How many blog posts have you read that preach the importance of quality content? If you don’t write quality content, your readers will vanish into thin air; your blog will fail; blah, blah, blah.
But what is quality content? That seems like an ambiguous statement. Quality content is unique, interesting, relevant, typo-free and grammatically correct.
Any type of error – grammar, punctuation, spelling, typo, etc. – will distract blog readers from what you have to say. There is a good chance they won’t be willing to retrace their steps and get on the same page as you. If you commit too many mistakes or blunders, readers are likely to leave – and never come back.
Most word processors automatically detect faulty grammar and spelling. However, like any other technological tool, there is a high probability of error. Plus, even if there were a giant arrow pointing to your mistakes, you would still need to know how to fix it.
Here is a little English refresher course. Take a moment to learn about the most common writing errors and how to avoid them.
Homophones, homographs, homonyms…it’s no wonder people (which includes bloggers or blog writers) struggle to master the English language. While the language may sometimes be difficult to understand, there is no reason why you can’t overcome even the most basic blunders.
The Difference Between Lie and Lay
Lie: to rest in a horizontal or flat position
Lay: to put or place in a horizontal position
“I’m sorry you aren’t feeling well. Please lie down and rest. I am going to lay an extra blanket here on the sofa in case you get cold.”
The Difference Between They’re, There, and Their
They’re: a contraction of they are
There: in or at that place (opposed to here), refers to location
Their: a possessive form of they
“They’re running late. They won’t be there until 9:00pm. Their car wouldn’t start.”
The Difference Between Than and Then
Than: used in unequal comparisons
Then: at that time, next in order
“Now, Jane is taller than Sue. A few years ago, it was the opposite; back then, Sue was taller.”
The Difference Between You’re and Your
You’re: a contraction of you are
Your: a possessive form of you
“You’re going to eat four bananas? Is that all you brought for your lunch?”
The Difference Between Accept and Except
Accept: to take or receive something offered, to agree or consent, to admit, to regard as true
Except: to exclude, make an exception
“Please accept our job offer. I know everyone will be excited if you choose to work here – except the other applicants who weren’t hired!”
The Difference Between Affect and Effect
Affect: to produce a change, to influence
Effect: a result
“Money affects us all differently. He won the lottery and the effect was instantaneous – he quit his job the next day!”
The Difference Between Lose and Loose
Lose: to suffer the deprivation of, to fail to keep
Loose: free from anything that binds or restrains, not bound together, opposite of tight
“I hope he doesn’t lose his shoe on the playground. His shoelaces are loose.”
The Difference Between Anyway and Any Way
Anyway: in any case, anyhow, nonetheless, regardless
Any Way: any particular course, direction, or manner
“Jane didn’t get a great score on the ACT, but she is going to apply to college anyway. Her mom says she will help with the application process any way she can.”
[Note: Anyways isn’t a word. It is a colloquial corruption of anyway. Anyway is an adverb and adverbs can’t be plural.]
Other Things You Must Know
Hopefully, you aren’t too overwhelmed, because there are a few more things you should know. George Orwell was an English novelist and journalist. He shared five rules that every writer (or blog writer) should always abide by:
Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you regularly see in print.
Never use a long word where a short one can do the job.
If it’s possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
Never use the passive form where you can use the active.
Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if there’s an everyday English equivalent for it.
Always spell out numbers under 10, like nine and two. There is an exception to the rule. When you write an age, you can use numerals (for example, a 7-year old girl).
The Chicago Manual of Style, the AP Stylebook and the Modern Language Association all agree: one space after a period is sufficient. There is no longer a need for two spaces.
No one is perfect. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to avoid any and all grammar, writing, spelling, and punctuation errors. However, it is expected you do all you can to avoid such blunders. Therefore, it is helpful to have a support system.
DailyWritingTips is a wonderful website. If you want to know it, they have covered it. If you are in doubt, consult their archives.
If you need help with grammar issues, consult Quick and Dirty Grammar Tips. They also have an abundance of information to help your writing. If all else fails, try Grammarly; they will find any undetected grammar errors in your writing.
Also, you might want to consider installing a Dictionary App from Google Chrome.
If your blog writing has been sub-par, have no fear. You can improve. All it takes is a little studying, practice, and a willingness to learn.
Do you have a grammar or writing pet peeve we left off the list? Help us out! Set us straight!