Thursday, July 12, 2012
I know, I know. You're in a hurry. Aren't we all? But consider the impact you have on your audience or potential customer. When I run across a news article with errors in it, I usually stop reading. When I see something I want to buy, I walk away from it if the description contains typos, misspellings and grammatical errors.
Yes, I admit, I make mistakes, too. And I have no excuse. I have a college degree, years of experience as a copywriter (someone who writes ads for an ad agency) and even proofreading experience, for cryin' out loud. I used to gasp at the horribly written letters that my children's elementary teachers sent home. Yet even I find mistakes in my own work. So if it can happen to me, imagine how often it must happen to people who never wrote for a salary.
But you know what? It's not that hard to refresh your knowledge. Some of the most common errors I see:
Misuse of their and there and they're
Misuse of its and it's
Misuse of your and you're
Misuse of good and well
Misuse of fewer and less
Combining two sentences with a comma, known as a comma splice
You get the idea. You can Google "common grammatical errors" or "frequently misspelled words" and find plenty of examples. Or here is a pretty impressive grammar site. And here is a Facebook page you can follow if you'd like your advice in small daily doses.
Some so-called errors don't bother me. Ending sentences with prepositions doesn't bother me if it's in a casual blog post or online sales listing. Sentence fragments? I love 'em. I used them in advertising all the time. But I wouldn't sprinkle a doctoral thesis with casual writing styles. Just sayin'.
Okay, now get out their and start righting good!
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