Grammatical Errors: The Devil’s In The Detail

Do you ever find yourself reading someone else’s blog and manually correcting their spelling and grammar mistakes in your head?

It can be off-putting and make reading their work more of an effort than you’re prepared to give.

We all make mistakes in our writing but if yours has loads of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors then your readers may not stick around for too long.

If you’re a non-native English speaker then this may be a reasonably big challenge. In many cases though, I’ve noticed that non-native speakers are better at English grammar than native speakers!

So what are some common grammatical errors?

Common Grammatical Errors

Its – It’s

It’s is short for it is or it has, whereas its shows possession.

Examples

It’s about time you went to bed.
The dog buried its bone.

There, their, they’re

They’re is short for they are. Their shows possession. There, however can be a number of things but usually means a place.

Examples

They’re not old enough to watch the film.
Their parcel arrived on time.
Throw the ball over there.

Your, You’re

You’re is short for you are, whilst your shows possession.

Examples

You’re one of a kind!
Your ice-cream is melting.

Here, Hear

Here usually indicates the place of a person or thing, whereas hear means listening to something.

Examples

Can you hear that sound?
How long have you been here?

To, Too, Two

Two is only used as a number. Too, on the other had is either used instead of “also” or “excessively”. If it doesn’t fit those criteria then you use to.

Examples

There were only two people in the queue.
I’m sure she was there too.
Where are you going to?

That, Which

People often think that and which are interchangeable but that’s not really the case. If the sentence doesn’t need the clause that the word in question is connecting, you would use which. If it does, then you use that.

Here are a couple of examples:

The painting that was hanging on my bedroom wall was stolen.
The painting, which was hanging on my bedroom wall, was stolen.

OK. Now, stay with me on this!

In the first sentence, the use of that singles out the one painting that was in the bedroom as the stolen painting.

If there was more than one painting hanging on the bedroom wall though, this wouldn’t be correct because it would mislead the reader into thinking there had only been one painting.

In the second sentence, the use of which tells the reader that the painting was hanging on the bedroom wall but doesn’t tell them which of the several paintings in the bedroom was the stolen painting.

If there was only one painting on the bedroom wall, this sentence would be incorrect as it leaves open the possibility that there were others.

Also, check out this helpful article about the use of which versus that at the Writer’s Digest – Which Vs. That.

Ten, 10

The general rule for writing numbers is that if the number is 10 or more, then you write it as a numeral. However, if the number is less than 10, you write it as a word.

How Can I Check My Posts For Grammatical Errors?

After The Deadline

If you have the Jetpack plugin installed on your WordPress site, then you can use a service called After The Deadline to check your spelling, writing style and for any grammatical errors.

After The Deadline is also available as a standalone plugin but it is no longer supported. Future updates to the plugin are through Jetpack. There is a separate version called TinyMCE Spellcheck, however which is based on the After The Deadline plugin and may be of interest.

You can also use After The Deadline as a Chrome Extension if you’re not keen on adding Jetpack to your WordPress site.

Like most things, After The Deadline’s not perfect but it can certainly help you find many spelling and other errors.

GrammarBase

An alternative to After The Deadline would be to use a Chrome Extension such as GrammarBase.

It’s a free service which automatically checks for grammatical errors, spelling and writing style in your browser.

I’ve not tried this one out yet but it gets 4 out of 5 stars on the Google Chrome Webstore. If you try this one out, please let me know how you get on.

Scribendi

If you’re looking to pay for professional editing services, then Scribendi.com offer an ISO 9001 certified editing service which is available 24 hours a day.

You can do everything from your WordPress dashboard using their plugin. From there you can get free quotes, choose your turnaround time and your target English version (British, US, Australian, etc).

Over To You

It’s inevitable that we all make spelling and I’m not definitely not infallible!

This post will, no doubt, have everyone pointing out any grammatical errors and spelling mistakes I’ve made and I welcome them in the comments section below :-).

Remember that you only have a short amount of time to grab your readers’ attention and if all they see are spelling mistakes and grammatical errors you’re doing yourself a disservice!

I hope you found this post useful and I’d be grateful if you’d share it on your favourite social media sites!

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