This is a guest article by Andrés Saavedra. You too can be part of this great knowledge sharing community. Take a look at our guest blogging guidelines.
If you are anything like me, you cannot stand stumbling across an egregious grammatical error while reading a blog post. These grammar mistakes almost jump off the page and scream to be fixed. I often feel compelled to write a terse, but respectful comment, outlining the importance of proper grammar when writing, especially for a public blog.
Sometimes it is evident that English is not the writer’s first language, which in that case is understandable. However, if English is your first language then it is time to brush up on some common, but easy to fix grammar blunders.
1. Too, To and Two?
One of my biggest grammatical pet peeves is when bloggers incorrectly use “to” instead of “too”, or vice versa. These Homophones, as grammarians call them, are worth getting a handle of. Making sure you understand how and when to use these three words will help boost your blogger credibility.
“To” is usually used in conjunction with a verb or as a preposition. You might want “to meet” someone in the park or walk down the street “to visit” a friend. Other uses include, “Why don’t we go to the library,” “Hand the money to me,” or “My team is losing 50 to 35 in the fourth quarter.” “To” is the more frequently used of these three words.
“Too,” however, has a completely different meaning. It refers to either excess or degree, such as “I am too weak to stand,” “Your shirt is too bright,” or “Jose was not too happy about the phone call” or means “also” or “in addition,” as in “I really wish I could leave too” and “Both of you despise my laugh, too.”
“Two” of course refers to the number. Remember also to always write the word “two” instead of the number when blogging. Any number over ten is usually written as the number, instead of the word. “He hit 15 homeruns this month alone!”
2. Its versus It’s
“Its” has to do with ownership and “It’s” is a contraction of the words “it is.” While this particular grammar rapscallion might prove difficult at times, remember to try to break up the word. Does “it is” make sense in the sentence? If it does, then always use “It’s” in those cases. “It’s a real pain in the behind to learn these grammar rules but worth its weight in gold.”
3. Affect or effect?
Many of you likely get a raging headache when trying to decide which of these two words to use properly. However, once you learn the basic uses, you should feel much more confidant when they pop up while blogging.
“Affect” is mostly used as a verb. It means “to influence,” as in, “The words negatively affected Maria,” or “The thunder affected the dogs.” Keep in mind too, that affect can also signify when someone is “acting a certain way that they may not feel,” as in, “He affected an English accent.”
“Effect” refers to an “outcome” or “a result” and is mostly used as a noun. For example, you can write, “The effect blew me away,” or “The visual effects made the crowd cheer,” or “Her words bore no effects on her brother’s self-esteem.”
4. Comma Splices: Use Commas With Care
Throwing a comma in between two separate ideas, or independent clauses, is a big no-no in the grammar world. Here is an example of a comma splice, or run on sentence as many people affectionately refer to it:
Blogging can be a lot of fun, you should start your own blog today.
This sentence can be made into two separate independent sentences, broken up with a semicolon or you can add a conjunction (but, or, nor, so, and, for and yet).
Blogging can be a lot of fun. You should start your own blog today.
Blogging can be a lot of fun; you should start your own blog today.
Blogging can be a lot of fun, so you should start your own blog today.
The bottom line for this rule is the following: If you can make two sentences with the words on either side of the comma, then it is time to break them up, add a semicolon or use a conjunction.
While this is not a grammar rule, I do feel compelled to stress the importance of making sure your blog posts do not have any misspelled words in them. There is rarely anything worse in the grammar arena than putting incorrectly spelled words out into the large, vast online world.
I cannot recommend enough writing each post in Word, so that the program automatically picks up on spelling errors. Even if you prefer writing your posts in your blog platform’s post box, copy and paste the final product into Word to check for any spelling mistakes. Your blog, reputation and ego will thank you.
I hope these quick and easy examples will help you put some polish on your future and past blog posts. It’s never too late to effect positive change in your blog.