The Grammar Police

Avoid Common Mistakes in Your Writing

I’m the first to admit that I am no expert in the English language and its absolute proper usage. However, there are many common errors that I work hard to avoid in my own writing.

While reading blogs, social media posts and other online forums, I have stumbled across the misuse of commonly used words. Sometimes we’re just in a hurry online, and that’s okay. But when you are writing novels, short stories and articles, you should be sure to use the proper word in your work. Doing so demonstrates to the reader that you are professional and that you take the time to ensure your writing is the best it can be.

Here’s a quick grammar refresher of commonly misused words. I have included examples for proper use.

There– Please go sit over there. There are no more apples. There are many to choose from.
Their– The children forgot their jackets. My friends left for vacation with their parents. Do you know where their notebooks are?
They’re– (They are)- They’re on the kitchen table. They’re not the best I’ve ever seen.

Your– Your laundry is clean. Did you clean out your car? How are your children?
You’re– (You are)- You’re very welcome. You’re looking beautiful today. You’re serious?
You’ve– (You have)- You’ve got to do something about that. You’ve never seen that before?

Where– Where are you going? Do you know where I put my keys? I don’t know where.
Were– Were you planning on finishing that? Were you with your boyfriend today? Where were you?
We’re– (We are)- We’re leaving for the beach now. We’re not seeing eye to eye. We’re not done.

Bear– I can hardly bear to see you cry. How much weight can you possibly bear? He bears a likeness to his brother. I like your teddy bear.
Bare(ly)– The room was completely bare. It was the bare minimum. I can barely remember a time when people did not have computers. She had barely enough time to make it to the appointment.

Weather– The weather is sunny today. What type of weather are you having?
Whether– Whether or not you believe it, I am telling the truth. Do you know whether or not he is coming?

Are– Are you leaving first thing in the morning? Are you sure? The holiday decorations are up.
Our– I don’t think our lives will ever be the same. Our relatives are visiting tomorrow.

Than– This color is different than that color. There is nothing more disgusting than that.
Then– What will I do then? Then you must do it. Where will you be then?

Hear– Can you hear what I am saying to you? I hear beautiful music.
Here– Here are some of your clothes. You can take classes here at the community center.

Even editors may not notice the misuse of one of these common words. Double and triple check to minimize their occurrence. Your readers will appreciate it.

A great guide for best writing practices is the classic The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. If you don’t have this little gem, I definitely recommend that you add it to your resource bookshelf.

Like this? Share it with your writer friends. They’ll think YOU’RE awesome!


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