Avoiding the (6) Common Grammatical Errors That Make Authors Look Du…Unprofessional
in these days of txting, iming and all low caps, its easy to take shortcuts to writing
However, even though we now use our keyboards as we once did our phones, what most people do not understand is how unprofessional the improper use of the English can make an article, and its author, look. Look at the sentence above again. Does it look professionally written to you?
Now, I’m not saying you need to go back to 9th grade English class and try and figure out where your participles are dangling, but making sure you have a command of the basics is essential.
Here are (6) common errors that are guaranteed to make you look unprofessional:
- Lose and Loose – These are not the same word! “You can lose your car keys if you put them in your very loose pants.” They are not interchangable!
- Affect and Effect – If something affects you, it has an effect on you. For example: I am affected by the wind. The effect is that my hair gets messy.
- Semi-colons – Semi-colons are not commas. They’re also not colons. A semi-colon is used between closely related independent clauses not conjoined with a coordinating conjunction.
Which means something like this:
“I went to see a movie; I was told it was sold out.”
Or between items in a series or a list that has its own punctuation:
“I have three friends: Maddie, who is my aunt’s daughter; Jane, who is my sister’s teammate; and Nancy, who is my father’s sister.
- It’s for Its – and vice versa – “It’s” is short for “it is.” “Its” is the possessive form of “It.”
So…you have then:
Yes: “It’s a good day for going to the beach.”
No: “Its a good day for going to the beach.”
Yes: “This is a really cool gadget. Just look at all of its features.”
No: “This is a really cool gadget. Just look at all of it’s features.”
A good way to remember is to say to yourself while typing, am I trying to say “It is” or not?
- Their, There and They’re – They’re over there, in their yard. OK.
They’re means “they are.” If “they are” doing something, then this is the proper one to use.
If something belongs to them (as a collective group) then you use “their.”
If you’re (not “your”) going somewhere – you are going “there!”
- Then and Than – Then is what happens next. Than compares items to each other.
“It is sunnier today than it was yesterday”
“This box is heavier than the last one.”
“If you are still having trouble after reading the directions, then you had better call John.”
“I’m going to the store next and then I’m going to the bank.”
If you are having trouble with these types of errors, practice getting them right by consciously using them (correctly of course) in your next articles! What other grammatical errors do you think are made too often? Let us know what they are – and the solution!