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Top Grammatical Errors That Destroy Your Content

By Andy Scherer

Top Grammatical Errors That Destroy Your Content

Whether you are writing engaging blog content or creating enticing website copy, certain writing styles tend to break a few writing rules here and there.  However, there are a few of those grammatical rules that you cannot overlook as they will destroy any credibility that you have developed with your readers.  Let's point out six of these writing errors that have the potential of being fatal to your content.

  1. Introduction Then Comma -- It is extraordinarily important to utilize a comma following an introductory statement or word; if you fail to use a comma you lead the reader into the main content of the sentence without warning or pause.  So, as you venture into your writing adventures you need to make sure that you prepare your readers for the main content of the sentence by separating the introduction from the focal point.
  2. Avoid Vague Pronouns -- Have you ever been in a conversation where a person loses you because they don't specify about whom they are speaking?  If you haven't, I can assure you that nothing is more frustrating and there isn't anything that will kill a discussion faster.  As one of the most commonly misused pronouns is "which".  For example, "The company prohibited e-mail use which the employees couldn't stand".  Can you determine what the "which" is defining?  The company or the prohibited e-mail use?  However, the writer could have rectified this by saying, "The company prohibited e-mail use which was a policy that the employees couldn't stand".
  3. Use The Right Word -- The English language consists of a plethora of words that sound (and look) similar to each other yet have significantly different meanings.  There are few other grammatical errors that decrease the quality of your content in comparison to using the wrong verbiage.  Your readers consider you to be the authority of your industry, but their perspective can drastically change if you misuse the rhetoric.  Take a look at the following misused word combinations: (1) Allusions vs Illusions, (2) Effect vs Affect, and (3) Excel vs Accel.
  4. Wrong or Missing Prepositions -- Every writer has been through this whether they are professionals or not; we use multiple words in many different instances and these words are often confused or left out completely.  In other words, if you throw a ball to your friend it is significantly different than you throwing a ball at your friend.
  5. Do Not Separate Sentences With Commas -- It's great to utilize compound sentences.  However, it's extremely important to know when to utilize specific punctuation marks.  To clarify, two standalone sentences need more than just a comma to separate them.  While a comma does provide space, it is not adequate space for two full sentences.  This is an extraordinarily common mistake amongst writers and can be resolved with a semicolon or a complete separation with a period (or exclamation point).
  6. Right Apostrophe At The Right Time -- I find it to be a fascinating process when I review a client's copy; I consistently run into unique writing problems, and even more frequently encounter apostrophe issues.  Writers sometimes make the mistake of adding an apostrophe at the wrong time.  To avoid this common oversight, remember that plurals require the apostrophe after the "s" while singular words are before the "s".  For example, boys' vs boy's.

Creating your own content is one of the most educational processes in which a business can engage.  However, if you and your company choose to venture into the world of self-generated copy it is significantly important to understand common grammatical errors.  The more you know about and practice proper grammar, the more you can maintain your reputation as an authority within your industry through high quality content.

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Content Marketing
Published on November 25, 2010

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