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by Kempton Smith In reviewing and browsing web sites over the years, I have compiled a list of the most common English grammar mistakes by web authors. Here they are in Letterman (reverse) order. 10. Who, which or that? "Who" (or "whom") refers to persons. "Which" refers to animals or things, never to persons. "That" can refer to either persons or things. Examples of correct usage: The girl who was hungry. The dog which bit the mailman. The bus that goes to the station. 9. Anyone vs any one "Anyone" means "any person," not necessarily a specific person. It could refer to multiple people simultaneously. As two words, "any one" refers to a single person. Examples: Anyone can download my software. But a single-user software license can only be used by any one user at a time. 8. Commonly misspelled words All right Dependable Independent Recommend Responsible Separate 7. Don't put punctuation at the end of a URL While not technically an English grammatical error, don't put a period or anything immediately after a URL reference. Doing so will usually invalidate the URL. You might call this an internet grammatical rule. Place the punctuation after the closing tag of the link. Example: My URL is http://www.kemptonsmith.com. 6. Software not softwares
A car with 450 horsepower is clearly more powerful than one with only 200 horsepower. Examples: He asked.. and usually refers to how effectively something is performed. 2. "Yes. then say so. "Yes"? 4. then say so. Put quotes before a colon." Did she say." 5. This is a US English standard. "Sight" refers to your sense of vision." Examples: There are nine planets in the solar system.. easy-touse. . It can also be used as an expletive or empty word to start a sentence. British English usage can differ. as in muscular. Never use "softwares. "Are you hungry?" She replied. There. If your software does only one thing. Site or sight A "site" is a location or place. Put quotes after a question mark unless the entire sentence is a question. . ." I searched download. their. Overuse of Powerful Too many developers describe their software as. It can specify a place." "They're" is short for "they are."Software" can be singular or plural.com and found 2149 descriptions or titles of software containing the word "powerful. Examples: A web site is a place on the internet that you visit with your browser. not to a web site. "Their" is used as a possessive form of "they. 3. But please. The two boys raced their bikes. Do the quotes go after or before the period? Put quotation marks after a period or comma." Powerful has several meanings. no more powerful software. "XXX Software is powerful. or they're "There" is used in two ways. but it does it completely or thoroughly (like CounterSpy). They're both tired after riding so far. But what is powerful software? If you mean feature-rich (like Adobe Photoshop).
It is also difficult for many English-speaking authors. and buying from you will be out of the question. Its or It's The possessive form of "it" is "its.A beautiful sunset is a marvelous sight. the most common English blunder by web authors is: 1. A free online version of this book is available here. Conclusion: English is very difficult for persons whose native language is not English. Jr." Never use "its'. The Elements of Style." Use "it's" only when it means "it is. White. so you have to manually check your writing for them." Unless you can replace "it's" with "it is. or make liberal use of the ellipsis when an EM dash is the correct choice—all in order to write in the way people actually speak. The dog wagged its tail. finally." Examples: It's raining today. An excellent reference is the short and timeless book. the truth is some people will not subscribe or link to your blog if you make dumb mistakes when you write. and E." use "its. Here are five mistakes to avoid when blogging and writing web copy. by William Strunk. Web authors can use this article to recognize and correct some of the most common English grammar mistakes that abound on the internet.B. ." not "it's. While we all hope what we have to say is more important than some silly grammatical error. Unfortunately. dangle a modifier in a purely technical sense. and that means it’s fine to fracture the occasional rule of proper grammar in order to communicate effectively. Both bloggers and copywriters routinely end sentences with prepositions. And. most of these common grammatical errors will not be caught by a spell checker. == Five Grammatical Errors that Make You Look Dumb by Brian Clark · 735 Comments One thing blogging and good copywriting share is a conversational style. But there are other mistakes that can detract from your credibility.
Check out these two examples from Tom Sant’s book Persuasive Business ProposalsFPRIVATE "TYPE=PICT. If that sounds goofy. as in “your car” or “your blog. 4. as in “their bags” or “their opinions. Their This one seems to trip up everyone occasionally.ALT=" : . “its” is likely the correct choice. “their” will get you there.” Here’s an easy rule of thumb—repeat your sentence out loud using “it is” instead.1.” By thinking in terms of “the effect. Not only will this error damage the flow of your writing. You’re This one drives me insane. as in “Your ability to communicate clearly will affect your income immensely. as in “this blog has lost its mojo. All it takes to avoid this error is to take a second and think about what you’re trying to say.” “Effect” is a noun. The Dangling Participle The dangling participle may be the most egregious of the most common writing mistakes. 3. “There” is used many ways. Your vs. because you can’t stick a “the” in front of a verb. and it’s become extremely common among bloggers. It’s vs.” “You’re” is a contraction for “you are. and you should therefore ignore them if you want to write like a human. as in “The effect of a parent’s low income on a child’s future is well documented. Make sure to watch for it when you proofread.” 2. Effect To this day I have to pause and mentally sort this one out in order to get it right. 5.” as in “you’re screwing up your writing by using your when you really mean you are. including as a reference to a place (“let’s go there”) or as a pronoun (“there is no hope”).” “Its” is a possessive pronoun. It’s also easily avoided by thinking through what you’re trying to say. “It’s” is a contraction of “it is” or “it has. it’s taking that moment to get it right that makes the difference. “Their” is a plural possessive pronoun.” Always do the “that’s ours!” test—are you talking about more than one person and something that they possess? If so. While some people do use “effect” as a verb (“a strategy to effect a settlement”). There vs. it can also make it impossible for someone to understand what you’re trying to say. Affect vs. As with any of the other common mistakes people make when writing. “Your” is a possessive pronoun.” you can usually sort out which is which. “Affect” is a verb. Its This is another common mistake. they are usually lawyers. often as a pure typo.
S. but if I need to know the technical reason why it was wrong in the first place. my brother brought up some oranges. If it doesn’t. like David Ogilvy. You may find it amusing to know that I. P. The problem with both of the above is that the participial phrase that begins the sentence is not intended to modify what follows next in the sentence. I go ask my wife. so your opening phrase should always modify what immediately follows. as well as your readers.After rotting in the cellar for weeks. I learned to write by reading obsessively at an early age. you’ve left the participle dangling. Uhh… keep your decomposing brother away from me! Featuring plug-in circuit boards. . readers mentally expect it to work that way. However. have never learned the formal rules of grammar. but when it came time to learn the “rules. Makes sense. we can strongly endorse this server’s flexibility and growth potential. If you show me an incorrect sentence. Hmmm… robotic copy written by people embedded with circuit boards.” I tuned out. I can fix it.
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