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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    What do you think about common mistakes?

    I'd like to bring up two examples here.

    (1) "Relax, your doing fine."
    (2) "If you would've come earlier, you wouldn't have missed it."

    Both of these mistakes are very common. I've heard and seen native speakers making them on a regular basis.

    Number one is just a spelling mistake coming from the same pronunciation of your and you're (not sure whether it's true for all accents). I understand that the contraction you're is required because of how English grammar works. In the end, we're saying "you are doing" → "you're doing", but a huge portion of native speakers seems to not care about it. When speaking, they're saying /jɔː(r)/; when writing, they're just transcribing it. After all, writing is just a way of transcribing what is uttered. It's very common to "read 'out loud', but in your head". As a matter of fact, unlearning it is one of the first things you need to do when you want to learn speed reading. So when you see "Relax, your doing fine.", you read it "Relax, /jɔː(r)/ doing fine.", which makes perfect sense just as it does when it's uttered.

    What's your attitude towards keeping both you're and your, or replacing both of them by just one, same word?

    Number two is a full on grammar mistake. I understand it is important to distinguish between the condition clause, and the consequence clause, so the grammar in these clauses needs to differ. However, the conjunction 'if' already does this job, and the zero conditional (e.g. "people die if you cut off their heads") proves that just 'if' is enough to indicate which clause is which.

    How much of a mistake for you is using "would've past participle" in both clauses? How much more difficult is it to understand such a sentence?

    Ultimately, what do you think about the cases when the theory does not match with what can be observed? Is it grammar rules that should be revised because of how frequently they're broken in common speech, or is it those people, who should revise how they speak to follow the rules?
    Last edited by Glizdka; 01-Jun-2019 at 02:33.

  2. Moderator
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    #2

    Re: What do you think about common mistakes?

    I'll address your final question. It doesn't matter whether I think my sister-in-law should stop saying things like If you would've come earlier, you wouldn't have missed it. She will continue to use that construction, along with millions of other Americans. If at some point it becomes so widespread that it would be ridiculous to argue that it's wrong, grammar experts will gradually stop labeling it "non-standard".
    I am not a teacher.

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    #3

    Re: What do you think about common mistakes?

    If you would've come earlier, you wouldn't have missed it sounds a little unnatural to me, because we don't see/hear it very often in BrE.

    However, If you'd have/had've come earlier, you wouldn't have missed it seems normal and natural to me. I would never write it, but I probably say it at times. I think it's only 'incorrect', because 'had have' does not fit into the set of possible constructions that early grammarians drew up, and so early prescriptive writers decided it must be wrong.

  4. Senior Member
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    #4

    Re: What do you think about common mistakes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    If you would've come earlier, you wouldn't have missed it sounds a little unnatural to me, because we don't see/hear it very often in BrE.

    However, If you'd have/had've come earlier, you wouldn't have missed it seems normal and natural to me.
    I've never seen or heard had've. Does this mean "If you had've come..." is natural? What about "If you'd've come..."?
    Could the 'mistake' be caused by the fact either 'had' or 'would' can be contracted to 'd?
    Last edited by Glizdka; 01-Jun-2019 at 09:47.

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    #5

    Re: What do you think about common mistakes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glizdka View Post
    I'd like to bring up two examples here.
    You'll get quicker answers and avoid cluttering up the thread by asking about only one point per thread.

    Make sure your threads have specific titles, such as 'Relax, your/you're doing fine' and 'If you would've come earlier'.

  6. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: What do you think about common mistakes?

    (2) "If you would've come earlier, you wouldn't have missed it."

    I absolute detest this usage, unless it does actually mean "If you would have come earlier...". I've mentioned this before. From memory, no Americans agreed with me, and even British people weren't sympathetic. So, the distinction is probably lost.
    I'm still concerned about "would of", which I think needs correction whenever it's polite and safe to mention it.
    I don't have strong feelings about "had've come", but I say "If I had come ...". Again, you might still see "If you had of come ..."

    As far as "your/you're" and "there/their/they're" what can you do? Newly graduated school teachers in Australia (and I'm sure other places) get these wrong.

    I agree with Rover that each of these grammatical questions could easily accommodate its own thread. (Oh, and "its/it's).

  7. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: What do you think about common mistakes?

    Whenever I hear "If you would've ...", I want to scream!
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  8. probus's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: What do you think about common mistakes?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Whenever I hear "If you would've ...", I want to scream!
    Me too. But here in North America at least, it is just part of the unstoppable juggernaut of actual usage. As GoesStation pointed out his sister-in-law uses it. It is not very widespread, so all we can do is avoid it hope that it does not become more common.

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    #9

    Re: What do you think about common mistakes?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Whenever I hear "If you would've ...", I want to scream!
    I wouldn't say it, but it's so much a part of the local vernacular that I barely notice it.
    I am not a teacher.

  10. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #10

    Re: What do you think about common mistakes?

    How about would of come, which is far from uncommon?

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