Creating original content for your website can be a valuable marketing and educational tool for your business and your customers. It allows you to share useful information on social media platforms, market your products and/or services and drive traffic to your website, which ideally translates to increased sales. It also builds trust with your audience and shows your clients you KNOW what you are talking about. But what happens when you have simple writing mistakes in your content? That trust you worked so hard to build starts to disappear faster than ice in a Texas summer! (Yes, I know that was corny. nyuk nyuk!) We all make mistakes from time to time, heck even professional content writers make mistakes, we’re only human after all.
While there is no disputing the positive benefits of writing your own material is it important to avoid common writing mistakes. Your writing is a reflection of the quality of your work and your attention to detail. If your writing is constantly plagued by grammatical and punctuation errors your readers may interpret this as you lacking professionalism. Also, making repeated mistakes throughout your writing distracts your readers from your original message. While the information you are providing may be valuable it is difficult to overlook mistake after mistake.
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Some of the most common spelling mistakes are due to the incorrect usage of homophones (words having the same pronunciation but different meanings, origins, or spelling, e.g., new and knew.)
Incorrect: She placed the doe in the would oven.
Correct: She placed the dough in the wood oven.
A sentence fragment is a group of words that are written out as a sentence but that lack a subject or verb.
Incorrect: The local pub.
Correct: He managed the local pub.
Using too many words to convey your message can be confusing and distracting.
Incorrect: The car ride home was long and exhausting thanks to all of the traffic and red lights they came across along the way.
Correct: The car ride home was long and exhausting.
A compound subject uses a conjunction to connect more than one noun phrase.
Incorrect: The groom, and his groomsmen, posed for pictures.
Correct: The groom and his groomsmen posed for pictures.
A squinting modifier is a word (usually an adverb) that can modify the words before it or the words after it.It can change the meaning of a sentence.
Incorrect: The president promised to lower federal taxes after his reelection.
Correct: After his reelection, the president promised to lower federal taxes.
A run on sentence is one in which two or more independent clauses are joined without the appropriate punctuation or conjunction.
Incorrect: Adam likes winter sports he enjoys skateboarding and skiing.
Correct: Adam likes winter sports. He enjoys skateboarding and skiing.
An introductory phrase provides some background information and is usually followed by a comma. The comma is optional when the phrase is very short.
Incorrect: While a Thanksgiving commercial played on the TV she was at the library trying to study for her final exams.
Correct: While a Thanksgiving commercial played on the TV, she was at the library trying to study for her final exams.
Comma splices incorrectly connect two independent clauses with a comma.
Incorrect: I don’t like to shop during the holiday season, the stores are too crowded.
Correct: I don’t like to shop during the holiday season because the stores are too crowded.
Interrupters are phrases that break the flow of a sentence to provide additional information.They should be emphasized with commas.
Incorrect: It was unfortunately the end of winter vacation.
Correct: It was, unfortunately, the end of winter vacation.
Singular subjects take singular verbs and plural subjects take plural verbs.
Incorrect: Students who study rarely get bad grades.
Correct: Students who rarely study get bad grades. OR: Students who study get bad grades rarely.
Writing better, like anything, is all about practice. Here is the Golden Rule: The more you do something, the better you are going to get at it. It’s that easy. Personally speaking, I will admit, I am not a great or even good writer, but I practice. I am trying to get better and even though I still make TONS of mistakes, it doesn’t stop me from trying again and again. In time, I will make lesser mistakes and start to see improvement, that I am certain of, as long as I keep practicing.
What about you? What mistakes would like to eliminate in order to improve your writing? We’d love to hear from you!