Verbs are action words (like go, work, help, and run). Most of the time verbs are easy to use correctly. You should be aware, though, of common verb problems that can mar your professional image.
Here are a few errors to watch for:
- Using seen without a helper:
Carruthers seen him with his sister several times. WRONG
Carruthers had seen him with his sister several times. CORRECT (“had” is a helper”)
Carruthers saw him with his sister several times. CORRECT (when you’re not using a helper, “saw” is the correct word)
- Omitting the “d” ending with supposed to and used to:
Wilson use to fix cars before his arrest. WRONG
Wilson used to fix cars before his arrest. CORRECT
We’re suppose to attend a training session next Tuesday. WRONG
We’re supposed to attend a training session next Tuesday. CORRECT
- Using snuck (considered slang) instead of sneaked:
Roberts snuck into the closet outside the major’s office and stole a box of pens. WRONG
Roberts sneaked into the closet outside the major’s office and stole a box of pens. CORRECT
- Placing the apostrophe in the wrong place in contractions. Remember that the apostrophe takes the place of a missing letter: Do not becomes don’t; is not becomes isn’t; was not becomes wasn’t; and so on.
Farris was’nt on duty yesterday. WRONG
Farris wasn’t on duty yesterday. CORRECT
I’am thinking about getting a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. WRONG
I’m thinking about getting a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. CORRECT
If you’re writing on a laptop, a PC, or a Mac, the spellchecker or grammar checker may warn you that you’ve made an error. ALWAYS check your reports before you submit them, and–if possible–ask a friend or co-worker to read your reports as well. It’s much better to catch and correct errors before your report is seen by a supervisor, newspaper reporter, or attorney.