Sunday, April 6, 2014

Ten Grammar Errors Everyone Needs to Fix

Authors, writers, job applicants please pay attention!

I was reading a fascinating marketing article recently. Well fascinating to an editor, anyway.

Here is a direct quote from the opening paragraph of the article. “I may be a stickler, but if I get a cover letter or resume from an applicant for any kind of job, and I find a typo or one of the 10 big grammar errors you’ll see below, it all goes into the trash. Those kinds of mistakes tell me that the applicant didn’t put enough time and energy into that resume or cover letter to get it right, so they’re not likely to meet my company’s (and my personal) standards for attention to detail overall.”

Yes, people do need grammar nazis in their lives if they want to succeed in landing their dream job. So here are their top ten No-Nos. If they look rather familiar, it’s because I’ve told you about all of them before. But no need to listen to me, just listen to the person handing out the jobs.

The same is true for authors wanting to sell a book, or to attract the attention of a publishers, agent or editor.

1. It’s vs. its. It’s is short for it is. Possessive is its. Its pen. It’s hot today.

2. Your vs. you’re. You’re is short for you are. Your is possessive. Your pen.

3. Affect vs. effect. You Affect an Effect. (RAVEN: Remember, Affect Verb, Effect Noun).

4. The dangling participle. A lot of people struggle with this one. The front of your sentence has to be connected to the back of your sentence.

5. There, their, they’re. There is a place. Let’s go over there. Their is possessive. Their pens. They’re is short for they are.

6. Could of vs. could have. There is no such thing as could of, would of, or should of. It’s always have.

7. Me, myself and I. Take out all the middle bits of your sentence and it’ll be easy to see which word is correct. Grandma had a box of chocolates and she gave them all to Bobby and … (I or me?) She gave them to ME.

8. Then vs. than. Mostly it should be then. Than is used to compare things.

9. Under/Overuse of commas. The Oxford comma is dead and buried. Only use commas when the sentence might be confusing without them, or before a vocative. If the sentence is long and you need commas for breathing spaces, it’s too long. Cut it into two sentences instead of adding commas. (vocative = Let’s eat, Grandma. Otherwise you might end up eating Grandma.)

10. Improper use of the apostrophe. An apostrophe is used when a letter has been left out (we’re = we are) or for possession. Bobby’s chocolates.

The original article about applying for a job is here:

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

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