This post, by Alexis Grant, originally appeared on Copyblogger.
Ever read a blog post and think, “This writer seems to have some good ideas, but the grammatical errors are driving me crazy”?
(Pro tip: If you don’t ever think this, some of your readers probably do.)
Grammatical glitches make your writing harder to read, and they turn readers off.
Content may be king, but you’ll gain a lot more respect and credibility if your writing is just as brilliant as the ideas you convey.
And by brilliant, I mean clean.
When your writing is clean, readers understand where you’re coming from. And the more your readers understand and respect where you’re coming from, the more likely they are to share your content.
As editor of Brazen Careerist’s blog, Brazen Life, I often see the same errors in submissions for our site. If our smart contributors make these mistakes, chances are you make them sometimes, too.
So next time you write a blog post, whether it’s a guest post or for your own site, check it over for these errors:
1. Using that when you should use who
Whenever you write about people, refer to them using who, not that.
John is the guy who always forgets his shoes, not the guy that always forgets his shoes.
It’s easy to make this mistake because that has become acceptable in everyday conversations. But it’s more noticeable when it’s written down — or maybe it only jumps out to us grammar geeks?
2. Including the word currently in your bio
The word currently is virtually always redundant. (Can you tell this is one of my pet peeves?) But let’s focus on your bio, because that’s where most writers fail on this one.
Don’t write: “Tom Jones is currently a communications director.” If Tom Jones is anything, he’s that at that moment; you don’t need “currently” to clarify.
Just get rid of it.
3. Starting a sentence with There is or There are
This isn’t an actual error, but it’s often a symptom of lazy writing.
There are lots of better, more interesting ways to start sentences.
Ooops. See how easy it is to make this mistake?
Instead of starting a sentence with There is, try turning the phrase around to include a verb or start with you. For example, replace the sentence above with Start your sentences in a more interesting way.
If your copy includes a lot of phrases that begin with there is or there are, put some time into rewriting most of them.