Grammatical errors can show you up to be disinterested in your writing. They can detract your credibility and make your work look immature. In cases of blog writing or creating web copy, the case is pretty much the same. People will not read your blog, or subscribe/link to your blog if you make silly mistakes when you write. I believe that copywriting and blogging should be conversational and engaging, and breaking some in the formal convention of spelling and grammar can often be a good thing. Though, I also believe that you have to know the rules in order to break them. Here are some errors that you’ll never convince anyone that you wrote intentionally in the name of style, and even then, there will be people who will doubt your credibility.
So, let us look at some common errors that could diminish the credibility of your writing.
- Improper Use of the Apostrophe – It is used generally in two cases. One for contractions (don’t for ‘do not’), and secondly for showing that something belongs to someone (Bobby’s pen would mean this pen belongs to Bobby). If you are ever in doubt, leave the apostrophe out. It generally causes more confusion if you introduce an apostrophe where it does not belong than it does to omit one.
- i.e. vs. e.g. – These two Latin abbreviations are very useful to modern writing only if you use them correctly. The Latin phrase id est. means “that is,” so i.e. is a way of saying “in other words.” It’s designed to make something clearer by providing a definition or saying it in a more common approach. Whereas, the Latin phrase exempli gratia means “for example”, so e.g. is used before giving specific examples that support your assertion.
- Loose vs. Lose – One of the more common errors of bloggers and copy writers is to distinguish between loose and lose. It’s so common that one feel’s that ‘lose’ at times can be a proper substitute for ‘loose’, but in reality they are two different words which have two different meanings. Here’s something that will keep you guessing ( If your watch is too loose, you might lose your watch).
- It’s vs. Its – This is another common mistake. It’s also easily avoided by thinking through what you’re trying to say. “It’s” is a contraction of “it is” or “it has.” “Its” is a possessive pronoun, as in “this item has lost its value.” Remember this, and it will pay you dividends later. Read your sentence out loud using “it is” instead. If that sounds strange, “its” is likely the correct choice.
- There vs. Their – “There” is used in many ways, including as a reference to a place (“let’s go there”) or as a pronoun (“there is no hope”). “Their” is a plural possessive pronoun, as in “their shoes” or “their bottles.” Are you talking about more than one person and something that they possess? If so, “their” will get you there!
- These little points, when kept in mind while writing will help you avoid common writing errors, and make you a better writer. There it is. So, don’t lose your focus!