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Reader Interactions

Confused about when to use that vs. Grammar Girl offers a great explanation. Over people did not like your Facebook page — More than people did. Of course, everyone will know what you mean if you use over. But using more than is one of those little details that will help your writing shine. Whenever you modify a noun with more than one word, you need a hyphen. Got it? But you? Click here to learn more about Grammarly, a tool for serious writers. Alexis Grant is an entrepreneurial writer and managing editor of Brazen Careerist's blog, Brazen Life.

grammar | Arrant Pedantry

She's on Twitter at alexisgrant. Thanks, Alexis, for reminding us that better grammar helps to make our content more likely to be shared, by virtue of making it more easily readable. So many things to keep in our heads when writing! Content, marketing message, clarity, SEO, hyperlinks, keywords, and grammar too! I hear you Nigel! Thank you for the great tips — a few of them were new to me. Great advice Alexis. Every writer, blogger, et al would do well to make these their 10 Commandments.

Thank you for writing. My personal favorite is more than vs. Looking forward to reading more of your sage advice. Great post. Looks like I need a copy editor. Perhaps your next post will cover punctuation mistakes. You never want to give readers the opportunity to question your authority or expertise. Personally, I always have to think about using less vs. I want to see how much of a difference it will make. It will make a big difference. Clear, concise writing is easier on your readers.

Good writing comes from careful editing. As a full-time journalist turned full-time freelance writer, the over vs. Now i also think again about grammatical mistakes before posting on my site. Editing is my worst nightmare. I always find more and more that can be improved. Yes, I am big on editing. My rule: Writing needs time to marinate to be good. In other words, write it quickly, edit it as stringently as you can, then let it sit.

10 Grammar Mistakes that Can Keep Your Content from Spreading

Come back to it after a goodly amount of time and then edit it carefully. That rule helps you see it as if for the first time. If the piece is short and its deadline requires it be out in a few hours, write it quickly and then give it an hour or two in-between before editing. If it is longer and you have more time, come back to it in at least three days if you have the time to spare before editing.

Very large pieces like a screenplay may even require a month of marination before coming back to it for its rewrites. Grammatical mistakes and sloppy writing will be glaring and obvious. JMO Follow me; inkdipped. So true. Come to think of it, the use of commas — period! Loved this post. Love this, Alexis! Your post makes it easier to share with others who continually write poorly rather than telling them directly. Thank you, thank you!! I agree—I cringe every time I see a word turned into a possessive when it should be plural and vice versa.

Thanks for the tips! Thank you so much for this post, it was extremely eye-opening. Time to grow! As a new blogger I am probably guilty of all of them. At school I used to find grammar easy and never had to think about it. Now I write a blog post, proof read it a couple of times and correct errors, and hit the publish button. Then I read the published blog post. And immediately notice more errors!

This is so true!!! I always find new errors when I publish. One thing that helps me though, is to preview the blog post on my last edit. Excellent post with substantive tips for making the writing strong, rather than just complaining about the usual errors. Those errors are pervasive, but there are a million blog posts about them.

Grammatically Correct

Great reminder to make the items relate to the lead-in. Another way to strengthen the list is to make sure the structure of the items — especially the first word — is in parallel. If your list items start with verbs, make sure they all do. Pretty simple. Thanks again. I always love the witty humour of these grammar posts.

However, it makes me feel quite nerdy at times. I love grammar rule lists. I always read them, even though at least of them are always a repeat. Thanks for this. This is not a stylistic choice—a person trying to be posh in this way is simply wrong. It depends on the use. Using your examples….


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Do you want to join Steven and I in the lounge? Now I see what you mean. Yes, I do agree that it gets misused way to often. I love English grammar. Thanks so much for this article. I have a quibble with your comma-with-which-as-a-descriptor example, however. Some good points here. However, it is interesting that points 3, 5, 6, and it could be argued 8 are examples of point 4.

Also, point 9 is only partially true and is depends on which style guide you follow. He let us know that in terms of the latest polls, it would be at least two weeks. But in terms of the timeline, we should not expect much in terms of results until they get back to us.

The news conference droned on and on like this. Spoken, it goes almost unnoticed. The mental calisthenics of wading through all the unnecessary words before untangling the meaning is exhausting. Like Jill, the one that really drives me round the bend is the misuse of apostrophes. Language evolves darn it! In 50 years, speaking and writing in what we consider proper English will seem quaint.

LOLCat will become our official language. It drives me crazy and I hear and read these used incorrectly, by journalists and writers, ALLthe time. Thank you! Great reminders, and definitely a few ideas that I had never thought of before. Alexis has edited one of my posts for Brazen Careerist, and as I was reading this I had to open up my submission and see how many of these I was guilty of! Excellent tips, and hopefully this will help your engaged readers produce better content.

Not every sentence deserves a new paragraph, and it makes it quite distracting to try to read it that way, IMO. Great post! Please see the following link. You'll get a sense of how common it is to use nouns in an adjectival way. There are plenty of examples of "noun modifiers" in which the preceding of the two nouns is used as an adjective. Sunglass case, business administration, etc. Not saying grammar mistake is correct. All I'm saying is it's not that simple, if it were, then we'd all be taking "grammatical courses" instead of "grammar courses".

Another relevant post on -ic vs. Damn it. I came here hoping to have my position -- that "grammar mistakes" is the undisputed superior option -- backed up. Instead I get dissent and statistics! My last-ditch attempt to convince myself to use "grammar" instead of "grammatical" was a Google search of the NYTimes, but "grammatical" came out on top there, too. Consider this: when I made an error posting here, did I make an error in grammar, or the error of grammatic abuse? Can you guys tell me what the right way of saying this sentence is: I attended a music lesson.

Please be generous enough to explain how they differ in meaning, if they do. Marius Hancu Member. Welcome, Marc. David, quote:. Gustavo, Contributor Contributor. Such fun! Grammar mistakes are what I correct on my students papers all the time. Were they grammatical mistakes, they would be grammatically correct, but usages that do not mean what the writer intends to say. For example, one of my favorites to correct says something like this: I am convenient to the store.

Are you now? And what does the store enjoy about having you so conveniently located? Or, how about "I am hard to study grammar! These examples are grammatically correct, but are still errors in grammar as they are errors in lexicon - or vocabulary errors! My wife talks about her bed flowers as well her hose garden. She uses the latter to keep the former in bloom! I have yet to draw a picture of a hose garden! A sentence is not grammatical when there are grammar errors, or errors in grammar. The sentence is ungrammatical. But there are no grammatical errors in the sentence unless said errors are grammatically correct!

How about that? Post Manage Topic. I tend to write without using contractions, which I really need to watch. Great stuff! All of us can use a refresher course like this once in a while. As a freelance editor, I can vouch for these. Number 3 was my favorite. I have a question about the contractions though. Years ago when I was in school our English teacher taught us that contractions should never be used in serious writing. That habit is still with me as I write my first book.

My editor is telling me that using them is too personable for a book, but quite OK for blogs and newsletters. What do you think? That sounds like an unreasonably rigid rule to me. That could be just what your readers want. Writing without contractions can sound very formal and stilted. I agree with Sue. I agree with all of the points except for over vs. Insisting on this is nothing but an exercise in pedanticalness. Since you seem ot be a fan of Grammar Girl,. Interesting — Thanks for sharing that link! I agree with all of your items, except one. I would suggest weighing the meaning of any sentence, however, when determining the best word choice when it comes to these two basic synonyms.

This was a great and helpful post, thanks! Another pet peeve I have about people writing lists or bullet points is a lack of parallelism. If you have a list, they should all be the same parts of speech whenever possible or show a similar structure. Great post, since English is not my first language there are some little things I tend to forget or possibly never knew about to begin with. Nice tips. But I think the title is not fully descriptive of the content. A lot of the items are not necessarily a fault in grammar but of style and usage, I would say. A matter of making your article pleasurable to read or a pain in the neck.

I think those do actually introduce confusion, rather than just being differences of style. Hi Alex! Excellent post and I agree with on the point to use simple and short sentences, this will create a great authority with in you readers because they can easily understand your words and message and than they could react as apropriate.

Like some of the other commentators, I work in a multi-lingual environment with English as the source language, and I think most of these tips can be transferred to other languages as well. The cleaner the source, the better the target copy, I think. I already do all this stuff! Good advice. My pet peeves include some of yours, as well as the overuse of exclamation points.

A crutch for lazy writers. Could we remove that key from all computers? In the words for F. Scott Fitzgerald. Have you ever read the comments on Facebook, YouTube, etc.? Most adults can barely spell let alone have proper grammar. No, dangling participles are worse than ever. I like these and agree with them, although in my books and classes I do tell people to avoid contractions in formal writing.

click here Great advice. Seriously great post. Good on you, Copyblogger. Carry that torch. I have never heard it used appropriately. Thanks also for writing about this. Just some of those little nuances that can make a big difference. Dave, I was born in the UK my father was a journalist and we traveled a lot. However, nearly all British readers and writers are quite amenable to contractions and abbreviations of all kinds they call: cigarettes, cigs; university, uni; football, the footie; etc.

In more conversational situations, only the stuffed shirts of the old guard academia would prefer icy phrasing to the warmth of familiar words. Thanks for the clarification. This will definitely help me to improve my writing skills. I have a question for the author, Alexis. First of all, I really enjoyed reading your article and thought that you included some great points. These writing tips will surely add value to my own blogging experience.

My only concern is point 5 regarding the use of contractions. My personal experience reflects that for contexts like academia, professional discourse and technical subjects, contractions are not appropriate. For blogging, if I am trying to communicate credibility and expertise, I would use my contractions very sparingly in order to keep it formal. I feel better now. Number one on your list is my 1 pet peeve. I see that one all the time and I cringe. This is very useful, thank you!

And O have to invest additional time to ensure my blog post is free of grammar mistakes.

Learn English Grammar: The Sentence

I love this post! Am always interested in writing better, more effectively. Thanks for the reminder. These words are not interchangeable!


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  8. As in, there were less people there than last time. Only a couple of the things you mention are actual grammatical errors. The rest may constitute unimaginative copywriting but are perfectly acceptable in British and American English. They eventually changed it presumably by re-writing it with the correct punctuation and getting another actor to read the script to say …enjoy life-like sound.

    I always get a kick out of reading these types of articles. Second, I learn a thing or two. I am in no way a professional writer, but I have my pet peeves. One of my pet peeves is so commonly seen that I gave up hope. You did not mention it, but you correctly used it throughout the article. Am I wrong? It is meaningless. It can refer to 1, or 25, or 1,,, or any other random number.

    Your Answer

    I am a bit of a grammatical nerd when it comes to posts and bad grammar will usually make me click on to the next post pretty quickly. I agree. Since the only part of the sentence that describes which house it is is the last half, I think it should be treated as restrictive. Also, if the sentence was meant to refer to a single house, off by itself, then I guess the non-restrictive clause could work. I agree with Kim and Claire. The clause is definitely restrictive. The clause tells which house. Otherwise, well done! Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to primary sidebar.

    Grammatical glitches make your writing harder to read, and they turn readers off. And by brilliant, I mean clean. Using that when you should use who Whenever you write about people, refer to them using who , not that. Including the word currently in your bio The word currently is virtually always redundant. Just get rid of it. There are lots of better, more interesting ways to start sentences. See how easy it is to make this mistake? Adding a comma after that When used as a descriptor, the word which takes a comma.

    Using over rather than more than Over people did not like your Facebook page — More than people did. Forgetting to hyphenate modifiers Whenever you modify a noun with more than one word, you need a hyphen.