OK, English is tough. There are so many rules and exceptions that it’s not easy to keep things straight. I’m fortunate to have grown up in an English speaking country, so I’ve never had to learn English as a second language.
Back in school, we had to learn all the rules and, to be honest, it was really boring back then. Now, that I’ve done more writing, I’m finding myself circling back to these rules again… which is interesting. I don’t have them all down but I’m learning.
The problem is, once you learn the correct way, you see things not the right way everywhere – to the point where it’s sometimes hard to look at.
So here’s a list of things I’ve found. I also have this post on another website I write for (and own) to help ESL (English as a second language) and, more specifically, Indians understand writing English a bit better:
American English for Indian Speakers (TheOriginalSource.com)
That post will even help people who speak English as a first language and some of those items may be duplicated here.
If you’re going to start writing blog posts or posting articles, these are some common mistakes and you should learn these to make sure your writing looks good and credible.
On to the list of the words people write the wrong way (bookmark this page as I’ll keep adding to it)…
It’s “Etc”. and NEVER “Ect.”
Look at the ordering of the Latin, “et cetera” does a “c” appear before a “t” there? Nope. The first three letters are “etc” so maybe people don’t know their Latin here… not sure.
Its vs. It’s
- Instead of: “Look at it’s head.” (this actually means “Look at it is head.”)
- Write: “Look at its head.”
“It’s” always means “it is” or “it has” but hardly anyone uses it like “it has” – and it NEVER, EVER shows possession.
Abbreviations – periods
Which of these is correct?
Why do people forget the last period all the time? It’s just sloppy.
Lets vs. Let’s
- Instead of: “Lets go with option 2.”
- Write: “Let’s go with option 2.”
This is because “let’s” means “let us” and “lets” is a verb like “He lets the dog out in the morning.”
Setup vs. Set Up
- Setup is a noun: “Let’s modify the setup and see if that fixes it.”
- Set up is a verb: “Let’s set up that device correctly.”
You can’t really use a noun for a verb, so this isn’t right: “Let’s setup that device correctly.”
Anyway vs. Any Way
- Instead of: “Is there anyway to…”
- Write: “Is there any way to…”
Think of how you would say this and it’ll make sense… “Anyway, I wasn’t sure so we turned around.”
Oops vs. Opps
It’s “oops” – what else can I say really?
Why do I see “opps” so much? Watch for it – you’ll see it. It’s not a word, and… kind of funny that people are trying to say “oops” as they are correcting a mistake but, oops, they get that wrong, too.
Make sure you know them:
Capitalization Rules (grammarly.com)
I see “Seo” in emails a lot. That’s not a word. If you’re trying to give me an abbreviation for search engine optimization, that’s “SEO”.
When I See Random words capitalized in the Middle of sentences, that makes me Think the person isn’t Educated or they’re from a foreign Country and don’t understand capitalization rules (yes, I capitalized way too many words in that sentence).
The rule isn’t to just capitalize words that are important or words you think are important. That’s not how it works. Yes, proper nouns are a little complicated, but look up those rules. You probably need to capitalize fewer words than you think.
Words that don’t require capitalization but often are mistakenly capitalized:
- happy birthday
I’ll add more as I see them.
Ads vs. Adds
If you’re talking about an advertisement, it’s “ads” and never “adds.” The word “adds” is for like saying, “He adds years to his life with every good deed.” or something like that.
Conclusion and More Resources
If you don’t look over what you write before posting it, you’re going to keep posting these things, over and over. Look things over well, question what you wrote (“is that right?”) and you’ll start seeing these common writing mistakes.
Does it matter? Kind of. A comma in the wrong place can totally change meaning. Also, do you want people to struggle to read your writing with lots of mistakes or make it easy for them to understand? For me, unfortunately, these mistakes stick out and completely distract me from the message. It’s a curse. 🙂
Do You Make These 7 Mistakes When You Write? (copyblogger.com)