You can have a beautiful blog design and gorgeous images, but if your grammar is terrible nobody will read your great writing! Here are a few tips to help you clean up your grammar.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been talking about blogging and affiliate marketing. Today I want to cover some common grammar mistakes I see frequently. Having good grammar may not seem like a big deal, but it’ll make a huge difference in the readability of your blog posts.
As simple as many of these grammar mistakes may seem, you’d be surprised how many people make them. If a blog post (or web page) has a lot of grammar mistakes in it, I know I’m turned off and want to stop reading, and I know a lot of other people feel the same way.
If the writer couldn’t put the time into polishing their copy, why should anyone waste their time reading it? While not everyone will have such a strong reaction to poor grammar, it just isn’t professional to make grammar mistakes that are so easy to correct with a little proofreading.
I know there are some people who will say, “I don’t care what people say, that’s just the way I write…”
If you’re blogging as a business (rather than blogging strictly for personal reasons), you should care because your blog is not about you… it’s about your readers.
So here are some grammar tips to help you prevent the most common grammar mistakes I see around the web.
It’s vs. Its
This is one of the most common grammar mistakes. It’s is the conjugation of “it” and “is.” Its is possessive, meaning it represents ownership.
Grammar Tips: “If you are ever uncertain which form to use, replace the word with “it is.” If “it is” makes sense, use it’s; if “it is” doesn’t make sense, use its.”
Example: It’s frustrating to feel like a cat chasing its own tail in circles.
There, Their and They’re
This is another very common grammar mistake. Most often, there is used to describe a location, point or moment. Their is possessive, meaning it represents ownership. And they’re is the conjugation for “they are.”
Grammar Tips: “If you are ever uncertain which form to use, replace the word with “they are.” If it makes sense, use they’re. If it doesn’t make sense, you know to use either there for a location or their for ownership.”
Example: Since they’re running late for practice, their coach said they’d have to run extra laps after practice, on the other field over there.
Your vs. You’re
Another common grammar mistake is when people use your in place of you’re, or the other way around. Your is possessive, representing ownership. You’re is the conjugation for you are.
Grammar Tips: “If you are ever uncertain which form to use, replace the word with “you are.” If it makes sense, use you’re.”
Example: You won’t attain your goals unless you’re committed to success.
Me vs. I
It seems like a lot of people are confused on this common grammar mistake.
Grammar Tips: “If you are talking about yourself and another person, and you don’t know whether to use me or I, here’s an easy the rule of thumb: Take the other person out of the equation. Does I or me make sense? Go with that.”
Example: Brian and I took our daughters to the park today, and they wanted their Dad and me to push them on the swing.
Which vs. That
This is a subtle common grammar mistake. Often it seems like which and that are interchangeable, but usually they are not. That introduces essential clauses and which introduces nonessential clauses.
Grammar Tips: “An essential clause can’t be omitted without changing the meaning of a sentence, so it shouldn’t be set off with commas. Any clause introduced with that is an essential clause and uses no comma. A nonessential clause can be left out without changing the basic meaning of the sentence, so it should be set off with commas.”
Example: The website, which is about natural parenting techniques, is very informative. This is a subject that is important for all parents to understand.
Then vs. Than
Many people use then when they mean than, and vice versa. This is a very common grammar mistake. Then is an adverb used to describe time. Than is a conjunction used to compare things.
Grammar Tips: A little rhyme to help you remember is, “Then is when…”
Example: After realizing she was more successful than she ever imagined, she then celebrated with friends.
Whose vs. Who’s
This is a pretty easy grammar mistake to understand. Whose is the possessive of who. Who’s is a contraction of “who is.”
Grammar Tips: “If you are ever uncertain which form to use, replace the word with “who is.” If it makes sense use who’s.”
Example: Who’s going to determine whose turn it is to arrange the playgroup?
Effect vs. Affect
A lot of people have trouble keeping effect and affect straight, making it one of the most common grammar mistakes. If you are talking about a result (cause and effect), then use effect. Use affect when describing something as influencing someone or something rather than causing it.
Grammar Tips: This rhyme helps; “My effect, affects you.”
Example: How did the blogging seminar affect us? The seminar had very little effect on how we operate our business.
Assure, Ensure and Insure
These common grammar mistakes often get by the best. Assure, ensure and insure basically mean the same thing: To guarantee or promise something.
Grammar Tips: “There are minor differences between them. Assure means to say or write the guarantee. Ensure means to take an action to make sure or guarantee that something happens. Insure means to guarantee something with insurance or other financial means.”
Example: She assured us the ebook would ease our frustrations with using gentle discipline effectively. So, we purchased the ebook to help ensure we would succeed with our parenting goals. Unfortunately, there is no way to insure our success, so we must put in the time and effort to be the parents we want to be.
To, Too and Two
Not too many people mess up two, but to and too are mixed up frequently.
Grammar Tip: “Too is another word for “also.” To is a preposition that typically indicates movement.”
Example: Are you going to the beach with the two of us this weekend too?
Who vs. Whom
This sounds like a complicated grammar mistake, but it’s easy to start doing it correctly. Use who when referring to the subject of a clause and whom when referring to the object of a clause. The subject of the clause is the topic of the clause, telling the reader what the clause is about. It is usually a noun, although it can also be pronoun or even a list of items. (The man tripped over the stairs.) The object of the clause is who or what is the recipient of the verb’s action. It is usually a noun. (The man tripped over the stairs.)
Grammar Tips: “When choosing between who and whom, ask yourself if the answer to the question would be he or him. If you can answer the question with him, use whom (remember they both end with “m”).”
Example: Who wants to go to the park today? In whom should we trust to arrange transportation there?
Loose vs. Lose
Look out for this common grammar mistake. Spell check isn’t going to catch it, and it’s easy to miss if you’re typing too fast and not proofreading your work carefully.
Grammar Tips: Here’s a rhyme; “You still lose playing loose slots.”
Example: After I lose 20 pounds, all of my pants will be too loose.
These aren’t the only common grammar mistakes, but they are the ones I see most frequently. Pay attention to your grammar and use my grammar tips to help improve your writing. It will make your blog seem more professional and polished.