5 Common Writing Mistakes to Avoid

Know what?

There are a few writing and grammar mistakes that are a lot more common than you'd think. We see them all the time (and don't even realize it.)

The thing is: If you're making these errors on a regular basis, your co-workers and peers have probably noticed. That's not a good thing.

So what do you need to keep an eye out for?

1. Here's some

This is a phrase I see fairly commonly, as in, "Here's some tips on how to better clean your carpets."

But this is incorrect, because "here's" means "here is." The correct use is "Here are some," because you're referring to multiple tips, which constitutes "are" in place of "is."

2. Compliment vs. complement

Even though these words have different meanings, I often see them both used to mean, "to go well with."

But here's the difference: Compliment refers to praise, as in, "I complimented him on his work ethic." Whereas complement means to pair nicely with, as in, "The marketing materials complemented the company branding."

3. Long-winded sentences

A good rule of thumb is to try and write like Hemingway, with short sentences and simple words. Why?

Because people are busy, and they don't want to spend time poring over complex sentences. In fact, most of the time, they're scanning when reading online. Get right to the point in your writing and make it easy to understand.

Need help? Use Hemingway App to test your writing to see where improvements can be made.

4. Passive voice

Passive voice means the receiver of an action is the subject of the sentence.

It looks like this: The P&L statement was reviewed by the leadership team.
In lieu of passive voice, always write in active voice, in which the person taking action is the subject.

So, instead: Leadership reviewed the P&L statement. This adds greater clarity to writing and sounds more authoritative overall.

5.  I.e. versus e.g.

These abbreviations are often used interchangeably, but in reality they have different meanings.

i.e. is Latin for id est, which means "that is" (like "in essence"), while e.g. means exempli gratia, which means "for example." Use i.e. to summarize an idea and e.g. to list examples.
 
If you can keep an eye out for these common mistakes (and get rid of them in your writing), you'll have one less thing to worry about when sending an email, writing a tweet--you name it.

Also: If you're not using Grammarly yet to check your writing, do it. It's a great tool for catching grammar errors...and it's free. (Not an affiliate, just a fan!)

This article originally appeared in my newsletter, A Cup of Copy. Sign up and get these free tips sent right to your inbox every other Wednesday.