One of the most embarrassing things that can happen to a blogger are misspelled words and grammatical mistakes. Abundant spelling errors in a blog will sent it to the Extinction Department faster than you can wink an eye. Typos are another land mines for blogger. How to do overcome these errors? First by proofreading your entries before publishing them and continually using good quality spell checkers. Most of the time it works.
Another great difficulty in writing, is using proper punctuation. Despite being more subtle, these errors can equally hurt your credibility. I’m going to point out six common punctuation errors that you shouldn’t be making, and give you examples so you’re sure about the right way to handle these situations. I found this excellent post on the Internet written by Daniel Scocco. The link to his place is located at the end of this entry.
1. Apostrophe For Plurals
This mistake is a pain in the neck among foreigners who are learning English as a second language. The apostrophe is used to form contractions (e.g., It’s time to sleep.) and to indicate possession (e.g., Peter’s house is big.), but never to form plurals.
- Wrong: The girl’s will play with her dolls.
- Right: The girls will play with their dolls.
2. The Comma Splice
When the comma is used to separate independent clauses, there must be a conjunction connecting them. If the conjunction is not there, we have a comma splice. You can correct this mistake by using a period instead of the comma, or by adding a coordinating conjunction.
- Wrong: The laptop costs $1,500, I’m going to buy it.
- Right: The laptop costs $1,500. I’m going to buy it.
- Right: The laptop costs $1,500, and I’m going to buy it.
3. Quotation Marks for Emphasis
Quotation marks are mainly used to quote speech, sentences or words. They can also be used to denote irony. They can’t be used, however, to add emphasis to a word or sentence. It is not rare to find advertisements or promotional brochures carrying this error. If you want to add emphasis to a word, use the boldface type and not the quotation marks. I have the tendency to make this mistake.
- The software is “free”!
- The software is free!
4. Multiple Punctuation Marks
Unless you want to sound like an overly enthusiastic teenager, you should limit yourself to one exclamation point, regardless of how excited you might be when writing that sentence. The same applies to question marks and to the ellipsis (which should have only three dots).
Also, keep in mind that exclamation points are not used that frequently in business and formal writing. If your text is loaded with them, you probably should review it. Exclamation points is another of my writing weaknesses.
- Wrong: This photograph is amazing!!!!
- Right: This photograph is amazing.
- Wrong: The detective was silent…….
- Right: The detective was silent…
5. Punctuation Outside the Quotation Marks
If you are writing in American English, other punctuation should go inside the quotation marks, even if it is not part of the quotation itself. British English, on the other hand, places punctuation that is not part of the quoted sentence outside of the quotation marks.
- Wrong in American English: The old lady said, “I love my yellow canary”.
- Right in American English: The old lady said, “I love my yellow canary.”
6. The Missing Comma After Introductory Elements
Sometimes you want to give an introduction or provide a background to a certain sentence. That is fine, but do not forget to place a comma after that introductory element. Notice that an introductory element can be a sentence (like in the example below) or a single word (e.g., however, moreover and so on).
- Wrong: Before going to the work I ate a sandwich.
- Right: Before going to work, I ate a sandwich.
Next time you are ready to press the Publish button, please proofread your entry for misspelled words, grammatical mistakes or bad punctuation. Your readers will love you for that and your blog will shine like a Summer sun. Good Day.