Article Writing Pet Peeves

Do you have a pet peeve when it comes to common errors you see in the articles that others have written that drives you bonkers?

Here are some common article writing pet peeves:

  • To, Too, and Two — Two of us are going to the gym, are you coming too?
  • There, Their and They’re — They’re going over there to pick up their jump rope.
  • Effect vs. Affect — Some managers are affected by Peter Principle effect.
  • Principle vs. Principal — Your high school principal should lead with strong educational principles.
  • Hear vs. Here — I can hear you way over here.
  • Past vs. Passed — I passed you in the race this past weekend.
  • Weather vs. Whether — Whether we run outdoors depends on the weather.
  • Punctuation almost always goes inside the quotation marks.
  • Failure to include a space after the period (also known as a ‘full stop’), or any sentence ending punctuation.

What are your article writing pet peeves? Show us a solution for how to not make the writing mistake based on your peeve. :)

24 Comments »


1

How about who’s and whose – Who’s getting whose email?

And all forms of apostrophe errors and omissions.

A great book: “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” by Lynne Truss.

Comment provided March 26, 2007 at 8:01 PM

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2
Lance Winslow writes:

Very excellent points, those are serious mistakes and everyone ought to pay more attention. I catch them in emails from important professionals all the time and wonder where they went two shool.

Comment provided March 26, 2007 at 11:26 PM

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3
Edward Weiss writes:

Here’s my peave… long paragraphs. Hate em. Writing for the web is a lot different than print. People skim and sikip more frequently to get the “juicy” info.

Long paragraphs make me want to quickly hit the back button and find someone who knows how to write articles that are easy to read.

Comment provided March 26, 2007 at 11:27 PM

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4
Lance Winslow writes:

One to two sentence paragraphs make me feel like I am reading a long sales letter, I click out, unconvinced that the author is giving information, rather trying to sell me something.

Comment provided March 26, 2007 at 11:32 PM

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5

Long body paragraphs that just go on and on and include run on sentences that never seem to stop and convey the notion that the person writing has not taken a breath while writing until they got out every single thought they thought they had to convey in one long run on sentence.

Whew – I need a nap!

Comment provided March 27, 2007 at 7:22 AM

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6
Audrey writes:

Chris mentioned a lot of words, different spellings, same pronounciation. (did I spell that right? LOL)

Your and you’re is another common mistake. Unfortuantely, a program like MSWord does not always catch these errors, nor does it catch my fast fingers that sometimes skip a word or transpose letters.

My solution? I have my daughter proof all of my articles…most of my articles. Any that you find with typos, she did not see.

We do not always catch our own errors. Have others proof your work before you submit it.

My 2 cents,

Audrey :)

Comment provided March 27, 2007 at 7:45 AM

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7
Jan Verhoeff writes:

Jeff, go take a nap, I ran out of breath reading THAT!

As for Lance, Mr. can’t proof cuz he’s busy writing articles, we’ll forgive you.

And me… Well, Thanks Chris (and editors) for catching all my scary mistakes and fixing them.

I usually have someone proof my articles, or at least slow down long enough to read through them myself before I post, but my objective is to get them posted, so there are those moments when i don’t get it done.

Information is great, usually I spell well.

Audrey, I love your solution.

Jan

Comment provided March 27, 2007 at 10:29 AM

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8
Jennifer Thieme writes:

I have to agree with Edward and Jeff – long paragraphs are definitely my pet peeve. As soon as I see one, I don’t even bother trying to read it. I just move on to the next article or webpage I want to visit.

Comment provided March 27, 2007 at 1:33 PM

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9
Martin Haworth writes:

Personally I am quite meticulous at how my writing turns out, so it’s a bit of a challenge when I suffer myself from grammar dyslexia.

My worst is the old ‘i before e except after c’ issue, which isn’t quite accurate, so I stumble along and depend on spellchackers for that.

My second is the ubiquitous from/form problem, which the spellchecker won’t sort out for me.

I have one solution that I can share with you. A success in this complex world of getting the grammar right.

Its the ‘it’s’ and ‘its’ situation. A freebie book came through my letterbox last week, with the Saturday newspaper. In this ‘Oxford Grammar’ book, I was reminded that when serving a ‘belonging’ state, the normal rules get suspended and it’s, becomes its.

Whereas the foreshortening of the two words ‘it is’, becomes the one you can do an apostrophe on.

Notwithstanding this, I got the rule the wrong way round for the first week and then realised that if I remembered that ‘it is’ has a little dot above the second ‘i’, that could amazingly transform into an apostrophe, I would never forget that again.

Phew!

Comment provided March 27, 2007 at 4:19 PM

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10
Martin Haworth writes:

And without a ‘spellchacker’ (above), I’m useless!

Comment provided March 27, 2007 at 4:23 PM

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11

I agree with everyone here and I love the examples you provided, Chris.

I will pivot on the topic just a skoche and say that “LOL” is my pet peeve.

Hopefully, no one is LOLing in their articles. But when people write me “professional” emails that include lots of LOLs… I do tend to worry about such individuals a bit. Particularly if we’ve never met, nor is anything in their email especially humorous.

Something like this: “Hi Chris, great job with this topic, LOL… I never make mistakes, yeah right, LOL!!!!”

I get to picturing them holed up somewhere with the laptop, typing sentences and laughing at themselves for no apparent reason…

(Multiple exclams also get my goat.)

Comment provided March 27, 2007 at 7:13 PM

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12

…And just to clarify, I said LOTS of LOLs. One or two of them is okay as far as I can see.

Comment provided March 27, 2007 at 7:15 PM

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13
Lance Winslow writes:

My pet peeve is anyone who does not admit to having a pet peeve, because they are like opinions really. Everyone has one.

Comment provided March 27, 2007 at 11:45 PM

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14
Kerry writes:

LOL is a really odd one. Non technical people don’t assume that it stands for the same thing as experienced internet users.

I’ve had someone explain to me how
unprofessional a help desk person was because he kept signing his emails with Lots Of Love, which she thought was a bit offensive for someone she didn’t know well. Needless to say she was a lot happier once I told her what it really stood for!

And she certainly isn’t alone in making this erroneous connection.

Comment provided March 28, 2007 at 4:14 AM

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15

Kerry… that is hilarious! But even if the help desk person was signing emails with “LOL” as in “laugh out loud,” that’s still pretty perplexing…

“LOL”

Comment provided March 28, 2007 at 7:53 AM

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16

I’m not a fan of LOL for the fact that it means too many things and it’s too hard to guess what it means.

Example, LOL can mean:

Lots of Love,
Lots Of Luck,
Laughing Out Loud,
Lots Of Laughs,
Lots of Laughter,
Lack Of Life, etc…
http://emoticonuniverse.com/slang/

Comment provided March 28, 2007 at 8:23 AM

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17
Sylvia Dickens writes:

Definitely. That’s my pet peeve. Daily I see it spelled incorrectly across the web…. in forums, articles, comments, on sites, in emails, in sales literature.

Why this word gives such a huge amount of people so much trouble is beyond me. I guess it’s just one of those words.

Spellings are varied: definately, defanitly, definitly, definatly… and any other ‘guesses’ because they can’t figure it out.

Solutions to spelling and grammar errors are to just take the time and check. Review your work before posting – not once but 3 times if necessary. I probably review mine 5 times, every time I re-read and make a change.

Turn on the spell check and grammar check feature in Word. When you find an error, log it as an ‘auto correct’ so next time it just fixes it automatically. Look up any word that gives you trouble – that you’re in any way unsure about.

I can’t believe I read here that someone is in too big a hurry to post their articles to bother reviewing them. Makes one wonder.

Sylvia

Comment provided March 29, 2007 at 10:34 AM

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18
Melissa Barton writes:

Punctuation almost always goes inside quotation marks…in American English. The same is not true for British/Australian/Canadian English, so I wouldn’t ding an author for that (unless s/he’s American).

My pet peeve is keyword overstuffing. Writing for search engines won’t help you much if you annoy your human readers into clicking the back button within the first paragraph–search engines don’t have credit cards.

Comment provided March 29, 2007 at 7:17 PM

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19
Lance Winslow writes:

I am with you Melissa. Great points. I can tell you my biggest pet peeve is the over abundant use of “Industry Slang” or “Buzz Words” that are used. Some of the white papers I read, I just want to reach into the computer and drag out the author. I see it in Articles too. Too many buzz words, used for the purpose of key words is so obvious and it is really a statement;

“Dear Reader, I could care less about you, I just want to sucker people like you into my website to make money. I win, you lose sucker”

I wish people would stop abusing things. I am glad that most authors here are much better than that.

Comment provided March 29, 2007 at 7:49 PM

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20
Jan Verhoeff writes:

Actually, phrases written in quotes don’t always go outside the punctuation. The limitation is when quotes are not used to frame “conversation”.

Quotations/Punctuation are similar to commas. They are not necessarily always used for the same purposes, and grammar rules don’t always apply.

For instance: You can use either a comma or a colon after the “For instance” at the beginning of this sentence. Either is appropriate.

Grammar often becomes a complaint or pet peeve, when it doesn’t agree with a local dialect. The other difference I see frequently, is meaning of words. Whenever I see words used differently than I prefer to use them, I read the surrounding sentences to see if there’s a variation in meaning that I missed. Usually, there’s a difference.

Hey Lance, I like Industry Slang; it gives me something to stumble over besides my bi-focals.

Jan

Comment provided March 29, 2007 at 8:34 PM

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21
Kevin Stirtz writes:

This is not a grammatical error but it happens too much just the same.

People write “loose” or “looser” when they mean “lose” or “loser”.

(I’ll refrain from the obvious repartee we could have with this particular set of words!)

When did it become so difficult to tell the difference between “loose” and “lose”? They’re not even pronounced the same!

Don’t get me started on these kinds of problems. It doesn’t take much for me to loose my cool!

Kevin

Comment provided March 30, 2007 at 8:13 AM

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22
Jan Verhoeff writes:

Personally, I try to avoid the word looser/loser and loose/lose because I’m always mixing them up. It’s kind of like that phrase “Love the sinner; hate the sin.” In so many cases, I can’t tell the difference.

Jan

Comment provided March 30, 2007 at 3:54 PM

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23
Rebecca writes:

Hi Kevin

I’ve noticed that in some newsletters I get. It always made me laugh – until I realized sometimes I’ve mistakenly inserted an extra letter in a word because my keyboard gets stuck sometimes when I’m punching away at it (suppose I should be a bit more gentle…)

That will teach me for relying on spell checker though. I actually try and write in US english, and use a US spellchecker for my articles, though I am Australian. So, I can only wonder at the mix of (correct) spelling and incorrect grammer that produces :-)

Ah well, one of the hazhards of the global internet.

Rebecca

Comment provided March 31, 2007 at 1:48 PM

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24
Jan Smith writes:

My pet peeve is “a part” and “apart” from me that see’s red when I have to stop reading to make sure that the part I am reading is a part of what I am reading.

Now I need to depart,
Jan

Comment provided April 3, 2007 at 3:59 PM

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