Any content writer knows that there are innumerable content writing pitfalls to avoid to make sure that content is both grammatically correct and properly spelled. They know they must be super vigilant not to fall into some of the common spelling and grammar traps that will consequently reduce the quality and credibility of their writing.
In September 2011, we published a post called 12 Most Commonly Misspelled (And Misused!) Words in Content Writing, and we decided that it was high time to refresh this post as part of our Flashback Friday series to add some more common errors we come across on a daily basis!
1. Who and Whom
"Who" is used when the subject is referred to as "he," she," or "they." "Whom" should be used when the subject of the sentence is referred to as "him," "her," or "them." Break the sentence down into two parts to help determine which word should be used. "He found his long-lost cousin, whom he hadn't seen in years. > He found his long-lost cousin. He hadn't seen him in years."
2. Who's and Whose
"Who's" is a contraction of the phrase "who is," whereas "whose" implies ownership. "Who's that woman over there?" "Whose shoes are these?"
3. Regardless and Irregardless
"Irregardless" is straight up not a word. Always use "regardless."
4. Confusing a noun form of a word with the verb
Nouns such as "setup" or "login" are often confused with their verb form. When used as a verb, these words are split into two separate words. "Log in using your username and login."
5. Fewer and Less
Use "fewer" when referring to a plural form of a word and "less" when the item being referred to is singular. "Fewer" is used when describing countable items, whereas "less" is used for items that are not able to be counted. "I have less free time than my brother, but I also have fewer bills."
6. That and Which
"That" should be used when the proceeding part of the sentence is essential to its meaning, whereas "which" should be used when the next part of the sentence is adding additional information. "It was the cat that scratched the furniture." "The dog, which had on a blue collar, barked at the squirrel."
7. A lot and Allot
"A lot" signifies that there is an abundance of something, whereas "allot" refers to the act of giving someone a portion of something. "I have a lot of cookies so I'm going to allot some to each of my coworkers."
8. Ensure and Insure
Use "ensure" when you mean to make certain of something and use "insure" when referring to the act of securing compensation in the event of an accident. "I need to ensure my family's financial well-being, so I'm going to insure our house and belongings."
9. Using commas with cumulative adjectives
The proper use of commas is one of the biggest content writing pitfalls most writers encounter. Many people make the mistake of over-using commas when using multiple adjectives to describe an object. There are two types of adjectives, coordinate and cumulative, although only coordinate adjectives require commas between each. Coordinate adjectives are adjectives that are able to be rearranged before the noun and still make sense, and can be separated by the word "and." "The big, loud truck. > The loud, big truck. > The big and loud truck." Cumulative adjectives need to be arranged in a specific order and cannot be separated with the word "and," thus do not require a comma. "The expensive electric guitar."
10. e.g., ex., and i.e.
The term "e.g." refers to the Latin phrase meaning "for example," which is essentially the same as the term "ex." These two phrases can be used interchangeably. On the other hand, "i.e" refers to another Latin phrase meaning "that is" or "namely," and should be used when referencing a specific instance, e.g."The police are coming down hard on common criminals (i.e. thieves and pickpockets)."
Know any more content writing pitfalls?
Let us know in the comments if you have any more content writing pitfalls to avoid when writing. Contact us or check out the rest of our blog for more handy tips regarding content writing and marketing automation.