Do You Make These 7 Grammar Goof-Ups In Your Copy

At first I was reluctant to publish this sort of article in case it encouraged readers to go hunting for errors. And then I decided it could be a useful learning exercise. So, any mistakes you find are brought to you completely free of charge as a small bonus to help you hone your proof reading skills.

Copywriters are not editors or proof readers. Most of us would not know a subject-verb non-agreement if it jumped off the page and hit us square between the eyes – which it will do for your reader if you get it wrong.

Grammar and punctuation rules guide your reader through the sentence and even if they do not know or understand the rules they will notice if you get it wrong. Aside from damaging your credibility the sentence may not mean what you intended.

1. My atrocious spelling does not detract from my copywriting skills and proofreaders can do the final polish. But spelling mistakes can reduce credibility and transform your intended word into another with a different meaning.

Spell checkers cannot be relied on and the following sentence would pass the spellchecker test:

“Those who rely on spell chequers would bee wise two sea weather there texts wood prophet from proofreading.”

These 3 tips may help…

* mistakes are easier to spot when you read on paper instead of on a computer screen
* leave as long a period of time between writing and proofreading as possible and
errors become easier to spot.
* using a ruler to follow the text helps you focus on each word

2. Sometimes similar sounding words get confused as in ‘affect’ and ‘effect.’

“smoking can adversely affect your health while one effect of smoking is to cause lung cancer.”

3. Using a comma between the subject and the verb can look amateurish…

“This wind powered home turbine, is the greatest invention since the windmill.”

4. Making sure your subject and the verb agrees is easy when they are next to one another as in “a man runs” or “men run.”

But it gets trickier when the sentence is longer….“Every one of these beautiful books celebrate the words of Shakespeare.”

“Every one online amoxil ……celebrate.” does not flow.

But “Every one…..celebrates.” does. So the sentence should read:

“Every one of these beautiful books celebrates the words of Shakespeare.”

5. Beware of dangling participles as in “Skipping along the pavement, your heart leaps with excitement.”

Your heart does not skip. In this sentence the participle is the skipping and the subject is your heart – and they do not match. A simple restructure will sort it out.

“As you skip along the pavement, your heart leaps with excitement.” Or you could change the subject to, “Skipping along the pavement, you feel a rush of excitement.”

6. Watch out for ambiguous modifiers. A modifier is just a word which adds information to other words, as in…“We had a discussion in the car.” Here, ‘In the car’ modifies ‘discussion’ and to be safe they should be placed close together to avoid sentences like this…

“We had a discussion about the use of bicycles in the car.” when perhaps what you mean is, “We had a discussion in the car about the use of bicycles.”

7. Commas and dashes tell your reader where to pause and if you get them wrong your sentence could be nonsensical, as in…

“While walking in the precinct, I saw a lady selling balloons and an odd-looking child.”

I hope it should read as… “While walking in the precinct, I saw a lady selling balloons, and an odd-looking child.”

It is not the job of your proof reader to rewrite illegible text and any of the above gaffs could leave you with real howlers in your copy. You do not want to be this poor advertiser cheap amoxil of car accessories, marketing to an exclusive group of motoring enthusiasts, whose advert told prospective punters about a “Private Parts Sale.”

It is the unusual writer who finds the intricacies of grammar enthralling, but if you want a witty, easy to read text which is suitable for dipping into then I strongly recommend the ‘Collins Good Writing Guide.’

But please, before you take this reference too seriously, and before you email me about your differences of opinion (especially point 4). It is not really about being right or wrong but it is about being certain your copy reads as you intended.

Best wishes to you

Sian Murphy
100% Results Writer
0800 0086464
01634 251079
07515 951354

We love to get comments on articles and suggestions for future topics so please click through or email me directly. Regards, Sian

You May Also Be Interested In...

Similar Posts Code Here

Subscribe Now

If you enjoyed this post, you will definitely enjoy our others. Subscribe to the feed to get instantly updated for those awesome posts soon to come.

You might want to pop over to have a read on But you'll have to cut and paste 'cos, cool as it is, I'm still working out how to use the Thesis Theme''

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: