Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

23 Common Grammar Errors

If you’ve been at your firm for 12 months, are you celebrating your “first-year anniversary?”

If you’re moving closer to a target, is it grammatically correct to say you’re “honing in” on it?

And does your head “literally” explode when you try to remember all the rules on spelling, punctuation and subject-verb agreement?

The answer to all three questions is no. It is redundant to celebrate anything other than your “first anniversary.” You “home in” on a target. And while your head may be “actually” exploding as you read this, it’s not doing so literally.

The law is a verbal profession, and the words you use – in pleadings, oral arguments and everyday conversations – can leave a lasting impression.

Lawyers Mutual are two words that are good grammar for every attorney in North Carolina. Our Client Services Department keeps your practice skills sharp, and our Claims Department is there when you trouble arises. Learn more here.

Try These 23 Grammar Grabbers

Don’t let an avoidable grammar error cause embarrassment – or worse – in your practice. Here are 23 common mistakes, courtesy of Christina DesMarais and

  1. First-come, first-serve. Correct: first-come, first-served
  2. I could care less. Correct: I couldn’t care less
  3. Correct: regardless
  4. The judge spoke with John and I. Correct: the judge spoke with John and me
  5. Shoe-in. Correct: shoo-in
  6. Emigrate to. Correct: emigrate from
  7. Slight of hand. Correct: sleight of hand
  8. Baited breath. Correct: bated breath
  9. Peaked my interest. Correct: piqued my interest
  10. Should of and would of. Correct: should have and would have
  11. Correct: thaw
  12. Bold-face lie. Correct: bald-face lie or bare-face lie
  13. Chock it up. Correct: chalk it up
  14. Through the ringer. Correct: through the wringer
  15. Given free reign. Correct: given free rein
  16. Tie me over. Correct: tide me over
  17. Tow the line. Correct: toe the line
  18. Correct: espresso
  19. Jive with the facts. Correct: jibe with the facts
  20. “Eccetera” or “Excetera” (pronounced with the “t” silent). Correct: “Etcetera”
  21. Deep-seeded. Correct: deep-seated
  22. Extract revenge. Correct: exact revenge
  23. Sneak peak. Correct: sneak peek

Lawyers Mutual has been in business since 1977. We've been providing continuous financial protection from professional liability to North Carolina lawyers longer than any other insurance company. Lawyers Mutual provides coverage to more than 7500 lawyers throughout the state. Learn more here.

About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

Read More by Jay >

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