1. Memorize 3 Fundamental Capitalization Rules

The first word in a sentence. You should always capitalize the first word in a sentence regardless of what type of word it is.

Proper nouns (names). These include the names of people, places, days and months, companies, etc. For example: Matthew, Helen, France, Tokyo, Mississippi, Saturday, January…

Honorifics and titles, as well as their abbreviations. Mr., Mrs., Miss, Doctor (Dr.), President, Lord, etc.

2. I and Me Aren’t Interchangeable

I and me are’t interchangeable. They are used in different grammatical constructions. I is a pronoun that serves as a subject of a sentence. For example, Matthew and I went for a walk, both I and Matthew are subjects of the sentence while went is the verb. Me is a pronoun that serves as an object of a sentence. Me is needed when someone else is performing the action.
I和 Me是不可互換的,它們用于不同的語法結構。I 是一個代詞,是一個句子里的主語。例如:馬修和我出去散步,這里I 和Matthew 都是句子里的主語,而went是一個謂語動詞。Me是一個代詞,作為句子里的賓語。當其他人需要執行某個動作時就需要使用me。

To use the example above: Matthew took me for a walk. Matthew is the subject and me is the object in the sentence. Knowing your subjects and objects will help you use these types of pronouns flawlessly!

3. Be Careful When Using Your and You’re

This is probably the most common mistake on the internet today! Your and you’re sound absolutely the same, but they have very different meanings and uses.

Your is a possessive determiner that attributes something to you:

Your work is impressive!

You’re is a contraction of you are:
You’re 是you are的縮寫。

You’re a very successful writer. (You are a very successful writer.)

Mistakes happen when possessive pronouns are confused with verb contractions, even among native English speakers. Often, you may see phrases like your wrong (instead of you’re wrong), you’re sister (instead of your sister), etc. These are grammatical errors. They’re easy to avoid. Don’t repeat them!
物主代詞和動詞縮寫混淆的錯誤經常出現,即使是本族語使用者也常犯這樣的錯誤。通常情況下,你經常會看到your wrong(而不是you’re wrong),you’re sister(而不是your sister)等。這些都是語法錯誤,很容易避免,所以不要重復犯錯!

4. Be Careful When Using Their, They’re and There
小心使用Their, They’re 和 There

這是代詞,縮寫以及副詞混淆的一個例子。Let’s analyze each of the words in question.下面讓我們在具體的例子中分析每一個詞。

Their is a possessive determiner. When using their, you indicate that something belongs to them. For example, Their car has broken down.
Their 是一個物主代詞。當使用their的時候,你的意思就是某物是屬于他們的。例如,他們的車壞了。

They’re is a contraction of they are. For example, If they’re not coming, I’m leaving early. (If they are not coming, I’m leaving early.)
They’re是 they are 的縮寫。例如,如果他們不來,我就早點離開。(如果他們不來,我就早點離開。)

There is an adverb indicating a location of something. For example, Your keys are over there, on the table.
There 是一個副詞,說明某物的地點。例如,你的鑰匙在那,在書桌上。

Once you understand the difference between these three words, you won’t make a mistake like their nice (instead of they’re nice) or there dog (instead of their dog) ever again!
一旦你理解了這三個詞之間的差別,你就不會犯類似的錯誤,例如,their nice(而不是they’re nice)或者there dog(而不是their dog)!

5. There’s a Subtle Difference Between Must and Have To
Must 與Have To有細微的差別

Modal verbs in English serve to indicate possibility, obligation and more. The most common examples of modal verbs include can, may, must, will and shall. Must is the one indicating an obligation or a necessity to do something.
英語中的情態動詞用來說明可能性,義務或者其他。最常見的情態動詞包括can, may, must, will和shall。Must是用來說明義務以及做某事的必要性。

I must wake up early to catch a morning train.

However, we could also say:

I have to wake up early to catch a morning train.


The difference between must and have to is subtle. Both refer to an obligation, but must indicates an opinion or suggestion. Have to is an expression of a more objective obligation coming from an outside force.
Must與have to之間的差別是細微的。兩者都指義務,但是must是指意見或者建議。Have to指來自于外部世界的客觀義務。

因此說某個人必須做她的家庭作業是你的意見。說她不得不做她的家庭作業代表著她必須這樣做。在非正式的場合must和have to不可互換。在正式一點的場合,熟知must和have to的區別你就可以把它們區分開。

6. Always Check for Subject and Verb Agreement

One of the most basic grammar rules in English states that the subject of the sentence has to agree with its verb. To approach fluency in English, it’s crucial to understand subject-verb agreement. The subject of a sentence can be either singular or plural, which will determine what form the verb takes.

For example:

She likes pizza.

They like burgers.

But what happens when a sentence gets more complicated?

When there’s more than one subject connected by and, it’s a compound subject that requires a plural.

Lily and Tom want to order pizza. (They want to order pizza.)

But here’s where things get really complicated. Sometimes the subject is accompanied by an additional piece of information that follows along with, together with, as well as, such as and more. These don’t change the subject into a compound subject and don’t require a plural verb.
但是這里我們要說明的才是真正復雜的。有時,主語后會伴隨額外的信息,由along with, together with, as well as, such as 或者其他的詞連接。這種情況下不需要把主語看成是復合主語,謂語動詞也不需要是用復數形式。

Lily, just like Tom, wants to order pizza. (She wants to order pizza. So does Tom.)

I, together with Matthew, am going for a walk. (I am going for a walk. Matthew is going with me.)

Note that this a slightly awkward sentence, and using a compound subject like Matthew and I would be preferable here.
注意這個句子有一點歧義,使用復合賓語Matthew and I 會好一些。

A book, along with a few cards and pencils, was on the table. (A book was on the table. There were also a few cards and pencils.)?

Notice how these sentence elements provide additional information that can be safely removed. The sentence would be less informative, but still grammatically correct.

A simple way to check for subject and verb agreement is to replace the subject with an appropriate pronoun, like we did in the first sentence above.

Lily, just like Tom, wants to order pizza. (She wants to order pizza.)

Lily and Tom want to order pizza. (They want to order pizza.)

If the sentence still makes sense, your subject and your verb are in agreement!

7. Mix It Up with Active and Passive Voice

In many English sentences, the subject is the one performing the action described by the verb of the sentence. This is called “active voice.”

While the children played a game in the backyard, their dad prepared dinner.

In other instances, the subject is being acted upon. Someone else is performing the action! This is “passive voice.”

While a game was played by the kids, dinner was prepared by their dad.

This sentence also has two clauses, and both of them are written in the passive voice: the game was played (by the kids) while dinner was prepared (by their dad).

While it’s recommended to use passive voice sparingly, you should know how to recognize and use both active and passive voices.

A good mix of active and passive verbs will make your English, especially written English, varied and colorful. Don’t be afraid of combinations!

8. For Collective Nouns, Context Is Everything

Sometimes, a singular noun represents a group of people or a collection of things. Should it take a singular or a plural verb? Is family singular or plural? Is government plural or singular? How about crowd or flock? These types of nouns are known as collective nouns. You’ll treat them differently depending on context.

First, consider whether you’re operating in British English or American English. In American English, collective nouns typically take a singular verb. For example:

My family loves me a lot.

The American government is voting on this issue today.

There are two important exceptions that you’re likely to encounter in casual conversation: police and people. Police and people always take a plural verb.

The Boston Police make reports on the matter.

People are starting to wonder what’s going on.

However, in British English, collective nouns may take a singular or a plural verb, depending on the rest of the sentence. If the collective noun represents a group acting as one unit, it takes a singular verb. If the collective noun stands for several individuals or things acting independently, it takes a plural verb. For example:

My family are all coming to the wedding. (“Family” stands for several different people who’ll arrive at the wedding, not necessarily together.)

The staff disagree on the deadline for the project. (The staff are employees who have different opinions about the project deadline.)

9. Always Use Complete Sentences, Not Sentence Fragments

The most basic sentence in English has two elements: a subject and a verb.

She sings.

I write.

Having a subject and a verb is the minimum requirement for English sentences. If either of those is missing, the sentence isn’t complete. Sentence fragments shouldn’t be used alone.

Make it a rule for yourself to always write in complete sentences. Check if there’s a subject and a verb in your sentence. If not, insert one! Connecting sentence fragments into more complex sentences will make your English speech and English writing correct and varied.

10. Learn Some Question Tags to Simplify Your Life

You know those short questions that sometimes get added to the end of a sentence, don’t you? These are called question tags, and they’re neat, aren’t they? They can make your life easier, especially in an English conversation, because they allow you to easily turn statements into yes or no questions.

The rule for forming a question tag is simple: if the main verb of the sentence is positive, the question tag takes its negative form. If the main verb of the sentence is negative (has “not” in it), the question tag takes its positive form. A question tag will always conform to the main verb of the sentence.

She forgot her lunch, didn’t she? or She didn’t forget her lunch, did she?

However, here’s another thing to remember: if the main verb of the sentence is “I am,” the question tag that corresponds is “aren’t I.”
這里我們還需要記住另一個規則:如果主句的主語和謂語是“I am”,那么反義疑問句相應的形式就應該是“aren’t I ”。

I am going to have to change my plans, aren’t I?

If you don’t feel like using a contraction to form a negative question tag, be careful with the placement of “not.”

She forgot her lunch, did she not?

11. Feel Free to Use Dangling Prepositions

Whenever a preposition gets separated from its object in the sentence (or when it doesn’t have an object at all), it becomes a dangling preposition.

Whom are you talking to?

You can come downstairs; there’s nothing to be afraid of.

You may encounter native English speakers who believe it’s incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition. However, dangling prepositions aren’t a grammatical error.

Actually, avoiding dangling prepositions may result in some awkward sentences!

For example:

To whom are you talking?

You can come downstairs; there’s nothing of which to be afraid.

These sentences are correct, but not very desirable. As long as you understand dangling prepositions and their grammatical rules, feel free to use them!

12. But Be Careful with Dangling Participles in Complex Sentences

Participles are often used to introduce a subordinate clause in a sentence.

Doing my homework, I noticed that a few of my notes were missing.

That little girl, having dropped her ice cream, is crying uncontrollably.



While I was doing my homework, I noticed that a few of my notes were missing.

That little girl has dropped her ice cream and is crying uncontrollably.

Dangling participles can cause problems for English learners; they can make it easier to forget or confuse the subject-participle relationship. A very common mistake many English learners make is to use a participle that doesn’t relate to the subject of the sentence.

Walking to the university, the rain started to fall, so he opened his umbrella.


Walking to the university, he opened his umbrella, because the rain started to fall.