Archive for Grammar & Common Usages

Easy to Make Ebook and Blog Writing Mistakes


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. Read More→

Edit Your Content: 12 Things NOT to Miss

Here’s a checklist for editing your blog content before you publish. For any content that is vitally important, i.e. sales content or articles delivered to clients, I use Barbara Feiner, a professional editor. She not only corrects errors, but evaluates for clarity and flow.

But for blog posts and everyday content creation, I put on my editor’s visor, and act like a grumpy newspaper editor with a red pencil. Here’s what I look for:


1.  Common typos like theirs for there‘s, your for you’re, that or which for who, and all those pesky things a spell check won’t pick up.
2.  Grammar goofs: The most common ones are when the verb doesn’t agree with the noun, as in “Here’s my mistakes…”
3.  Review for commas, semi-colons, ellipses and em dashes. The important thing is for it to read well, read clearly. Helps to read it out loud.
4.  Review for paragraph and line spacing, since I like to break up long blocks of text.


5.  Review for bolded words and insert subheadings where needed.
6.  Separate a blog post after 2-3 paragraphs so that it goes to the extended post feature (“read more…”
7.  Review for eye-candy: Where would an interesting photo clip add interest to your blog post? I always start a post with a photo, usually from


8.  Review for external link opportunities. I always link to a person’s name (to a page on the web where you can learn more about them), to a book, or to a Wikipedia definition when useful. This is really important for building relationships with the people you respect.

9.  Review for internal link opportunities. Surely you’ve already written more than once about something; you should link the keywords to that post on  your own blog or website.


10.  Review for keywords. Do you make it easy for search engines to know what this is about? Come on, help the poor little spiders out, they’re not exactly geniuses.
11.  Review your headline for how compelling it is. Does it draw the reader into the post to learn more? Is it keyword-rich?
12.  Description.  If you’re using a Scribe SEO Optimizer (you are, aren’t you?), make sure you’ve created a short description using the All-in-One SEO Plugin (160 characters maximum) containing keywords.  Be sure to check your tags and categories, too.

What else?

You tell me: what other things do you check for before you hit the publish button? Hit the comment link and leave me your ideas.

How to Edit Your Blog Writing: Wot U Can Do

Some writers of content published on the Web think that substance holds more value than style, and if what you say is truly important, then readers will forgive your mistakes. Text messaging, email from phones and Twitter have all contributed to the acceptance of extremely abbreviated forms of communications.

Wot r u 2 do? When it comes to publishing content that will never disappear on the Web, you owe it to yourself and your business to make your Web writing the best it can be.

I just bought an “old” book on Amazon: Line by Line: How to Edit Your Own Writing, by Claire Kehrwald Cook. Published in 1985, the only things out-of-date are the references to typing out a page. I thought I’d share with you here some of the good advice.

  1. “In reviewing your work, first tighten the wording. Then make separate checks for the errors you’re prone to. [For me, this means eliminating excess words, making sure that verb and subject are in agreement, and checking your and you’re, there and their, its and it’s, etc.]
  2. Skim your draft for opening danglers; test all subjects and verbs for agreement; trace every pronoun to its antecedent; look for unbalanced pairs and series. This process gives you the best chances of catching oversights.
  3. Those involving faulty word order, ambiguous pronouns and lack of parallel structure can be tricky to straighten out. If you get stuck, flag the trouble spot for later attention and go on. Sometimes you’ll hit on an inspired solution after you’ve given the problem a rest.
  4. Read More→

Do You Commit These 2 Blog Writing Errors?

Police-siren  Uh-oh. When I heard the siren I pulled over immediately. But this cop isn't like most. She's the grammar police, a business communications expert. This is what Barb Sawyers has to say in this week's guest post:

Bloggers, I love your raw energy. After decades of writing for often-stuffy business and government leaders, it's exhilarating to ride your wave.

But, there are two things you do that drive me crazy. So listen grasshopper, as I reveal the two of the most closely guarded secrets of the masters.

I'm not going to make you relearn all those boring grammar rules from school, just two  easy ones that will help readers understand and remember what you've written.

They are:

  1. Confusing sound-alike contractions and possessives (e.g. it's; its). By doing this, you not only look bad, but also become more difficult to understand.
  2. Unnecessarily long lists. Ask yourself: how many items can I remember if I forget my grocery list?

Read More→

Reasons to Proofread Your Writing for the Web

I’m researching websites that offer blog writing, and found a specialty writing firm that offers a variety of content for businesses. Here’s what their page on blog writing leads with:

No escaping the Blogging Phenomena!

This is were the hype is
The news is
The buzz is
The money is!

And that’s where you ought to be!

I hate being negative, so I won’t tell you which site misspelled "were" for "where" in their opening line. But I don’t think I’d recommend this company to any business wanting to outsource their blog writing.

On the Web, this kind of error is like having your sales staff greet clients wearing dirty clothes.

Related post:  Misspellings, their our plenty and their impotent

Reading = Good Writing, Good Blogging

What are you reading right now? Chances are, your reading influences your writing. I read a great post today over at Darren Rowse"s ProBlogger site, who along with Karen Andrews of Aussie Mom blog wrote about how reading can improve your blogging.

One tip from this post is to unplug yourself. Get away from your computer. Read a magazine or a book unrelated to your work, but connected to other parts of yourself, other interests you have. This will help you see more of your strengths and can help reunite the scattered parts of yourself.

Right now I have several books open: The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon, The Power of a Positive No, by William Ury, Clear Blogging by Bob Walsh, and Bidding in the 21st Century (about bridge). I also am reading bits and pieces of A User’s Guide to the Brain, by John J. Ratey.

Admittedly, these are all work related, except for the bridge book, but they are topics for which I have a great passion. If I were to really "unplug," I really should get away from work-related books and pick up a good novel. This would expand my brain  neural pathways even more, leading to better writing and richer use of vocabulary.

What are you reading this week? Can you suggest any good novels that you think I might enjoy?

Punctuation Marks: A Quick Guide to Perfection

I just ran across this site by Ted Montgomery, with useful pages about punctuation. It’s easy to look things up and get good examples of correct usage.

Believe it or not, some readers will judge you on your commas and colons. So it doesn’t hurt to get them right. I wouldn’t lose any sleep over them, but still, when all you’ve got are your words on a computer screen to build credibility, go for perfection.

10 Most Misused & Misspelled Words in Blogs

Typewriter I see these spelling mistakes all the time, not only in blogs, but in word docs, PDFs and PowerPoint presentations. No spell checker will pick them up, because they aren’t misspellings, simply misuses.

1. Your – You’re
2. Then – Than
3. Its – it’s
4. To – Too – Two
5. Were – Where – We’re
6. There – Their – They’re
7. A – An – And
8. Off – Of
9. Here – Hear
10. Lose – Loose

The list comes via Steve Rubel, via Dave Krug’s 901am blog, and originated with Johan Holmberg’s blog The Probabalist which had 121 comments to it! Seems people notice these everywhere and they are more annoying than you might think.

Which brings me to the point: if you’re blogging about something important to you, don’t let these easy errors distract your readers from paying attention. Although some bloggers pride themselves on being spontaneous, that’s no excuse for not re-reading a post for errors before you publish. Or after you publish – as all blog posts are easily edited.

What about you? What other errors have you notices on blogs?

Writing for the 8th Grade

While talking with a blog client, the matter of reading levels came up. I can’t remember where I found this tip, but there’s a way to measure the reading grade level of your writing.

You know how they say to write your articles and blog posts for readers at an 8th grade level? Well, yes, they do say that. In fact, some say that if you’re writing for the general public, you should write for a 4th grade level.

Here’s how to find out the grade level of your blog writing, according to the "Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level" metric.

Read More→

11 Rules of Writing

I just discovered this site called Junket Studies Tutorial in New Jersey dedicated to better writing, better grammar, and one of my favorites: better usage of commas! (I refer to my post "Where Have All the Commas Gone.")

You may not understand some of the lingo; it is, after all, in the language of grammatical structures. But go to the site and follow the links, and learn to become a master of these common errors! Here they are:

1. To join two independent clauses, use a comma followed by a conjunction, a semicolon alone, or a semicolon followed by a sentence modifier.

2. Use commas to bracket nonrestrictive phrases, which are not essential to the sentence’s meaning.

Read More→