Have you ever read content on a website and wondered, ‘The information is fine but the number of grammatical errors is making this piece really really really weak’?
Grammatical errors can make any write-up hard to read and understand in addition to reducing the credibility of the website where you read the content.
Undeniably, content is king and your first priority should continue to be to share relevant information on your website. However, the way you present the information matters – a lot. You can gain credibility and respect if the content you share contains relevant information and is error-free.
When writing is clean, your readers understand your ideas better and there are fewer chances of miscommunication. Even small mistakes in placing punctuation marks in the content can completely alter the meaning. Yet, humans can make mistakes – sometimes due to a lack of knowledge or a shortage of time. And since English is not the native language of a large part of the world’s population, non-native English writers will continue to have difficulty with rules of grammar and usage of words, phrases, etc.
These mistakes are completely avoidable if you understand the subtle nuances of the English language. Don’t worry, we are here to help. Though we are certainly not experts (in fact, this post may be riddled with awkward sentences and bad structure for all we know), here are a few common errors writers make which can be easily avoided:
Mistake 1: Using ‘That’ Instead of ‘Who’.
Whenever you mention or write about people, always use ‘who’ and not ‘that’. Since ‘that’ has become acceptable in daily conversations, many people tend to make this mistake. However, it is noticeable when it is written down.
Mistake 2: Starting a Sentence With ‘There are’ or ‘There is’.
This is not a grammatical error per se but a sign of sluggish writing. There are so many better ways to start a sentence. Oops!!! See how easy it is to make this mistake? Instead of using ‘there is’ or ‘there are’, you can rewrite the sentence to start it in an interesting way so that your writing sounds crisp.
Mistake 3: Getting Into the ‘ing’ Trap
‘She was skiing toward’ or ‘We were starting to’ are a couple of examples of how writers make these mistakes. Whenever you see any ‘ing’ in your copy, think again about whether you really need it. Instead, get rid of ‘was’ and ‘were’, eliminate ‘ing’ and replace it with the past tense. Understand with the following: ‘she skied toward’ or ‘we started to’. Pruning ‘ing’ makes the content written by you easier to read and understand.
One reason this problem exists is because we convert English directly from our vernacular and the Mother Tongue Influence (MTI) can cause many a slip between the lip and the ink.
Mistake 4: Adding a ‘Comma’ After ‘That’
When used as a descriptor, the word ‘which’ takes a comma. But, the word ‘that’ does not. For instance, ‘We went to the building that collapsed yesterday’ or ‘We went to the building, which collapsed yesterday’. You can also read out more about this in a grammar book or online to understand the subtle difference.
Also, just for your reference in case you think we are the pundits, this rule primarily applies to US English. The Brits continue to write like us if the web is to be believed.
Mistake 5: Using ‘Over’ Instead of ‘More Than’
Over 100 people did not follow you on Instagram – more than 100 people did. Of course, your readers might understand what you want to say if you use ‘over’, the sentence becomes grammatically incorrect. Adding ‘more than’ is more apt in this context.
English, just like many other languages, has its own specific set of intricacies and tricky rules. Brush up your grammar to ensure that the content you share presents your ideas clearly. With regular practice, help and guidance, it is easy to overcome all these issues easily.
This makes us come to another rule: Rule 6. Don’t end sentences with an adverb (e.g. ‘easily’ in the above sentence).
This post originally appeared on our earlier website: ihusresearch.com