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Ten Grammar Errors that Could be Haunting Your Blog

Do you ever get the feeling that a blog post is written directly for you?

While I’m not sure this one is written with me in mind – it could well be!

Top Ten Grammar Errors that Haunt Web Pages

  1. it’s = it is
  2. Web site (or page) vs. web site/page vs. Website/website (page)
  3. Periods and commas: do they go inside or outside of quotation marks, or does it depend on the sentence?
  4. E-mail vs. email, plus what is the plural of e-mail?
  5. SEOs or SEO’s
  6. Spelling spot check
  7. Hyphens
  8. Additional spot check
  9. Singular vs. plural (getting close to ad nauseam by now)
  10. Commas
About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Jon says:

    I’m having Grade 7 flashbacks. They give you the “right” version and then the 4 or 5 exceptions so you have no hope of getting the right usage in the correct situation.
    That’s why it’s always good to toss a post into Word before hitting “Save.” [notice the period inside the quotes!] :)

  2. Nicholas says:

    E-mail and web site are out of date and out of touch … take a look at Google trends for a comparison:

    Not only do people search for (and thus use) website way more than web site, but there’s a trend among news article towards using website instead of web site.
    http://www.google.com/trends?q=web+site%2C+website

    Same goes for email vs e-mail. People don’t use e-mail.
    http://www.google.com/trends?q=e-mail%2C+email

    And lest we think searchers are just lazy and go automatically for the shortest possible input take a look at t-shirt vs. tshirt:
    http://www.google.com/trends?q=t-shirt%2C+tshirt&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all

    The hyphen wins with t-shirt, because that’s the way it is.The problem with grammar books is that they don’t like to change. Once upon a time, email was E-mail and stood for electronic mail. Now, it’s email because the word has a meaning of its own. Language is not static and constantly changes. The grammar books can’t be correct when reality shows something different.

  3. engtech says:

    Here’s another good list

    Whatever: Writing Tips for Non-Writers Who Don’t Want to Work at Writing
    http://www.scalzi.com/whatever/004023.html

  4. Mandi says:

    Grammer is one subject I have always excelled in. A big mistake (and my biggest pet peeve besides bad drivers) is when people use “then” when they mean “than.” So here’s a quick lesson:

    Use then when you are talking about the order of things. ex. Then, you hit publish. Use than when you are comparing two things. ex. Darren’s blog gets more traffic than mine.

    Also about the word “it’s.” You use the apostrophe when you are using the contraction for “it is” like Darren said, but you leave it out when something is possessive. Yup, this is my longest comment ever.

  5. Max says:

    Can we have a rant about loose and lose please?
    When you lose weight your pants get loose!
    Thanks

  6. Stefan says:

    You catch me with my pants down, Darren! ;-)

  7. katiebird says:

    One of the worst things about making these mistakes is that we know better. My hands seem to have a mind of their own sometimes and even as I THINK the right spelling I’m typing the very thing I know is wrong.

    For example I’m forever misspelling grammar as grammer — even though I know better.

    It’s sad, really.

  8. Another very common mistake is writing “loose” instead of “lose”, as in, “If you don’t want to lose your money, keep it in your pocket.” As opposed to, “If you don’t want to loose…” I see it all the time, even in very professional blogs, sales letters, and other web sites.

  9. It is times like this that we need the Schoolhouse Rock videos. Heh.

  10. Cassie says:

    Terry, that’s exactly what I was going to mention. I don’t know why, but it really bugs me when people use ‘lose’ and ‘loose’ improperly.

    My mother was the editor of our local newspaper for ten years, so I picked up a lot of stuff from her, but I still find myself confused by a lot of what Darren mentions. Ooh, there’s another one. ‘A lot’ vs. ‘alot’. I see that mistake quite often as well. But hey, nobody’s perfect.

    Sometimes it can be downright annoying though. I subscribe to a lot of newsletters and lots of them have horrible spelling and punctuation. I almost feel like emailing them and begging for them to get someone to proofread their mailings before they send them out to save them some embarrassment.

  11. darrenh says:

    Finally a blog-related topic on which I feel like I know something!

  12. I did quite a bit of research before deciding that on Sampa (www.sampa.com) we would use “email” without the hyphen. Mostly, I look for examples from companies that spend quite a bit of their time doing terminology research, like Microsoft.

    Independent if you love or hate Microsoft, they have hundreds of people working on stuff like this, so, it is safer for you to copy their usage of terms than to copy from some random website on the Internet. They are “term-setters”.

    The same way you should look for Amazon for design and usability ideas. Not that they have the best designs on the Internet, but they certainly have the one that gives the most conversion. They do extensive A/B testing of their pages and they have the millions of users necessary to measure it beyond any doubt.

  13. James says:

    I find her section on commas to be a recipe for horrible overuse. As for the “Web site” thing, it’s just a matter of time before “website” becomes the accepted standard.

  14. I used to be a then/than abuser. I’m going through the 12 step program. I still get into trouble with comments and fullstops. Email and website are now preferred. The online Cambridge dictionary lists both but the definition uses the shorter version in the definition:
    mail, e-mail Show phonetics
    noun
    1 [U] the system for using computers to send messages over the Internet:
    You can contact us by email or fax.
    What’s your email address?

    website, web site Show phonetics
    noun [C] (ALSO site)
    a set of pages of information on the Internet about a particular subject, which have been published by the same person or organization, and often contain colour pictures, video and sound:
    For more information about other Cambridge titles, visit our website at http://www.cambridge.org.

  15. Mandi says:

    Darren your next tip should be never take grammar lessons from someone who can’t spell grammar correctly. I feel like an idiot now = (

  16. Leon says:

    Thankfully I’m a grammar Nazi, so most of my posts tend to be grammatically correct.

  17. Kulbir Virk says:

    Thats me right there, I have the worst grammar and spelling.

    http://www.pctip.org

  18. Melissa says:

    Can we make it the top ELEVEN Grammar Errors – One of my favorite flubs has not been mentioned – “your” -vs- “you’re” … The Author of one of my favorite sites regularly has problems with this one, but how do you tell someone that they have this problem? Would you thank someone if they pointed out an error like this that occurred regularly?

  19. Graham says:

    As a communications consultant for the past 20 years I firmly believe we would all communicate much better if we just used one form of English and that’s the spoken version. Why do we have a written AND a spoken version when, really, we speak the words internally as we read them.
    I’ve actually got more on this topic at my website and on my blog at http://www.bestonlinetips.com/

  20. It always bugs me when people use “then” when they should be using “than.”

  21. grammar errors? check spelling errors on top blog sites by technorati. I checked the top 25 blog’s front pages and i found anywhere from 1- 15. Only one blog had no spelling mistake- guess which? Google’s official blog, of course.!

  22. Dr. Lingo says:

    What about the champion of the media we are discussing: Is it Internet or internet?

  23. otherthanads says:

    English language is not my first one, so i think best way to correct spells error when you right something is using the spell checker tool on Google toolbar.

  24. Steve says:

    I think it should be “the Internet”
    umm…

  25. Steve says:

    Google Toolbar can’t do grammar check though.. not even firefox 2.

  26. Ron Tocknell says:

    I read Robin Noble’s piece on Top Ten Grammar Errors….. Hmmmmmm! I know US spelling differs from UK spelling to a degree but I always thought grammar and punctuation was universal. She seems to have other ideas.
    For example: Apostrophes (and definitely NOT apostrophe’s… unless I’m referring to something that belongs to an apostrophe) are never used to indicate plurals whatever Ms. Noble thinks. An apostrophe indicates (a) possession (Example: Brian’s book) or (b) an abbreviation when the word is followed by “is” (Example: Brian’s thirsty). The exception to this rule is when possession is expressed for “it” rather than a specific identifier (Example: (1) The dog’s collar. (2) The dog has chewed its collar).

    She also implied that periods and commas must always be used within quotations. This actually depends on sentence construction. Punctuation only appears within quotations where the punctuation BELONGS to the quotation. If the punctuation is part of the sentence that contains the quotation, it appears outside quotation marks. Example 1 (incorrect): Ms Noble asserts that it is “correct,” according to her understanding, that commas appear within quotations.
    Example 2 (correct) Ms Noble asserts that it is “correct”, according to her understanding, that commas appear within quotations.

    In the above examples, the comma indicates a pause in MY sentence, not in the quotation of her words. The following is an example in which it is correct to place the comma within quotation:
    “The trouble with grammar,” he said, adding: “not that I am implying your grammar is incorrect….”

    Here, the comma indicates a pause within the quotation. There is a break for narrative within the quoted sentence and it is important to indicate that the comma belongs to the quotation, not to the narrative.

    Sorry to be so anal. I really must go now and arrange everything symmetrically on my desk.

Trackbacks

  1. Subzero Blue says:

    Ten Grammar Errors That Haunt Web Pages And Blogs…

    A list of the top 10 grammar mistakes that are generally found on web pages, and of course blogs as well: 1. it’s = it is 2. Web site (or page) vs. web site/page vs. Website/website (page) 3. Periods and commas: do they go inside or outside of quotati…

  2. Blogspotting says:

    Unhappy datum…

    Looking through this grammar check (ex Pro-blogger) I came across one of my bêtes noires (note fancy French plural.). Datum. It’s the singular of data. But does anyone use it anymore? I’m writing a book in which I’ll mention……