Three Common Writing Errors, Three Easy Fixes
I have to admit I’m a stickler when it comes to grammar. While most people gloss over minor mistakes, whether in email or more formal writing, I zero in on them. Lately, I’ve been coming across the same three errors. I’ve made these same errors, so I know they’re easy to make. But they’re also easy to fix. Here’s how:
Their, they’re, and there. Interestingly, this is a big one. For most writers, misusing these three words is just an oversight, nothing that a quick glance back can’t fix. But for those who are truly confused, try this: get to know and understand each word’s meaning or purpose—“they’re” is a contraction, a substitute for “they are”; “their” shows possession or ownership; and “there” refers to a place or direction. Understanding these three words can make all the difference when writing them.
The misplaced comma. In my opinion, commas are more often a nuisance than useful, especially since they’re so regularly misplaced. One of the most common writing errors I see is a comma placed after a conjunction: She likes to drive but, she’s bad at it. The rule? In a sentence with independent clauses and a conjunction (but, and, or, so, yet), the comma goes before the conjunction.
One space, not two. It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but this one is worth learning. No longer are two spaces required after a period at the end of a sentence. In fact, it just plain doesn’t look good—or professional. Plus, one less space saves, well, space! This applies to question marks, exclamation points, and other punctuation at the end of a sentence. One space is also recommended after a colon.
Everyone makes grammatical mistakes. Here are three worth paying attention to…and fixing.