2 Minute Approval Tips: #19 Common Grammatical Errors

Episode 19 of the “2 Minute Approval Tips” Video Series

When you are struck by your latest writing inspiration, you may throw your grammar book out the window (literally or figuratively).

Don’t worry! We do not recommend that you rein in your passion to diagram each sentence in order to ensure your article’s grammatical structure is pristine.

Here is what we do recommend: Proofread your articles to catch any grievous errors. If you thoroughly proofread your articles before you submit, you will increase your ability to build your reader’s confidence in your credibility.

Watch this video to uncover some of the most grievous grammatical errors you should watch out for in your next set of quality, original articles!

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A Quick Recap of the 19th “2 Minute Approval Tip”

Here are two errors our editors will actively seek out when they review an article: the spelling error alot and the incorrect usage of your. For example:

Your alot of fun!

The word your is a possessive adjective that indicates ownership of something. The contraction you’re is a combination of you and are. The difference? You are either stating, “you own fun” (incorrect) or “you are fun” (correct).

As for alot? Bottom-line: “alot” isn’t a word. Don’t forget the space between “a” and “lot”. The correct sentence:

You’re a lot of fun.

Here are a few more commonly misused words:

  • Accept vs. Except: Accept means “to receive”, while except usually means “but” or “to leave out”. For example: “We accept all forms of payment except checks.”
  • Then vs. Than: Then describes time in the past or future, e.g. “Once it’s midnight, then we can open the champagne.” Than is used to compare two things, e.g. “I like summer better than winter.”
  • Desert and Dessert: Desert describes a dry, arid region or to abandon. Dessert is a dish served at the end of the meal. Here is a quick way to remember the difference: When it comes to desserts, you should always ask for a second helping of the s.
  • Toward vs. Towards: Some will cringe at the sight of an s at the end of the word toward (i.e. towards). Both uses are correct, but the usage depends on the audience. For American English readers, lose the s. For British English readers, go ahead and add the s.

Make proofreading a habit and don’t just rely on spelling and grammar software. These programs won’t always recognize these mistakes and will often provide an incorrect solution. If you find yourself having trouble with these types of errors, do a quick online search and you will find tons of grammar resources at your fingertips. Practice getting them right by consciously using them (correctly of course) in your next set of quality, original articles!

For more quick tips to avoid common roadblocks and achieve painless article approvals on the very first submission, check out the 2 Minute Approval Tips category of our Video Archive.


Solomon Okere writes:

This article is really an eye opener. I never thought that the spelling and grammar software can make mistakes. I have submitted an article so many times just to get it not accepted because of grammar and spelling errors.

Comment provided December 19, 2011 at 9:32 AM


Janine Shapiro writes:

Please check out the meanings of rein and reign as used in your article

Comment provided December 19, 2011 at 9:58 AM


Janine –

Thanks for catching our error! You’ll note that it has already been corrected in the blog post. :-)

– Marc


Jan Verhoeff writes:

You hit on a few of my favorite grammar errors. Both writing and catching. Of course, there are the twos, to and too. They’re a lot of fun! As are there, their and they’re. But why get stuck in simple errors? We could be forgetting to dot our t’s and cross our i’s – now that would be something for computer science to design into effect. Or maybe they could affect that into design… Who knows?

Comment provided December 19, 2011 at 10:19 AM



This is the good article who gets confuse and make mistakes like I do. While writing article there are always common mistake that are hard to avoid. This would make me thing twice before make any mistake.

Comment provided December 19, 2011 at 11:12 AM


William writes:

thing twice or is it think twice?


Mel writes:

“like I do.” or “as I do.”?


William writes:

I think # 19 video was great now where is ?

There, Their,

Comment provided December 19, 2011 at 11:59 AM


William –

There vs. their vs. they’re is one of the big ones that trips people up. Unfortunately, there are SO many grammatical and spelling challenges in the English language that we just couldn’t cover them all! Feel free to chime in with your additional thoughts!

– Marc


charlys writes:

I stand defiant with other writers who believe that a lot as two words doesn’t make sense. A parking lot of fun? A wood lot of fun? What kind of lot??

Comment provided December 19, 2011 at 12:09 PM


Kieran Gracie writes:

It’s often a mistake to use ‘it’s’ when you should be using ‘its’.

Comment provided December 19, 2011 at 12:16 PM


Steve writes:

I’m guilty of using “Allot” on occasions where I should have used “a lot” I’ve also used the word “alot”quite a few times I must admit. Another group of words I commonly mix up up especially when I’m rushing to write something is “there”, “their” and “they’re”.

Great video!

Comment provided December 19, 2011 at 1:21 PM



Attention Grammar and Spelling Aficionados!

I just wanted to let you know that we ran a report of the 4,000 most commonly ill-used/abused/incorrect words that we run across in articles. The Top 100 will be featured in an upcoming blog post as soon as we are finished collecting the data! Look for it in the very near future.

– Marc

Comment provided December 19, 2011 at 1:43 PM


Aztex writes:

The most common error I have seen around is “lose” vs “loose”. Somehow people just mix that all the time.

Comment provided December 19, 2011 at 2:02 PM


William writes:

Thank you Marc,
I do believe this #19 will get a lot of responds
and I sure many will be looking for your Top 100 list, recently I just view a site
To help me polish my English.

Comment provided December 19, 2011 at 2:49 PM


Linda writes:

Thank you. It’s great to brush up on our grammar and spelling. What a super service!

Comment provided December 19, 2011 at 4:50 PM


Perri writes:

Which is correct: “The writer who corrects mistakes”; or, “The writer that corrects mistakes”? I have been seeing both and I am confused.

Comment provided December 19, 2011 at 4:58 PM


Perri –

I’ll jump in on this one. “The writer who corrects mistakes …” is the proper way of stating it since the writer is a person and not an object. Use “who” for people and “that” for objects.

– Marc


Dave writes:

Great article Marc. Those errors really do annoy me.

Another one that comes to mind is mistaking ‘could’ve’ as meaning ‘could of’, instead of the correct ‘could have’. This is often heard said, as well as seen written, incorrectly. Makes me cringe!

By the way, is ‘oftentimes’ a US word? Here in the UK we just use the word ‘often’. As in, ‘I often spell that word wrong’.

I look forward to reading your Top 100 Errors article.

Dave, England

Comment provided December 19, 2011 at 4:58 PM


KW Norris writes:

Thanks for the tips. Most of the words mentioned I do not have trouble with but there are some. I hope your list of 100 has them.

I second the suggestion that we proof always and carefully. As an IT recruiter the resumes which contained the most errors were those of Technical Writer and Documentation Specialists.

Comment provided December 19, 2011 at 6:25 PM



Do you have list of commonly error when we create a sentence ? Thank you for your helpful article.

Comment provided December 19, 2011 at 7:07 PM


Widodo –

We just ran a report of the top 4,000 spelling and grammar errors we see here at EzineArticles. We intend to publish a Top 100 list in the very near future. I’m sure many of the items on the list will apply to the proper, or improper, construction of sentences.




Oh yes,

Now with all this talk of 2 minute approvals you’ve got me salivating to write some articles…

2012 is around the corner, when does the 7th annual #HAHD contest begin? I’m going to kick back side and take by lines!

New year, new business, new format…Awesome!


Comment provided December 19, 2011 at 8:45 PM


Mitchell –

I’m sorry to report that we’ve discontinued the #HAHD Marathon Challenges. We felt that the challenges were no longer aligned with our ongoing philosophy of promoting quality over quantity of articles. In an effort to produce the 100 articles necessary to qualify, we found that many Expert Authors compromised on quality.

– Marc


Alla writes:

I often hear how people misuse alone vs. along.

Comment provided December 19, 2011 at 11:12 PM



Tell me Marc, after that timely reminder list, did you help yourself to some of that bubbly?

Good stuff!

Comment provided December 20, 2011 at 12:41 AM


Lisa –

I did manage to refrain, but I must admit that it was tempting … verrry tempting. ;-)

– Marc


Mike writes:

This little 2 minute Approval Tip is a good little refresher course. English is my native tongue but it’s real easy to fall into what I would call lazy grammar, not to mention spelling (which of course is another story!)

Comment provided December 20, 2011 at 12:46 AM


uganda safaris writes:

Great article. A very good tip toward perfect article writing. Actually i too usually mess up where and were and it really confuses me that i overlook the mistake all the time. Now that you mention it……. iam going to try to work on those small things that i overlook in my articles.

Comment provided December 20, 2011 at 2:24 AM


John writes:

hehe little yet very useful tips.

Comment provided December 21, 2011 at 10:17 AM


Albert writes:

I watched this video. Useful tips in quick time, appreciable. As in today’s fast moving world we don’t have plenty of time and 2 minute tips like this can be found very handy at times.

Comment provided December 22, 2011 at 11:46 PM



I remember in writing class in college to eliminated a lot from my writing. The dictionary defines a lot as a parcel of land. I can substitute ‘much’ and the meaning of my sentences will be understood.

Comment provided December 26, 2011 at 10:37 PM


Jon writes:

Wow nice one. i like your program of 2 minute tips like this. This says a lot in quick time and in today’s fast forward world short tips like this can be very useful.

Comment provided January 2, 2012 at 10:48 AM



Nice tips you have shared here. Thanks

Comment provided February 7, 2014 at 10:03 AM


Shawn writes:

Thank you for the useful grammar tips. I remember taking a technical writing class at Weber State University it really caused me to reflect more on grammar.

Comment provided March 13, 2014 at 4:56 PM


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