5 Big Grammar Mistakes Common in Web Writing

As business writers, we create content for websites, blogs and intranet sites almost every day. This writing can be challenging because it’s more difficult to catch small mistakes on a computer screen than on a piece of paper. Yet, these mistakes are visible to all your readers, including employees, customers and potential clients, making you appear careless.

Your web writing is important, so make sure you avoid these common mistakes that destroy your credibility.

1. Loose vs. Lose (homonyms)

Wrong: We can’t loose this account.

Right: We can’t lose this account.

2. It’s vs. Its (homonyms)

Wrong: Bring the presentation, along with it’s adjoining documents.

Right: Bring the presentation, along with its adjoining documents.

3. They’re vs. Their vs. There (homonyms)

Wrong: The executive team is currently in they’re meeting.

Right: The executive team is currently in their meeting.

4. Effect vs. Affect

NOTE: In general, affect is a verb which means “to influence,” while effect is a noun which means “the result.” There are exceptions to this, such as “a happy affect” and “to effect change.”

Wrong: The work-life balance symposium has had many positive affects on our company’s culture.

Right: The work-life balance symposium has had many positive effects on our company’s culture.

5. Overuse of Ellipsis

NOTE: The ellipsis (” . . . “) is a series of marks that indicates the intentional omission of a word, phrase or section. The ellipsis also indicates an unfinished thought.

Web writing, especially blogs, use the ellipsis too frequently. Using the ellipsis to indicate an unfinished thought has great impact in fiction and poetry, such as portraying melancholy. However, they should be used sparingly in business writing. Frequent use of ellipsis makes the writer appear lazy or unable to finish a complete thought.

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6 thoughts on “5 Big Grammar Mistakes Common in Web Writing

  1. P.S. Caution: the ellipsis in this article, is not shown correctly.(There are no spaces between the points.) It can be done this way–but only where specified for certain on-line publications–it is not usually considered proper.There are always spaces between the dots, as well as before and after. Check Chicago Manual of Style, the 16th. Edition. Refer to my article.

      • Oh dear! How gracious you are. I thought later, I really should have written you privately. Even though Chicago has taken a stand, you are not entirely incorrect on this. However, if you will go to a bookstore (are there any left) and thumb through all the best sellers, you will see they are done the way I recommend. Interestingly enough, one major grammar site that advises students, has them all botched up.(right along with dashes). Nice to hear from you. Hope you keep visiting. I will catch yours also!

  2. Pingback: Affect vs Effect – Self Help – waldina

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