•  

    Conventions Cheat Sheet / Ramsey

     

    A LOT vs. “ALOT”

    • a lot = correct
    • “alot” = wrong

     

    THERE / THEY’RE / THEIR

    • there = over there, there is
    • they’re = they are
    • their = belong to them

     

    TO / TWO / TOO

    • to = to speak, to walk; to the store
    • two = 2
    • too = also; in excess (“too small”)

     

    YOUR / YOU’RE

    • your = belongs to you
    • you’re = you are

     

    ITS / IT’S

    • its = belongs to it
    • it’s = is is; it has

     

    WOMAN / WOMEN

    • woman = 1
    • women = more than 1

     

    WHERE / WERE

    • where = a location
    • were = past tense of “are”

     

    COULD HAVE vs. COULD “OF”

    • could HAVE = correct
    • could “of” = wrong

     

    THEN / THAN

    • then = next
    • than = comparison (“more than three”)

     

    WHO’S / WHOSE

    • who’s = who is; who has
    • whose = belongs to whom?

     

    FEWER / LESS

    • fewer = things you can count (“fewer molecules of air”)
    • less = things you can’t count (“less air”)

     

    CHOOSE / CHOSE

    • choose = present and future tense (“I will choose”)
    • chose = past tense (“Yesterday, I chose”)

     

    ACCEPT / EXCEPT

    • accept = to receive
    • except = but

     

    WHO / THAT

    • who = people (“friends who talk”)
    • that = things (“paper that’s red”)

     

    LOSE / LOOSE

    • lose = not have anymore (“You will lose”)
    • loose = opposite of tight

     

    ALREADY / ALL READY

    • already = before now
    • all ready = everyone or everything is ready

     

    “I” vs. “ME”

    • “I” vs. “me”: ignore people next to the “I” and “me,” then listen: “Give that pen to my friend and ME.”

    AFFECT / EFFECT

    • affect = alter (“Climate change will affect all of us”)
    • effect = outcome (“What’s the effect of this change?”)

     

    EVERYDAY / EVERY DAY

    • everyday = common, normal, ordinary
    • every day = each day

     

    DEFIANT / DEFINITE

    • defiant = going against authority
    • definite = for sure; specific

     

    PRINCIPAL

    • principal = person in charge of school

     

    ALL RIGHT vs. “ALRIGHT”

    • all right = correct
    • “alright” = wrong

     

    “DAD” vs. “dad”

    • “Dad” vs. “dad”: capitalize when using instead of his NAME: “When will you be here, Dad?”

     

    SEMICOLONS

    • use semicolons (;) to pull together two complete sentences: “I ate a lot; I was hungry.”

     

    COMMA AND PERIOD PLACEMENT

    • commas and periods go INside end quotation marks unless you’re doing parenthetical documentation for a research paper

     

    COLONS

    • colons (:) go after complete sentences: “I bought three things: eggs, milk, and bread.”

    COMMAS

    • after introductory phrases: “Well, I don’t know.”
    • to separate three or more items in a series: “I can walk, talk, and chew gum.”
    • before and after interrupting elements: “An advisor, who is usually a professor, can help you.”
    • before “so,” “or,” “but,” and “and” when using these “SOBAs” to pull together two full sentences: “I walked to school, and I looked around.” (NO comma here: “I walked to school and looked around.”)
    • between adjectives when they can switch places and the sentence still makes sense: “I saw tall, leafy trees.”)

     

    QUESTION MARK PLACEMENT

    • question marks go INside end quotation marks when the words inside quotation marks are a question: He asked, “Who’s at the door?”
    • question marks go OUTside end quotation marks when the words inside quotation marks are NOT a question: Who said, “I’m going to be late to the meeting”?

     

    APOSTROPHES

    • use apostrophes for contractions (can’t, wouldn’t, don’t)
    • use an apostrophe THEN an “s” for singular possession: “My cat has a tail. That’s my cat’s tail.”
    • use an “s” THEN an apostrophe for plural possession: “My two cats have tails. Those are my cats’ tails.”