As a copywriter at design company Buckingham, I always feel every client will be looking out for my grammar and spelling mistakes (I do make them), so I triple check everything before I send it out.

In this blog I’ll tell you about just two of the many common grammar mistakes I see every day that some of us may not have thought about. Just trying to keep some order in this crazy grammar-filled world.

Dangling Modifiers and Possessive Nouns

Ok – so this sounds like a dramatic cliff hanger and a super-clingy nun! It’s neither of those, they are simply descriptions of two types of wonderful ways we use words in everyday life. Let’s just start with the ......

Dangling Modifiers

I adore the name of this phrase — it conjures up scenes of dramatic, life-or-death situations like Tom Cruise hanging precariously off a cliff in Mission Impossible. This mistake occurs when a descriptive phrase doesn’t relate to the noun that follows it. It’s easier to understand in this example:

After failing for many months, Emma tried a new way to increase sales.

What exactly was failing for months? Emma? This sentence was trying to explain that the sales were failing — not Emma. To correct this problem, try turning around the sentence structure:

Emma tried a new way to increase sales after it had been falling for many months

Much better! Here’s two examples of how modifiers can go a little wrong anywhere…

Possessive Nuns Nouns

Most possessive nouns will all have an apostrophe — but where this actually goes can be confusing. It’s not just us sitting at our desks that can get this wrong.

A few general rules to follow are:

  • If the noun is plural, add the apostrophe after the s. For example: the cats’ toys.
  • If the noun is singular and ends in s, you should also put the apostrophe after the s. For example: the dress’ white collar.
  • But, if the noun is singular and doesn’t end in an s, you’ll add the apostrophe before the s. For example: the mouse’s nose.

Easy, right? I guess you can read it a few times to really get your head around it. I’ll be writing more blogs about my life as a member of the grammar police as I feel it is only right to Correct and Serve!