How’s Your Grammar? #1

There’s a lot of bad grammar going around in our verbal interaction and in the media. Nowhere is it more conspicuous than on television news and sports.

My current personal selections for the Grammar Hall of Shame are the following:

  1. “Oh, that’s not too big of a problem to fix, is it?”

and

  1. “After analyzing the needs of the neighborhood, the committee decided that if less people lived there, the strain on resources would be reduced.”

The correct construction of the sentences is:

  1. “Oh, that’s not too big a problem to fix, is it?”

No of is necessary. If the words were moved around a bit, it could go like this:

“Oh, that’s not a problem too big to fix, is it?”

No of in this version, either!

The second sentence should read like this:

    1. “After analyzing the needs of the neighborhood, the committee decided that if fewer people lived there, the strain on resources would be reduced.”

The confusion here is between less and fewer.

Less means not as much.

Fewer means not as many.

Errors on these two grammatical principles abound almost everywhere today. Once in a while they even turn up in voice over scripts, or even in newspapers, of all places.

If they’re part of your grammar vocabulary, I’d recommend correcting them permanently, especially considering the negative impression you could make in a job interview or an important presentation.