I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect. But let’s try our best to not make these common mistakes
There are two types of readers:
- Strong readers who naturally read over a mistake or two because they read for meaning.
- Weaker readers who pay more attention to grammar and words.
You need to make your grammar spot on for the weaker readers, and for the stronger readers not to make any blatantly obvious errors.
Now, you will make grammatical mistakes when publishing content. Fix any you catch and learn how to proof read your own content.
A side note to publishing online :
Publishing online is NOT equivalent to a college paper, an article in the New York Times, or a research document. Online content should be informal, conversational and fun.
It should be mixed with videos, images, different font sizes and font positioning as to make the user experience easy and pleasant to read (as opposed to a wall of text).
With that said, grammar and spelling still matter. So let’s cover the most common grammar mistakes with online content.
1) Your & You’re
Your = “Your” is possessive.
Your name, your age, your phone, your boyfriend, your website.
You’re = You are.
You are reading this. You’re reading this.
2) i.e & e.g.
i.e = To clarify something.
I’m drinking tea, i.e a hot beverage made from soaking the leaves of a plant in boiling water.
e.g. = Example.
I’m drinking tea, e.g. jasmine tea.
3) There & Their & They’re
There = A place or an idea.
I got there at 9:00 am. When did you get there? There are many places you can go get a massage in Bangkok.
Their = Possessive
Their name, their age, their phone, their boyfriend, their website.
They’re = They are
They are not going to win. They’re not going to win.
4) Affect & Effect
Affect = To act on
I will affect the outcome of the election by spending lots of money!
Effect = The results of change
He was effected by the pollution.
5) Its & It’s
Its = possessive
Its name, Its age, Its website.
It’s = It is
It is good to have a computer. It’s good to have a computer.
6) A lot & Lots
A lot = To a very great degree
I have a lot of money! I feel a lot better!
Alot = ?
“Alot” is not a word.
Lots = plural of lot
I will spend lots of money!
Lot’s = possessive of a person, place or thing named “lot”
Lot’s wife is really beautiful!
7) Then & Than
Then = Used for time
I went here, then I went there, then I went home.
Than = For comparison purposes
I like girls more than guys.
Moot = A topic of discussion and disagreement NOT a trivial idea.
How to design the logo for the website was a moot point for the designer and the client ( meaning the designer and the client argued and disagreed over the design of the logo, not that the design of the logo was a trivial and unimportant issue).
Moot however is used by Americans to mean just the opposite, a trivial idea.
9) To, Too & Two
To = used as a preposition and as part of an infinitive ( to + verb)
Preposition = I’m going to the store.
Infinitive = I need to talk to you.
Too = Used as a synonym for “also” and to amplify the meaning of words (when it comes before a verb or adjective).
Also = You’re going to the store? Can I go too (also)?
Amplify = I ate too (more than I should have) much!
Two = 2
I have two motorcycles, one of them broke so I have to drive the other one.
10) Could of / Would of / Should of
Could of, would of, and should of are grammatically incorrect and you should never write these phrases together. HOWEVER native English speakers do speak phrases that sound similar to “I could of gone to the game”, or “I should of gone to the game”.
Because the contractions for could have, would have, and should have are: could’ve, would’ve, should’ve. When pronounced out loud it sounds like “could ove”. Emphasis on the V sound. Similar to could of, but slightly different.
So we English speakers are not actually saying would of, we are saying would’ve; the contraction for would have.
So don’t write would of; write would’ve or would have. You should write I could have gone to the game, I should have gone to the game, I would have gone to the game, or any of the appropriate contractions 😎
11) Lay & Lie
This one always makes my head explode.
Lie = To not tell the truth
He is a liar. He lied to her. She always lies about her age. She is lying about her age.
Lie = To recline back
I’m going to lie (not lay) back in this comfy chair! I was lying (not laying) in that chair for the last 5 hours because I fell asleep! I want to go lie on a beach. Mike had lain (not layed) on the beach for hours. I had lain in that chair for hours too.
Lay = To put something down
I will lay the paper on your desk in the morning OK? Hey did you get that paper I laid on your desk? It was laying there all afternoon!
12) Comma (,) & Semicolon (;)
Comma (,) = Used to separate ideas in the same sentence
I need to get some apples, pears, and a bag of mangosteens.
Use a comma when contrasting ideas with the use of conjunctions like: and, but, for, nor, so , yet, …hey I just used like 6 commas there!
I wanted to date that attractive girl there, but I noticed she does not shave her legs.
Semicolon (;) = You can use a semicolon instead of a period in some instances (.), or as the British, New Zealanders, and Australians call it; a”full stop”.
When you make two complete sentences but want to eliminate the pause between them, use a semicolon.
When you make two complete sentences that are related to or contrast one another, you can use a semicolon (but you don’t have to).
Again, it must be two complete sentences in order to use a semicolon:
I need to get some apples at the supermarket; my girlfriend loves apples.
You can use a “.” in the previous sentence, but I choose to use a semicolon because both sentences are related to apples.
Semicolon (;) = To separate lists of ideas
I need to talk to Brad, Mike, and Ashley (use a comma).
I need to talk to Brad, my best friend, Mike, my second best friend, and Ashley, my girlfriend (wrong, you need to use a semicolon)
I need to talk to Brad, my best friend; Mike, my second best friend; and Ashley, my girlfriend.