More grammar pet peeves
On February 14, 2012 | 3 Comments | Grammar tips, News & Events, Writing tips | Tags: ,

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!)

Someone got paid to put that apostrophe in there?

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”.)

grammatical errors

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 Reprinted with permission. © 2012 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

Comments 3
Fake Ma Posted February 14, 2012 at12:08 pm   Reply

Omg—someone at Pepsi should be
hanging his or her head in embarrassment about now!

Cathleen Posted February 16, 2012 at5:56 pm   Reply

Hello Maria,

I have just found you and am delighted to note that your favourite peeve is my favourite peeve. Yes, I know you do not use the ‘u’ in favorite!
My almost equal pet peeve is the use of the numeral 4 instead of ‘for’. Being originally Irish, I find it impossible to tolerate this. You see we do not pronounce the word and the numeral in the same way.
I love words and delight in playing with them but I must admit that sometimes I confuse ‘its’ with ‘it’s’ and am always cautious with their use.
I look forward to your newsletter.


Stephen Edwards Posted March 1, 2012 at4:04 pm   Reply

Yep, I’m one of those folks who use i.e. when I mean e.g. Big thanks for the education. Best of all, it was free.

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