Grammar 101

By Robert Morales —

This week we'll look at words that are misused and words that can be confusing. The word “myself” is sometimes used at the beginning of a sentence incorrectly. For example, “Myself and Andrew attended the conference last week.”

“Myself” is a reflective pronoun, meaning that it refers back to an antecedent (a noun, adjective, adverb or pronoun). Instead of “Myself and Andrew,” it should be “Andrew and I.” A correct usage of “myself” would be this: “I can see myself in the lake's reflection.”

The words “there,” “they're” and “their” can be considered homonyms because they sound identical, but all have different meanings. “There” can be a pronoun to start a sentence and an adverb when used to denote a location: “We know we can find that missing box over there (pronoun). There are many ways to start a fire (adverb).

“They're” is simply a contraction for “there are.” Example: “They're going to be arriving at 2 p.m.” Finally, “their” is a possessive form of “they.” Something belongs to someone. “Sally and John were looking for their suitcases.”

“Farther” and “further” are not instinctive, but are they? “Further” has at least two uses: (1) as a modifier and (2) as an adjective. As a modifier, one example is: “Further, I want to explain why this budget doesn't work.” As an adjective, it can be tricky when one has to think whether to use further or farther. The best way to remember the difference is to use farther when you can clearly see a physical distance in your head. If the distance is vague, then use further.