Here’s why it’s so easy to make these common ebook and blog writing mistakes:
Many small business professionals with a business blog are keenly interested in getting their message out there, and don’t care so much in writing “properly.”
Younger people, in particular, like to write like they talk. Speech can be a great way to convey personality. It’s more like jazz rather than a sonata.
When people use a lot of verbal expressions in online content, however, their readers have to work harder to understand the message.
Blog writing with a conversational tone is good for connecting with people, for sure. You should, however, make a concerted effort to follow grammar and writing rules that make your blog easier to read.
I’m sure that you know the kinds of grammar mistakes that I’m talking about. Words that are easy to mix up and when to use contractions are a few that I often see. Just know that if you are consistently making these mistakes, your readers are likely noticing.
Here are a few common mistakes that you might be making:
- There, their, they’re – my personal favorite pet peeve. Mixing up words can be a common issue. For this particular issue, I find that it’s easiest to remember that “their” discusses a person, “there,” a place, and “they’re” is a contraction for “they are.” There are several other sets of words that cause a similar conundrum. When in doubt, ask someone to read your writing for you to see if it makes sense.
- Mixing up words that sound the same but mean different things – think along the lines of bear and bare, or read and reed. Sight or cite. Using the wrong one can change the context of your writing.
- When to use contractions – one good rule of thumb is to remember that every contraction has an apostrophe in it. Think of it this way: the apostrophe is taking the place of the letter you removed. So, “it is” becomes “it’s” with the apostrophe taking place of the “i” in “is.”
- Using MLA style – while it’s not totally necessary to format all of your work to MLA style, there are a few rules that are put forth by the MLA (Modern Language Association) that are worth following. One is to type out numbers from one to ten, then use the number for 11 and up. Also, put punctuation inside of quotation marks, “like this.”
Feeling like you need to brush up on your grammar rules or MLA style points? You’re in luck, because there are quite a few resources on the Web that you can consult. Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab has a great breakdown of MLA style, and it’s easy to read and understand. Books like English Grammar for Dummies (available for Kindle) can also be helpful. A quick Google search of “how to be a better writer” yielded pages of writing tips.
What common writing mistakes have you made?
Our Guest Author: Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.