Top 10 Grammar Mistakes Bloggers Make {and how to avoid them}

Grammar is a tough, tough beast. I’m not sure why. My guess: it’s because most of the mistakes we make are on concepts that we learned in the third grade. After third grade, we’re expected to remember, but the concepts aren’t reviewed very often and we just forget. I know I did. I had a rude wake-up call when I started teaching College Composition classes ten years ago. Teaching is really the best way to learn! When I started teaching Composition, I got a heck of a lot smarter – and in a hurry.

Top 10 Grammar Mistakes Bloggers Make and How to Avoid Them

The advent of social media has made grammar errors even worse, yet. No longer do we need to think about proper grammar at all. Capitalization – what’s that? Why do we need spelling rules – UR anyone? Tell me I’m not the only person who texts with proper capitalization, punctuation, and spelling?? And there are soooo many blogs, and so many people writing whatever they want. I can say this because I make a ton of mistakes, myself. In fact, I had a glaring error in the TITLE of my intro post for the 100 days to a better blog. And no one told me for days…isn’t that embarrassing? I always find typos after I hit publish. Always. Despite my own mistakes, I still cringe when I come across the errors I’m going to share with you in this post.

Top 10 Grammar Mistakes Bloggers Make {and how to avoid them}

1. It’s/ its

Please, please, please, do me a huge favor and read the lesson here.  Bottom line. It’s = IT IS. Always.  It’s is never, ever, ever, ever possessive, just to throw a wrench in everything you thought you knew about apostrophes and possessive words. 😉 The dog’s head = its head. his head. her head. Apostrophes are not used to make pronouns possessive. Not it’s head. Not his’s head. Not her’s head.  It’s head = it is head. I see this one mistake more than almost any other. If you take nothing else away from this post, please learn the difference between it’s and its.

 2. Would of / could of / should of 

WRONG! Instead of the word OF, use HAVE. Would HAVE/ Could HAVE/ Should HAVE. That is all. Read more here, if you’re curious.

3. Your / you’re

It’s not YOUR welcome, friends. It’s YOU’RE welcome. Always. You can read more here.

4. There / they’re/ their

I hope most of the errors I see with these three homophones are simply typos. But if you’re unsure, read up on the different usages here.

5. Definately — (the number one most misspelled word in the English language)

DEFINITELY is the spelling you want to use.That’s def·i·nite·ly. Unless you are talking about your defiant child. But even then, definately is still spelled wrong. 😉

6. Affect / effect —

Long story short: effect is almost always a noun. Affect is usually a verb {though there are exceptions – to both}.  Will knowing the effect of the drought in California affect your gardening choices in 2014?  You can read more on this concept at The Grammar Girl, if you want more information. When in doubt, though, just use a different word. Impact is a great choice! Will knowing the impact of the drought in California impact your gardening choices?

7. I vs me

This one depends on context. It’s proper to say I went to the store – not me went to the store. Everyone knows that, right? But, would you say, Please give directions to my friends and I? or would you say, Please give directions to my friends and me? In this case, you want to choose – Please give directions to my friends and me. And here’s why – Please give directions to me. Not please give directions to I, right? Doesn’t that make sense? You can read the nitty-gritty here. When in doubt, just break your sentence down to include only I or me. You’ll be able to tell right away which word is proper.

8. Possessive vs plural

Okay, my friends. This is a tough one for some reason. Apostrophes do NOT notate plurality. Unless you mean to show that something belongs to something, or to join two words together to make contraction, just don’t use an apostrophe. Please read here for more detail’s. Gotcha! 😉

9. Suppose to / supposed to

What can I say about this one? There’s always a D on the end of SupposeD to. If you don’t believe me, read here.

10. Who’s / whose — 

This one is similar to the it’s and its example above. Who’s = WHO IS. Always. WHOSE is the possessive form even though it has no apostrophe. Stupid English language. It’s just trying to confuse you. I promise you that I’m right though. 🙂

The best way to get your point across is to be credible. And the best way to be credible? Know your grammar. Avoid spelling errors. Understand homophones. Capitalize words properly. And help out your fellow bloggers. If you see any of the mistakes I mentioned above in posts you read, I bet the author would like to know! A thoughtful comment {or a private email} might be appreciated. 

If you’re looking for helpful grammar resources, here are my top picks:

Grammarly – Instantly fix over 250 types of errors with this free web-based grammar checker!

Strunk & White Elements of Style

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 

Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation 

The Grammar Girl’s Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Writing


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Comments

    • Run ons can be tough, but I’m glad you’ve got all these day!. I’ll have a few tips for run-ons {and fragments – which I happen to like in some contexts} in my next post. 🙂

  1. Great list! I like to think that I follow these rules properly, but number six is pretty tough for me, especially as a non-native English speaker. I avoid using affect/effect as much as possible because of that. I also hate ending sentences with prepositions thanks to an English teacher I had, but I find it sounds far too formal if I write that way when blogging.
    Thanks for posting this!

    • Sometimes you non-native speakers have an advantage over the rest of of us when it comes to grammar rules, because you actually worked hard to learn them, Yuliya. 🙂 The rest of us just skate by because we can talk ‘merican. 😉 And I agree with ending with prepositions. Sometimes there’s an easy way to avoid that, but usually it just sounds really awkward to try to force it. I end with a lot of prepositions. Thanks for commenting.

  2. I struggle with a few of the items listed. However I have learned to use resources to look up the answers when I am unsure. My personal pet peeve is when someone ends a sentence with a preposition. I suppose that is because it was drilled into my head in English class in high school. I am sure I make errors in my writing. Somehow it is easier to catch others mistakes : ) I need a proofreader.
    Machelle recently posted…Laundry LeviathanMy Profile

  3. “Tell me I’m not the only person who texts with proper capitalization, punctuation, and spelling??”

    You are NOT the only one! I just can’t get on board with all the improper ‘text speak’. I have friends who make fun of me for it but I just don’t care 🙂

    I have a couple dear friends who are wonderful at letting me know if I’ve made a mistake in a post. They are always discreet, sending me a private message to let me know. I am always HORRIFIED and make the change right away. I don’t know what I’d do without them! I proof my posts multiple times and still find mistakes after I publish. I always make sure I read it again after I post but I still don’t catch them all. I am so thankful to have people that aren’t afraid to tell me when I’ve messed up!!

    I’d add a #11. Loose vs lose. I get caught up in that one all the time. Just recently I stumbled on a post regarding this very thing and the author put it in what was probably a third grade lesson: just remember that lose has lost an o. So simple but I feel like it’s changed my life 😉 not really, but that was a brilliant way for me to be able to remember.

    Thanks for sharing these great grammar tips!
    Alanna recently posted…Make It Monday: Letter PillowsMy Profile

  4. I think the advent of spell check/grammar check has created a lazy nation grammatically. Why learn grammar rules when my computer/phone/tablet will let me know when I’ve erred and how to correct it (sometimes LOL). I’m right there with you when it comes to texting; I have to use correct capitalization and punctuation. It drives me crazy to receive texts from professional adults that use “text language.”
    TaMara recently posted…Food on Friday – Slow Cooker Chicken CacciatoreMy Profile

  5. I purposely leave all my blog titles without caps, just always have sorta like ‘my thing’….hope that’s something that one can tell..
    Also, just figured out the ‘it’s – its’ learning tons of grammar with my dtr as she learns. We use Classical Conversations grammar and will move into Grammar Plus next year. I feel like I remember many of the rules, but had a few to ‘relearn’ as an adult and would still like to get better with ‘who/whom’. I know this part….”To whom does this belong?” But I know not how to use it any other way or what the official rule is for not using it.
    Thanks

  6. Love all of these! Wish more people would learn the correct uses (I honestly think most people have forgotten). I admit that I also find grammatical errors sometimes after re-reading my posts days later and I always cringe, big time! It’s embarrassing to think someone might have thought I didn’t know the correct usage! 🙁 And you’re not alone on texting…I also use proper punctuation, spelling, and grammar (except for rare occasions with my husband or mom when I might use ‘u’ for you if I’m in a hurry). Great post!
    LeAnn @ Real Fit, Real Food Mom recently posted…Chocolate Almond Butter CrispiesMy Profile

  7. I think this is a great post and an even more wonderful series. As a self-professed grammar nerd, I’m obnoxious about checking and rechecking my work. However, I tend to be more gracious with others simply because I recognize that not everyone has had the benefit of the training and practice that I have had. I would hate for anyone to come to this series and feel beaten up if this is an area of weakness. We all have our weaknesses.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and resources!!

    • Tina – I hope no feels beaten up by me. That’s certainly not my intent, at all. Knowledge is power, but mistakes still happen – look through my posts and I know you will find some. 🙂

  8. My pet peave is using the word “cement” describing a sidewalk, parking lot, etc. The word is “concrete”–not cement. Cement is one of the ingrediants of concrete. Even Stephen King has written about cement sidewalks–shame, shame.

Trackbacks

  1. […] back to Day 2 of the Grammar Series for Boost Your Blog in 100 Days! Yesterday, I posted the 10 most common mistakes many bloggers {people in general} make, and for the next several days, I will share a few more tips. On Day 5, I plan to switch focus from […]

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