While we would like to think that little mistakes don’t matter, they certainly do and could literally cost you an opportunity.
Imagine that you are sending a proposal to pitch to an editor for a certain writing job and it’s full of errors in them? I’ll leave the answer to you.
Wielding your words skillfully creates positive perceptions about you and what you’ve got to say, especially when trading your words is something that you do as a profession or something that you plan to take up doing.
Even after years of reading, writing, studying it in school, we still mess up now and again with our grammar and spellings and it’s not because we don’t know these things, but may simply be due to slip-ups that we don’t even recognize. This is why editors earn big bucks to help us tailor our words/story and circle out our errors that have blended into our work.
However, not all of us can afford the cost of professional editing – not yet at least, and whilst we work our way towards that time, we could keep our writing clean, professional and appealing by taking advantage of the opportunities available to us. These assistants help end mistakes that make us look sloppy.
Let’s look at a few of these mistakes
- Your vs. You’re
The word Your is a possessive adjective used to replace the noun and to show ownership, while You’re is a contraction of you and are.
You have forgotten your purse
You’re going to forget your purse
- Its vs. It’s
The word its is a possessive adjective and it’s is a contraction of it and is. Its shows property ownership of a subject.
Dubai is a beautiful city but has its fair share of challenges.
It’s easy to substitute one for the other when we overlook the apostrophe, but this then makes an entirely different meaning to a sentence.
It’s quite clear that Dubai is a beautiful city.
- Affect vs. Effect
The word affect is often used as a verb that means to influence or to cause something to change while effect is commonly used as a noun to show change which is a result of an action or other cause.
The accident affected her tremendously.
The President effected many policy changes.
- Complement vs. Compliment
Given that these two words sound the same, it leads to confusion and interchanging.
Complement is a noun that used to show something that contributes extra features to something else in such a way as to enhance it or to emphasize its quality.
The word Compliment is equally a noun and used as a polite expression of admiration, expression or praise.
That bottle of white wine complements the dish perfectly
My compliments to the chef for a great dish.
- Me vs. I
The wrong usage of Me vs. I in English writing is a common confusion and it’s an error that dots the pages of an article like an annoying rash.
Fortunately, under any circumstance, there’s a simple way of making the right choice of word when it comes to these two.
Could you send the package to Lucy and I?
This sentence is wrong.
Take Lucy out of the sentence and see how it reads. Does not sound right at all. Since you can’t write would you send the package to I the correct sentence should be;
Could you send the package to Lucy and me?
Try this other example:
He won’t be happy with you and I.
Take away ‘you’ from the sentence and you’ll see that it’s wrong so the proper sentence should be;
He won’t be happy with you and me
- Into vs. In to
Another grammar faux pas because both sound the same and are difficult to distinguish. The word into is a preposition that indicates a movement or action to the inside of/being enclosed/engrossed in something. It shows some type of action taking place and the two words in to is used when in forms part of the verb in a phrase.
She was so tired after work that she simply crawled into bed without eating.
She gave in to undue pressure.
- Insure vs. Ensure vs. Assure
These three words raise their confusion because they sound similar and used to infer making an outcome sure or certain. However, they have distinct meanings and are not interchangeable.
The word insure means to safeguard or take precautions against a loss or damage, typically a financial term which applies to taking out an insurance.
I pay my premium monthly to insure my car.
Ensure is to make sure that something will be the case/happen.
Please ensure that the records are accurate.
The word assure is used to set one’s mind at rest, to make a guarantee. It’s a verbal statement of promise and certainty
I assure you that I’ll deliver the goods on time.
- Farther vs. Further
The word further means to a greater degree or additionally. It indicates time or amount and the word farther means to go up to a greater point. It indicates length or distance.
His house is two miles farther down the road.
To understand this question requires further studies.
- Loose vs. Lose
The word lose is a verb used to express to no longer have, to suffer from a loss and loose is an adjective that signifies not tight, free from constraint, unattached.
It’s not a surprise that they are commonly misused because of their closeness in spelling. A quick tip to help you find the right one to use is to remember that lose is the opposite of win and is used to describe something that you or someone else does or suffers.
Due to the recession, I may lose my job.
He will surely lose his key.
On the other hand, loose is an adjective used to describe the quality of something or someone. It doesn’t refer to something that someone does or suffers.
I lost weight and my clothes became loose.
That rope is too loose, tighten it.
That’s enough lesson for today. You can check here for extra writers’ tips.
Are there any grammar peeves that you could share with us in the comments? This is a learning space and I love to learn from others. Remember, you can make your writing cleaner by using helpmates like Grammarly. Try it for free.
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