Let’s face it. We’ve all been there. Inspiration is flying high and your fingers race to keep up with the firework finale in your mind. You finally catch your breath and look at the outcome of your hard work. Right after pressing the submit button, you spot it.
It happens to the best of us. Don’t sweat it, friend. We all make mistakes.
Although we know mistakes will happen, we can still take measures to ensure our work is top quality. Let’s talk about five common mistakes found in our writing.
Homophones. Those pesky words sound the same but are spelled differently. You know, words like to, too, and two. Or attendance and attendants.
When we’re writing, it’s so easy to mistake one homophone for another. Sometimes we place greater emphasis on the sound of words than the correct spelling. Before finalizing your work, make sure you look out for any homophones you may have used incorrectly.
Another common mistake we’ve all made is using apostrophes inappropriately. Take for example the sentence below:
Gloria, it’s about time you go on a date!
In this case, “it’s” means “it is”. “It’s” is often confused with “its”, which is used to show possession. Take a look at the next example:
The bird is in its treehouse.
There’s no apostrophe needed because “its” is used to show us that the tree house belongs to the bird.
I’ll spare you the grammar lesson, friend. Just remember “it’s” is a contraction and “its” shows possession.
Now, let’s talk about commas. I can’t lie to you. I used to put commas wherever I wanted because honestly, I didn’t think it mattered! (Sorry Dr. E and Mr. Lemahieu!) Now, I know better. Commas are pretty important. You don’t think so? Take a look at this next example:
Let’s cook Mom. vs Let’s cook, Mom.
The first sentence insinuates you want to cook your mom. The second sentence clearly demonstrates you’re asking your mom to cook with you. Correct punctuation saves lives, folks.
Not only do we need to check for commas, but we also need to make sure we haven’t confused words. Take the famous “accept” vs “except” example. Let’s pretend you were offered a position at your dream job (go you!). You would respond by saying, “I accept this position.”
“Accept” means you either receive or take on the responsibility of something.
If you’re looking at the contract and notice the salary is less than what you discussed, you would say, “I agree with everything except the salary.” “Except” means you are excluding something.
Other commonly confused words are yoke vs yolk and loose vs lose. I know we all make mistakes, but I cannot tell you how many grey hairs grace my crown every time I notice someone incorrectly using “loose” and “lose”. Just kidding, guys--sort of. Lol!
We could go on and on, but let's talk about one more common writing mistake. As you are about to wrap up that angelic piece you poured your heart into, make sure to check your spelling. I think everyone probably has access to spell check, but it wouldn’t hurt to proof your spelling anyway. You may catch an error that wasn’t recognized by good ol’ technology.
No matter how much you proof your work, you may end up finding an error after you schedule that blog post or newsletter. It’s not the end of the world though, friend. If anything, mistakes remind us that we are human.
What I’ve found to be helpful, however, is to have someone else proof my work. Having a fresh pair of eyes works wonders. Sometimes we get too attached to our work and this attachment blinds us from the improvements we need to make. If you’re looking for a fresh pair of eyes to help you with grammar and punctuation, flow, consistency, and sentence structure, then check out my editing services here. I'd love to help you polish your next writing piece before you publish it!