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.