Its so easy to miss some of the most basic of grammar rules in our own writing. For an easy example, not many people will realize the previous sentence has a glaring error. In fact one of the most common errors found by proof readers. Read on to learn how to make your writing stronger by correcting those tiny yet annoying mistakes before putting your writing on-line for everyone to see.
Mistake #1: Its versus It's
The apostrophe in it's is only used when you are forming the contraction it is. If you are referring to possession, the correct usage is its. Example: It's satisfying to watch Infobarrel post about its rapid climb in Goggle stats.
Mistake #2: Your versus You're
Again it's all a matter of contractions. If you mean you are, you would use you're. If you are referring to a possession, such as your dog...well my point is made.
Mistake #3: There, They're, and Their
Most of us know the correct usage here, but it is easy to write so quickly that we simply type the wrong one. Something to be aware of.
Mistake #4: Lie versus Lay
This one I still struggle with, but the correct usage is as follows: Lie: means to recline, as in I'm going to go lie down. Lay: means to place something, as in where did I lay that blankety blank thing?
Mistake #5: Effect versus affect
Effect is a noun and affect is a verb. Be careful of your usage here. Examples: The bee sting really had an effect on me. It affects my ability to flex my finger.
Mistake #6: Then versus than
Then means a timing or placement. As in: Mary came in first, then George. Than is used for comparisons. As in: I'd rather be rich than poor.
Mistake #7: Could of/would of versus could have/would have
Again, I think we all know the correct usage here, but it is a very easy error to make when we are typing. And since it rolls off the tongue as very similar sounds, it isn't always an easy catch.
Mistake #8: I versus me
This usually gives us trouble in sentences like: Dan and George went to the movies with Jenny and I. (Wrong) Dan and George went to the movies with Jenny and me. (Right) An easy way to tell is simply to take out Jenny and see if it still sounds right.
Mistake #9: Loose versus lose
An example of correct usage: It is amazing that teenagers today don't lose their pants, since they wear them so loose.
Mistake #10: A versus An
The general rule is to use 'a' if the word following begins with a consonant and use 'an' if it begins with a vowel. As in: An apple a day...
The sad thing today is that you can find these errors almost everywhere. I find them in published books all the time. But the good news is that now you are aware of them, you can truly strengthen your writing.
Always proofread your writing before publishing. You'll never regret it.