Common Mistakes We Need To Correct

Grammar Matters, Common Mistakes, Error Free Writing, Writers Tools, Writing helpmate, Professional Writing, Editing Writing, Making Right Sentences

Grammar Matters

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.

For example:

You have forgotten your purse

Story Planner will help you plan your novel

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.

For example:

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.

For example:

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.

For example:

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.

For example:

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.

For example:

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.

For example:

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.

For example:

I pay my premium monthly to insure my car.

Ensure is to make sure that something will be the case/happen.

For example:

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

For example:

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.

For example:

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.

For example:

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.

For example:

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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These Are The Reasons No One Reads Your Blog. 11 Little Tips To Change Things.

Blog Audience, Improve Blog, Writer, Blog Tips, Copy-writing, Branding, Social Media, Site Speed, Promotion, Grammarly, WPEngine, NameCheap

 Reasons why no one reads your post


As a writer cum blogger, we all know how much effort and time it takes to craft your words, curate your images, tag, categorize, primp, polish and publish courageously, only for you to sit back satisfied, twiddling your thumbs anticipating a deluge of comments from expected readers, but, gasp and with a lump in your throat, no one hits that like button or even leaves a smiley face behind. It could dampen anyone’s enthusiasm.

The situation is tougher when you are just starting out with your blogging or writing passion and you need that validation that comes from others – of course, your few good buddies and mom would probably support you, woe betide them if they don’t, but we all do need that extra validation because we are social beings, so spare yourself the rhetoric of ‘I’m writing for myself,’ and let’s get to the cause.

  • Your Entitlement Thinking

Yes, you heard me right. We all have our egos’ and at the back of a writer/blogger’s mind is the belief that our awesome, compelling writing is the next best thing after chocolate, coffee, and cakes – yet no one is reading this awesome writing even after you’ve done all the things that you think are right.

We simply fail to remember that everyone else is busy getting on with their awesome writing and no one owes us an iota of that attention which we feel entitled to.

We must always realize that their time which they give to us is a privilege and when we get rid of our entitlement mindsets, we are less burdened with thoughts of expectations that don’t belong to us and we free our minds to greater possibilities which include getting more creative and leaving our glorified pedestals behind while we engage with others and build a community around us.

One book that I am glad I read and still refer to often is ‘How Successful People Think: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life from non-other than the leadership expert John C. Maxwell.

Tenets grasped from this book has helped me immeasurably.

  • The idea that since you built a blog, they will come

You just set up your brand new blog and you think it’s a soccer pitch where fans gather in their thousands. Well, breaking news, blogging is a different game. It’s a butt flattening, finger tapping, elbow greasing, mentally demanding exercise and the rules are different. Your new blog is not going to start gaining loads of visitors overnight or even in several nights.

You’ve got to create enough content which would open inroads to your blog through search engines. Your content is your invitation to treat. You’ve got to build credibility as a reliable source of information as well as building your audience, so whoever told you that blogging or writing is an easy road to quick pickings is lying to you, however, if you stick to it, it would be worth its while at the end.

Perfect domains are here

  • Your site is not useful

Many take up blogging for various reasons, but I have commonly heard/read others say that their purpose for starting a blog is to work on their writing, promote their published work, showcase their talent etc. At the bottom of this list of purpose’s is the forgotten reader who would form part of your target audience should he/she find something that retains their attention.

There are millions of talented writers/bloggers and other creative people out there in today’s frenetic pop culture world, and the only way to carve a niche is to stand out. Be useful to your audience so that they become your repeat customers.

Give out tutorials, free tips, worksheets,  e-books, even services etc. Promote others. People appreciate those who promote and help them to grow.

Make your posts count in some way. Whilst crafting your post, bear two things in mind:

The purpose of your post and what a reader takes away from it.

Of course, there are blogs that exist for the mere pleasure of writing personal journal’s, but my underlining question is ‘what is the long-term goal for your blogging ambition?’

Remember that by the time that you’ve honed your skills and published a book or two, the audience that you built would probably be your first customers and help to generate some growth for your blog.

  • You are inconsistent

Are your posts inconsistent and sporadic that no one is able to figure out when next they will read from you? Even when you do attract an audience and after a while, you are not posting regular engaging articles, they will lose interest and move on. This is a highly fluid and competitive existence, sadly.

Your frequency and consistency count. No, you don’t have to publish a thousand posts every day, besides, no one has time for all that, but consistency counts even if it’s one post per week. Create a schedule and keep to it.

  • Your writing sucks 

The quality of your post highly depends on the quality of your writing. An article that lacks clarity and filled with grammatical errors is tiresome to read. Sentiments aside, tackle grammar and spelling issues by using writing aids such as Grammarly and proofread your work before publishing. No one is above making mistakes even if you are a solid 5-star writer.

Blog Audience, Improve Blog, Writer, Blog Tips, Copy-writing, Branding, Social Media, Site Speed, Promotion, Grammarly, WPEngine, NameCheap

  • Your blog is not optimized for social sharing or comments

Many times I’ve come across posts that I would like to comment on or leave a footprint to show that I visited, only to find that there are no buttons or that the buttons don’t work.

It’s imperative to add your social network buttons or a comment bar to your posts to enable your readers’ to share your content as well. This would help you to gain a new audience that you may not have been able to connect to on your own.

You should also note that publishing a post that’s been automated to share on social platforms is not enough. Publishing a post is not an end itself. You have to interact with your readers where they are and this might mean scheduling time to read other people’s’ articles, create conversation, share their work as often as you can.

Social media is a huge opportunity to grow your blog. Use it optimally.

  • Your site lacks focus and is poorly branded

Your interest is diverse and you want to write a bit about everything, which is not a bad thing in itself. I equally have an eclectic taste in reading and writing and a bag full of opinion to go with it, in fact, I’ve gotten into an argument over this topic before – I was on the side of writing whatever pleases me on my blog as against having a blog with a narrow focus that boxes you in.

However, your divergent interests and ideas may not work together on one site which is what led me to set up this blog where I could talk about specifics of – blogging, writing, photography, speaking…while my other blog is for poetry, fiction, life lessons…

The truth is that when a blog is narrowed down to certain specifics, it’s easier to keep the attention of a focused audience who already have an idea of what they want to read.

What reference points do you want your site identified with? That answer is the key to your question of what you should focus on.

Finally, if your site is one hot mess of a place, cluttered without direction, it’s visually unappealing and appears unserious. Take a bit of time to streamline your site, clean it up and keep it professional.




11 Little Tips That Make a World of Difference

  1. Rebrand your site – if need be – there is always room for improvement.
  2. Imitation is a key to success. Yes, I said it. Find out what others are doing to grow their niche and imitate them by tailoring your steps.
  3. Get your writing out there. Collaborate with others, guest post, join challenges, try videos, vlogging, podcasting advertise if need be, just keep trying.
  4. Look back at your posts that tanked. Figure out why they did so and avoid repeating the same mistakes.
  5. Use engaging photos. The world we live in is highly visual driven and this equally applies to online engagements. People like to look at interesting imagery. Avoid tagging on tacky looking photos and consider taking or creating your own pictures to avoid copyright issues.
  6. Increase your font. Some use fonts others have to squint to read. No one wants to get cross-eyed trying to read an article that is probably not that interesting. Give your words more clarity and check your errors.
  7. Promote others, you promote yourself. This is not rocket science. Find time to consistently promote others in your niche and they will stick with you.
  8. Try to make your posts useful.
  9. Make your content witty, add a bit of humanness to it, share anecdotes of your experience. People connect to some emotional engagement.
  10. Ask for feedbacks at the bottom of your post from your readers. You could even use a poll to find out what they would like you to blog about.
  11. Check your site speed. Nobody likes a slow blog and if your blog loads too slowly, chances are the reader would lose interest and move on. For WordPress.com bloggers this might be less of an issue, but for self-hosted .org sites, your loading speed counts. A fast blog is achieved by using fast servers. You can test your website with the WP Engine WordPress Speed Test. and analyze why your site loads slowly.

I hope that you find this article useful and would certainly love to hear from you about your blogging experience.

Here are other quick tips for your blog. Do something nice today, we would appreciate if you share this post. Thank you 🙂

WordPress Speed Test

 

Catch Those Grammar Gremlins and Squiggly Spelling Errors

 Grammar, Grammar Mistakes, Spelling Errors, Grammarly, Write Better, Proof Read Writing, Professional Writing, Writers

Nip Writing Mistakes In The Bud

Would you be able to count how many times you’ve crafted a perfect article, published it, only to read it a few days later and gasp @$#@@, lo and behold, there it is eyeing you in a malevolent way – a Wrong Spelling, a Grammatical Error, all inserted by those hideous trolls? Quelle Horreur!

Now the ever-loving Grammar Police will be after you with vengeance. Yep! There are those who make it their business to catch spelling and grammar defaulters and you’ll be banished to the spelling room with a Nanny McPhee nightmare of a teacher. Beware!

Have I got your attention yet?

The truth is that as writers, once we are in the zone scribbling and tapping away, our eyes’ become blind to our errors even when we’ve read them over and over. It’s strange how these errors blend in, even when you cultivate a habit of leaving the article and going over it several days later with a fresh eye. The impression is that since you already know what you wrote, the tendency is to skim through your work.

Given that there will be lots of times you need to publish on the go, you may not have all the time in the world to keep the work aside and to get back to it day’s later, therefore, it’s absolutely important to find a system that works.

Believe me, if I got paid for all the little hidden typographical, grammatical, punctuation and the list of all the writing errors imaginable, I would be laughing to the bank and possibly ensuring that I made enough errors each day to earn me some dollars.

Alas! The reverse is the case and no one gets paid for making mistakes. As a matter of fact, a post that’s ridden with errors is simply off-putting and no matter how thick your writing armored plate is, you still tend to feel a bit embarrassed when a righteous grammar Nazi points out your little mistake with glee.

Ever since I started using Grammarly to proofread my posts before publishing, it has saved me time and reduced my stress. The advantages of using Grammarly are several. It’s not just the basic run-of-the-mill tool for grammar and spelling checks, I love how it helps my writing with its context and gives it better clarity.

With my tongue in my cheek, I must say there are times I get mad at Grammarly for making suggestions to changes in my writing, but the fact remains that it’s a simple to use, effective tool that comes highly recommended in my opinion. What are you waiting for? You can thank me later and share your experience.

You can check here for essential writers tips.

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