Tag Archives: editing

5 Un-Common Grammar Mistakes You Might Not Know You’re Making

4 Dec

by editor FinAndMarketing Right or Wrong

Most writers know how to avoid the most common grammar mistakes – use your word processor’s spelling and grammar checker and review your text carefully, but how can you avoid less common grammar mistakes you might not even know you’re making? Many an editing project comes across my desk that includes a number of grammar mistakes. While Microsoft Word and other word processing programs often catch the most common mistakes- a misused comma or a split infinitive – the system simply can not do what a trained eye can; understand the author’s intention and then appropriately convey this message in his/her text. A well-trained writer or editor can often catch these mistakes quickly and easily, but, as the author, you are the only one who truly knows what you are trying to say. Speaking of this- as the author of your written materials, it’s important that you clearly define your message, but then check your work to ensure each sentence conveys this message appropriately. If you’re reading this article, you already know the best kept secret to avoiding grammar blunders; find the right editor to correct them for you! But remember, as the author, you are really your best first defense against the common and even not-so-common grammar mistakes that plague your text. First, if you haven’t already done so, re-read your text. Read it aloud if you must. Does it make sense? Find areas where your grammar doesn’t “sound right” and attack these areas first. Don’t accept all grammar revisions from your word processor; the best writers know that these programs are extremely limited and often confuse your meaning when used indiscriminately. When you find text that isn’t clear, or at least, doesn’t “sound” right, start evaluating it with a critical eye, are you making any common grammar blunders? Often a simple rewording will correct these mistakes. Beyond that, knowledge is power. Here are a few of my personal favorite un-common grammar mistakes that you may already be making (and how to avoid them!): 1. Alright is not All Right – this is the number one “un-common grammar mistake” to avoid because it came as a total shock to me. It’s never all right to use the word “alright!” It turns out that the word “alright” is a misspelling! Though its usage is becoming more popular in both British and English grammar, for now, using the word “alright” won’t make your work all right. 2. Run-on Sentences – Run-on sentences are easy to spot when re-reading your text, especially if you are reading it aloud. If you must take a breath while reading the sentence aloud, stop a minute and check to ensure that you haven’t written a run-on. When you spot one, try cutting the sentence into two separate sentences and see if the intended meaning is still conveyed? One easy way to spot a run-on is use of the word “however” in the middle of a sentence. Chances are, that sentence can easily be divided into two, more clear sentences. 3. Misuse of Apostrophes – By far, this is the most common “un-common grammar mistake” I see in my editing works and it is so easily avoided. Remember, you only use an apostrophe for contractions (isn’t for is not) or to show possession (Fin&Marketing’s article). Here are some examples I almost always see: WRONG: He was president during the 1960’s. RIGHT: He was president during the 1960s. WRONG: I recently read a great article of Fin&Marketing’s. RIGHT: I recently read a great article by Fin&Marketing. OR: I recently read Fin&Marketing’s great article. Not sure whether the word requires an apostrophe? Leave it out. Chances are, an apostrophe doesn’t belong in your sentence. 4. Misuse of i.e. and e.g. – With antiquated Latin origin, it’s easy to see why there is so much confusion surrounding these simple little abbreviations. i.e. comes from the Latin phrase “id est,” which means “that is.” Therefore, its abbreviation, “i.e.,” literally means “in other words.” By contrast, e.g. comes from the Latin phrase, “exempli gratia,” which means “for example.” Therefore, e.g. is used before providing specific examples that support your assertion. If your sentence requires one of these abbreviations- but you’re not sure which one- substitute the following for “i.e.” or “e.g.” in your text: – “in other words” (Do the words that follow provide a definition or synonym for the prior text? If so, use “i.e.”) – “for example” (Do the words that follow clarify your previous text by way of example? If so, use “e.g.”) 5. Passive Voice – Using passive voice will not kill your work and it isn’t always inappropriate, but using active voice just helps to clarify your intended meaning. This is especially important for marketing materials, press releases and other text that requires concise communication and action. What is passive voice? Passive voice is best explained by example: PASSIVE: The shoes were purchased by the lady in red. ACTIVE: The lady in red purchased the shoes. Choosing active voice makes your text more reader-friendly and more often than not, clarifies your intended meaning because it requires a direct statement and is less difficult to follow than passive voice. Some parting thoughts… You already know how important your written work is, carefully selecting an editor who is qualified to edit and capable of understanding the context of your writing is crucially important to your project’s success. But giving your editor a better written piece, text that clearly conveys your intended meaning and is free of grammatical errors, frees up his/her time to address the larger issues that he/she sees. Is their missing logic here? Did you misplace a modifier there? Remember, offering your editor your best work allows him/her to provide you with his/her best edits. And that makes your work even better.



14 May

By: Penny, EzineArticles Managing Editor

English is a complex language to both understand and use. There are often dozens of different ways to express a single thought or idea in words. On top of that, there are confusing language elements like homonyms, jargon, loaded words and other awkward word combinations that can trip us up.

Even adults who’ve been using English their entire lives can’t be faulted for consulting a dictionary to make sure they’re using a word correctly or to see if what they’re saying makes sense.

It would be nearly impossible to put to rest every question about misused words in a single blog post, but today we decided to share some of the most common ones we’ve come across. Then we’ll leave it up to you to ask any lingering questions you still have or, better yet, share your own tips.

Answering Some of the Most Commonly Asked Word Choice Questions

Affect vs. Effect

This one gives a lot of people trouble. The word “affect” has two possible meanings. Most commonly, it’s used as a verb meaning “have an influence on” or “change”, as in “That experience affected me very much.” It can also be used as a general term meaning emotion, as in “She absorbed the news with little affect.”

On the other hand, “effect” is usually a noun meaning “result,” as in “When I started wearing a watch, the effect was that I never missed another appointment.”

Of course, there are also a few other uses, like the things in your purse are your personal “effects,” and in a science fiction movie there are usually some special “effects.”

Could Have, Should Have, Would Have

When spoken, the contraction “could’ve” usually comes out sounding like “could of”, however this is not correct. Instead, the correct spelling is always could’ve. This goes for could’ve, should’ve, would’ve, must’ve, etc.

Other Common Mistakes

  • Accept vs. Except – “Accept” means “to receive”, while “except” usually means “but” or “to leave out.”
  • Desert vs. Dessert – A “desert” is a dry, arid region. Also, it could be a verb meaning “to abandon.” “Dessert” is a dish served at the end of the meal. Think about it this way: when it comes to desserts, you should always ask for a second helping of the “s”.
  • I.e. vs. E.g. – “I.e” is the Latin abbreviation of “id est,” which means “that is.” Use this in place of “in other words” or when you’re making something more clear. “E.g.” is the Latin abbreviation of “exempli gratia,” which means “for example.”
  • Then vs. Than – “Than” is used to compare two things, while “then” tells when.
  • Toward – There is no “s” at the end of the word, even though when spoken the “s” may sound natural.

What can you add to this list?

Proofreading Articles – Use a Spell and Grammar Checker

17 May

By Dr. Mark Clayson

If you are writing articles for publication elsewhere or even if you are writing for publication on your own website or blog, you need to ensure that they are of good quality both in the context and information they impart but also via the correct spelling, punctuation and grammar. Therefore, you would need to proofread your articles and edit where necessary. In previous articles I have advised on how you should rest between writing and proofreading, how you should read your articles out loud, how you should read the article out of context and how you should consider teaming up with somebody who is either a professional proof reader or who writes articles themselves. I now wish to encourage you to use an article spell checker and grammar checker.

Many people write their articles either directly into article directory dialogue boxes or directly into word editing programs such as Notepad. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this in a major sense, it does seem odd that people do not use more sophisticated word processing and editing software because, in this way, they can take advantage of some of their superior specifications. Most word processors have a spell checker and a grammar checker. After you have written your article, you can run the spell checker and grammar checker in order to find the most important and glaring mistakes.

Not all of these checkers will pick up every single mistake, but they will pick up most of them. Importantly, they will pick up things that you did not realize and this will help you in the future to manufacture articles and pieces of content that you can already write without those errors being incorporated in the first place. Or, otherwise, you can use the educational experiences you gain from using these spell checkers and grammar checkers in order to help with your own proofreading which you should be doing anyway.

Programs such as Microsoft Word (part of Microsoft Office) do cost money to buy. But you can get free software which performs the same types of functions. One of these is Open Office, which is freely available to download and use. It has most of the functions of costly software and is constantly updated.

A spell checker and grammar checker can certainly help to relieve you of some of the burden of editing. Plus, it can help you to produce articles of good quality both in context as well as spelling, grammar and punctuation.