I’m sure you wouldn’t have to look too hard to find enough writing errors in my Blog to sink a small fishing boat…so I’m riding shotgun on this one while my girlfriend (who’s an English teacher) gives me some advice. In her opinion, obvious errors in an article are as distracting as a really ugly font or a bad color scheme. Here is her top ten list of easily corrected writing errors.
- Spelling. It might sound obvious but you’d be surprised how many people let their enthusiasm for posting overwhelm the necessity of a decent spell check.
- Punctuation. As glaringly obvious as this point may be, if you’re distracted by what you’re writing and forget to check your work over, full stops and commas are the first things to fall off the back of the article. If you don’t have the correct punctuation the sense of your writing can be affected. Have you heard the story about the Panda who eats, shoots and leaves? Did the Panda have a nice meal of bamboo foliage, or did it consume its food, kill the waiter and run away? It’s all about putting the right punctuation in the right place.
- Apostrophes. These deserve their own bullet point. Here’s a really basic list of rules.
- Use an apostrophe if the word is a contraction. (If it’s made smaller by taking out some letters, the apostrophe stands in for the missing letters) E.g. Can not becomes can’t.
- Use an apostrophe to show possession. E.g. The cat’s toys. (The toys belong to the cat) If there are multiple cats then you have to shift the apostrophe to the other side of the ‘s’. So it would read: The cats’ toys.
- NEVER use an apostrophe to show plural. E.g. Apple’s for sale should actually read Apples for sale. NO apostrophe.
- Apostrophes should not be used with possessive pronouns because possessive pronouns already show possession – they don’t need an apostrophe. His, her, its, my, yours, ours are all possessive pronouns.”