Mistakes which make a mockery of your writing

I use Grammarly for English proofreading because my readers deserve something better than merely the first torrential outpouring from my mind and fingertips each time.

typist

Do you have a point to get across? Are you considering writing about it in your next blog post, or perhaps within a feature for a magazine or other publication?  Then you will want to make sure you convey your message accurately, making maximum impact with your readers.

We all make silly mistakes in our writing: typos, the occasional misspelled word or grammatical errors. In fact, now I am writing about this subject, you will be able to find several mistakes in this post too. The irony.

funny sign mistakes

I’m not trying to make you feel scared about getting your point across on screen, or in print. Freedom of expression is important for the natural flow that all writers experience, permitting the creativity to surge through unhindered by trivial worries. However, once you have splashed your ideas all over your Word document or draft post, it’s time for a tidy up session before hitting that all-important ‘Publish’ button.

I have a major problem with people who rely on spell-check to proof and edit their work for them. Spell-check will merely check if your words are all spelled correctly. That’s ALL. It will not correct the wrong words in the wrong place, nor will it tell you if you have missed a word or two out of a sentence, rendering it incomprehensible.

Common mistakes

The errors I spot in blog posts and articles which are most commonly missed are:

Your/you’re/yore

There/they’re/their

Discrete/discreet

There are many others, but these examples seem to crop up time and time again. The amount of adult industry websites which favour the spelling ‘discrete’ over ‘discreet’ is, quite frankly, shocking.

Here are the definitions, see what you think:

Discrete

Definition: individually separate and distinct.

Example: “Speech sounds are produced as a continuous sound signal rather than discrete units.”

Synonyms: separate, distinct, individual, detached, unattached, disconnected, discontinuous, disjunct, disjoined.

Discreet

Definition: careful and prudent in one’s speech or actions, especially in order to keep something confidential or to avoid embarrassment.

Example: “We made some discreet inquiries.”

Synonyms: careful, circumspect, cautious, wary, chary, guarded, close-lipped, close-mouthed.

If you leave your blog post, article or even that piece of copy on your website littered with errors, the impact of the writing is lessened remarkably. Mistakes distract the reader from your message and can even cause them to question your knowledge about the given subject. If the error-filled copy is on a professional or e-commerce website, it makes the company look amateur and gives the distinct impression that here is a business which does not pay attention to detail.

Make sure you read your writing before publishing your post. I mean really read it, each word; don’t just quickly skim over it. I must confess that I am guilty of many a quick skim over my posts before pressing publish, only to suffer the embarrassment when mistakes are pointed out by readers in the comments or on social media. This is an issue I am continually working on – not just writing content which I feel is relevant to my site and suited to my readers interests as well as my own, but also giving enough time and attention to the editing process.

I like to think I have a good grasp of the English language and that I can write interesting blog posts and articles which accurately and articulately convey my points across to readers. At the same time, I know that I break many established rules and use colloquialisms and contractions regularly as a personal style choice. It’s one thing to break the rules, it’s another to have no knowledge of them at all. That’s where writing tools such as Grammarly can help. I have been given a 30 day trial of a premium Grammarly account and just used it to check through this article. It found mistakes relating to the use of the passive voice, contractions and other errors that I hadn’t spotted despite being extra careful. Just goes to show, really!

There is a risk of sacrificing your personal style in favour of being completely grammatically correct, of course. You still need to write with your own ‘voice’; just make sure you are writing to the best of your ability. Loose typing doesn’t cost lives, but it can be highly detrimental to the impact of your personal message to the world.

I'm blogging this

– Cara Sutra

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