More Common Errors

Once you start thinking about common writing mistakes, it’s hard to stop and my last post got a lot of you thinking. Here are a few more easily made blunders to look out for when you are writing. Remember, if all you can see is a page full of mistakes, it’s time to take a break, have acuppa and come back to it later with as fresh pair of eyes.  
  1. Apostrophes. These things can cause nightmares. Usually you’re trying to show possession of something or shorten a word. So Karen’s computer’ is about ownership and ‘It doesn’t matter about the keyboard’ is about shortening (does not). If you’re really confused don’t risk putting it in in the first place. People will always notice an apostrophe but will easily miss where one should be.
  2. Spotting the difference. Jane is different from John. honey is different from jam. Using ‘different than’ doesn’t make sense. Another one to watch out for is using ‘of’ instead of ‘have’ as in ‘We should have done this’. My friend Stuart Mathie at Southpaw Design pointed this one out and it’s a very common mistake.
  3. Its and It’s. Another apostrophe based conundrum. ‘It’s getting late’ is a short form of ‘It is getting late’ where ‘the dog loved its bone’ is a possessive pronoun.
  4. Effect & Affect. This one has caused me no end of grief in the past. Just remember that effect is a noun – so ‘the effect you can have’ is right. Affect is a verb and therefore less likely to be used.

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How to Write Headlines

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My Top Writing Hates

Writing for a living can be very rewarding. Every day you create something new; bringing new ideas to life. But EVERYONE has little bugbears about their profession and writing is no exception. Now it goes without saying that I love what I do… but every so often I feel the need to count to ten. […]