In previous posts, I addressed random capitalization and the incorrect use of a possessive apostrophe to denote a plural. (See below for a recent example on the apostrophe overload– even Pepsi got it wrong the other night!)
I enjoyed the fun reaction I got to those posts, so here I go again with the grammar thing.
I spend a lot of time checking out various online forums for writers, especially those for aspiring or independently published authors, and sometimes I scan the websites of those who regularly contribute to the discussions. I like to see what people are talking about with regard to writing, publishing, and marketing their books, and I’m always looking for a good read!
Unfortunately, however, I’m regularly disappointed by the number of grammatical errors I see.
If your writing is sloppy in these very public arenas, it makes me think that your writing is also sloppy in your book. As a result, I don’t want to read your book, and you’ve lost a possible sale. Here are some other common grammar issues/errors that drive me nuts:
- To vs. too
- Their vs. there vs. they’re
- You’re vs. your (This one makes me crazy. It is NOT “your” welcome!)
- It’s vs. its
- I.e. vs. e.g. (i.e. means “that is,” and e.g. means “for example”)
- Hyphens after adverbs (e.g. “highly-motivated” is incorrect)
- We’re vs. were
- That vs. which
- Affect vs. effect
- Periods outside quotations marks in dialogue (e.g. the following is incorrect: “I like you”.)
You may be surprised at my list because the usages are quite basic, but I see these errors a lot. I mean a LOT. It may be nothing more than simple carelessness on the writer’s part, but if I don’t know that writer, I think otherwise. I think, “This person doesn’t know how to write.” And in a digital world where you can reach thousands of people with a single post, and where you’re competing with millions of other writers to grab the attention of readers, it’s important to make the right impression every time you put something out into cyberspace.
This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2012 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.