The Suburban Princess has posted a grammar lesson today on when to use "I" and "me" in a sentence. It has inspired me to offer up a lesson on my own grammatical pet peeve.
Rest assured, I am not reading all your blogs and even noticing errors, let alone mentally correcting them with my imaginary red pen. I don't expect bloggers to follow the rules of grammar, and I'd rather enjoy the blogs I love sans judgement. But if you're interested, I figure I'll (finally) make minimal use of the English degree I got 15 years ago and share this little tidbit.
The one grammar error I see more than any other in my local newspaper looks something like this:
"The people that cause the problems in our community don't want to fix them."
"Mr. Brown is the person that people should see if they want gardening information."
So here's a very basic, very simple rule to remember: if you're writing about a person, you want to use the word "who" (ie. "The people who cause the problems in our community..."). For anything else, use "that"( ie. "Bobby has a toy car that runs on batteries.").
The only area where this could possibly be confusing is if you're writing about a group or a team of people, in which case you'd go with "that" (ie. "The Greendale Jets were the basketball team that our school needed to beat this weekend.").
Basic? Absolutely. But I think it must be one of the most frequently ignored grammar rules in our language. I could get into essential and nonessential clauses next, but I think you've all been punished enough.
NOW, the first person who can read through this post and find a spelling or grammar error wins a Ferrari*! Go!
*Disclaimer: Ferrari is figment of blog author's feverish imagination. She has flu.