All copywriters try their best to avoid grammar mistakes. But, if you value your content marketing, it’s really important to make sure your writing is correct.
Grammar mistakes won’t, by themselves, ruin an otherwise great blog. Most readers will forgive you the odd slip up. But it’s certainly worth doing your best to ensure that your spelling and grammar are right.
In fact, Harvard Business Review reported that good grammar was highly correlated with career and business success.
So, in today’s article, we’ll outline three of the most common grammar errors and how to avoid them. If you’d like some help with your blog, we offer comprehensive content management packages to suit any budget.
Note – all the headings contain a grammar mistake.
1. Your (Not) The Best
“Your” is the possessive form of “you”. We use it to show ownership: “I like your hat”. What we should have used in the heading is “you’re”. This is a contraction of “you are”. So all the following are correct:
- I like your hat
- You are the best
- You’re the best
You see similar mistakes with “they’re” v “their” v “there”. If you find yourself getting confused, here are some sentences with each word used correctly:
- They are playing football
- They’re playing football
- Their boots are dirty
- There is a phone call for you
“It’s” v “its” is a bit more tricky. We typically use an apostrophe to show possession (Tim’s bicycle). But the possessive of “it” (“its”) doesn’t have an apostrophe. The apostrophe is only used for the contraction of “it is”. Again, these are all correct usages:
- It is raining
- It’s raining
- I bought a new phone; its camera is great
2. How To Make Less Mistakes
“Mistakes” is a type of grammatical unit called a “countable noun”. You can have a certain number of mistakes. 1 mistake, 2 mistakes, 20 mistakes. As such, you should use “fewer” rather than “less”.
“Less” is used for “uncountable nouns”. We don’t count them, but they have a certain quantity. Lots of foods, for example, are uncountable:
Countable nouns use the word “number”, while uncountable words use the word “amount”. What can be confusing, is that both types of noun use the word “more”. Here are some examples of correct usage:
- How to make fewer mistakes
- Try to eat less sugar
- How to reduce the number of mistakes you make
- Try to reduce the amount of sugar you eat
- How to win more prizes (countable)
- Try to eat more fibre (uncountable)
3. Please Contact Myself
“Myself” is a reflexive pronoun. We use reflexive pronouns when the subject and object of the verb are the same person:
- He hit himself
- I let myself down
- She forgave herself
In the example in the heading, you don’t need to use the reflexive pronoun. You are the object of the verb (you are the one being “contacted”) so you should use “me”. We use “I” when we are the subject of the verb (when we are doing).
“I” v “me” therefore has nothing to do with the word “and”. “John and me went swimming” is wrong because you are the subject. Similarly, “please speak to John or I” is wrong, because you are the object in this case. Here are some correct sentences:
- He sent me flowers
- I sent him flowers
- I sent flowers to myself
- Anna and I work in London
- He sent the letter to Anna and me
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