end of the question, e.g. "Where are you at?" The adverb where references location, and so does at, so there’s no need to use both words in this question.

Tip for avoiding it: It’s simple: Just don’t use at: Where are you? 

— Amy T., Curriculum Developer

"Could care less" vs. "Couldn't care less"

It’s annoying when people say "I could care less." It literally means you DO care and there is room to care less.

Tip for avoiding it: Remember that negative contraction! The correct phrase is "I couldn’t care less," meaning there is no way you could care any less. If you’re gonna be snarky, at least care about your grammar!

— Anna L., Curriculum Developer

Affect vs. Effect

In most cases, affect is a verb and effect is a noun. For example:

  • The power outage affected the entire state.
  • The storm had a lasting effect on the community.

The fact that, depending on context, "effect" can be a verb and "affect" can be a noun seems to trip people up most. In these scenarios, however, they have different meanings. "Effect" as a verb is almost always followed by a word like "change," meaning "to cause change." "Affect" as a noun is a clinical term referring to manifestations of emotion.

Tip for avoiding it: Most commonly, I see "effect" being used as a verb to mean "had an impact on." Imagine that the "A" in "affect" stands for "action," which tells you that it’s a verb. "Effect" is what’s left over after that verb happens.

— Melanie C., Associate Editor

Misplaced Modifiers

The placement of a word or phrase that modifies another word can lead to confusion. A misplaced modifier can be amusing, but that’s usually not the intent. "Danielle saw a big squirrel riding her bicycle this morning."

Tip for avoiding it: Place the modifier next to or close to the word it’s modifying. "Riding her bicycle this morning, Danielle saw a big squirrel." That’s better. You can also just revise the sentence completely: "On her bicycle ride this morning, Danielle saw a big squirrel."

— Darlene G., Senior Editor