3 Common Word Usage Problems
As an avid reader and a professional proofreader / editor, the thing
that bothers me the most, even more than spelling errors,
is the wrong usage OF a word.
Here are the three I have to correct for clients the most often
and wish were corrected on other web sites, blogs and in books, etc.
The most common one I see is mixing up your and you’re.
As I tell my clients and others I converse with, YOUR is possessive; it belongs to YOU. YOU’RE is a contraction for YOU ARE.
If in doubt, don’t use a contraction – if you are meaning you’re but use your,
people might at least think you just forgot the “e”.
The next one is mixing up they’re and their and there.
If you are shortening up THEY ARE, use THEY’RE.
If you are talking about a place, it is THERE.
If you are talking about something that belongs to THEM, use THEIR.
Frankly, the one that bugs ME the most is using THEY for one person!
It is a very common error and I see it more than anything.
If you are writing about SOMEONE or SOMEBODY, use he or she or at least the general HE.
Do NOT ever use THEM when talking about someone or somebody.
In summation, if YOU’RE not sure about YOUR word usage, have a proofreader / editor check
for you. Spellcheck is great but does not catch these errors.
If several writers are putting THEIR heads together and THEY’RE all getting together at that desk over THERE, THEY will be brainstorming with each giving his or her opinion and input.
Again, if you are in doubt, run your gems of wisdom past a proofreader.
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