Grammar Gripes

By Carlie M A Cullen

I don’t know about you, but there are some grammatical errors I see in people’s writing that really make me want to pull my hair out!


Photo courtesy of Alatimes

Photo courtesy of Alatimes


Now I’m the first to admit I’m not perfect, BUT these particular gripes aren’t too difficult to wrap your head around. So I thought I’d clarify them in the hope that if it helps to improve even one person’s writing it’s time well spent.

 1)      YOUR v YOU’RE

 The number of times I see ‘your’ used instead of ‘you’re’ is unbelievable!

 YOUR – means belonging to, as in your house’, ‘your car’, ‘your dog’ – you get the idea.

 YOU’RE – is a contraction of ‘you’ and ‘are’, as in you’re (you are) going to bed’, you’re (you are) welcome’ andyou’re (you are) not very happy today’.


Image from

Image from


2)      THEN v THAN

 This is another one that tends to crop up on a surprisingly regular basis.

 THEN – has three uses in grammar:

                        Adverb – ‘I didn’t know it then, but I know now’

                        Conjunction – ‘The President spoke and spoke well, then sat down’

                        Adjective (less common) – ‘The advice on bending the rules came from the then Minister, Paul Johns’

THEN means ‘at that time’, ‘at the time in question’; ‘after that’, ‘next’, ‘afterwards’; ‘in that case’, ‘therefore’.

Used at the end of a sentence to emphasize an inference being drawn: ‘so you’re still here then?’

 Used to finish a sentence: ‘see you in an hour then

THAN –  introduces the second element in a comparison: ‘he was much smaller than his son’, ‘Jack doesn’t know any more than I do’

Used in expressions introducing an exception or contrast: [as preposition]: ‘he claims not to own anything other than his home’ [as conjunction]: ‘they observe rather than act’

[conjunction] used in expression indicating one thing happening immediately after another: ‘scarcely was the work completed than it was abandoned’


Image from

Image from



This is my other main gripe. It doesn’t tend to crop up as much as the two above, but is still misused regularly.

THERE – relates to ‘in’, ‘at’ ‘to a place or position’:

                  ‘we went to Paris and stayed there seven days’

                   ‘at the end of the day we are there to make money’

                   ‘I’m not going in there – it’s freezing!’

THEIR – means ‘belonging to’:

                  ‘we went to their house’

                   ‘where are their clothes?’

                   ‘I had a collision with their car’

 THEY’RE – is a contraction of ‘they’ and ‘are’, as in:

                 they’re (they are) a good team’

                  ‘they’re (they are) busy with decorating’

                  ‘who do they think they’re (they are) fooling?’



I hope this makes things much clearer!

Do you have any Grammar Gripes? Please share – we’d love to read them!






This entry was posted in Writing Tips and tagged , by Carlie M A Cullen. Bookmark the permalink.

About Carlie M A Cullen

Hi, I'm Carlie and I live for writing. My genre is Fantasy/Paranormal Romance. I love the creative process of building unique worlds, designing monsters and crafting characters. I'm fascinated by my own imagination and the places it takes me to. Writing - well it's something I'm really passionate about. I can lose myself in the beauty of words for hours and truly respect those who do it so much better than me. My first four novels - Heart Search: Lost, Heart Search: Found, Heart Search: Betrayal, and Of Ice & Air - are published with Myrddin Publishing. I've written the first book in a seven book epic fantasy series called The Seven Doors, and the first draft of the second is almost finished. Sometimes my writing has to go on the back burner as I'm Principal Editor for Eagle Eye Editors. Being an editor as well as a writer gives me a whole new perspective on my writing and it's taught me a great deal. It's challenging work, and something I really enjoy, but nothing can compete with my love of writing. I used to hold the reins of Writebulb - a writing group who support each other with honesty, integrity & respect. If you're a writer and you live in Essex, UK, you need to join this amazing group. The group published five anthologies under my leadership with all proceeds going to support a local hospice. Reluctantly, I had to pass the reins over to a talented writer, Carly, as I moved too far away to continue. I do miss it, especially the people in the group, and hope to pop in to see them soon.

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