Correctness gives Credibility: Be careful when you blog

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on August 6th, 2009 by Team Pi

Granted. A blog is not a thesis on English literature. Blogging is a sort of conversation, and we do make a few slip-ups when we’re chatting. But forget to cross your t’s and dot your i’s one too many times, and you run the risk of being discarded by enraged readers into the trash can of blogdom. Check out any popular blog, and you’ll be hard pressed to find language errors, no matter how urgently they’ve been churned out. Good bloggers know that correctness gives credibility.

So be natural… be conversational. Start and end with your sentences with prepositions. Use ellipses instead of em-dash. But be careful so that you do not commit any major language faux pas. We come across a few quite often, and have listed them below. We’ve also provided a short explanation of why they’re not OK, and what should be used instead. Here you go:

1. Your vs. you’re
This definitely is the ‘numero uno’ mistake that grabs eyeballs. A very common mistake which can spell doom for your content, it can be corrected if you give it a second thought before you write. While “your” is a pronoun as in your drink or your pen, “you’re” is an abbreviation of ‘you are’ like, you are destroying this line by using wrong grammar.

2. It’s vs. Its
This is another common mistake that can make the writer look very silly. This like the one above is also easily avoidable with a little bit of concentration. Here “It’s” is an abbreviation of “it is” or “it has” such as it is a big day.  “Its” is a possessive pronoun, such as “this blog began its journey last march.” An easy way is to say your sentence aloud. First say “it is”, if it doesn’t sound good then it has to be “its”.

3. There vs. Their
If you are up really late at night, and been writing for a while, this one can happen then. Often this mistake happens as a pure typo, but you have to make sure that it’s corrected during proofreading. “There” is used in many ways, like as a reference to a place (“let’s go there”) or as a pronoun (“there is no hope”). “Their”, on the other hand, is a plural possessive pronoun, as in “their bags” or “their opinions.”

4. Affect vs. Effect
“Affect” is a verb meaning ‘to have an influence on’, which is used thus – “your ability to come early will affect the project positively. Now “Effect” is a noun, as in “when I left the stove on, the effect was that the house was filled with smoke.”  When you affect a situation, you have an effect on it.

Remember to brush up on the basics, so that your credibility is never questioned in the blogosphere. Your expertise will shine through only when it’s not hidden behind the clutter of language debris.

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2 Responses to “Correctness gives Credibility: Be careful when you blog”

  1. Dave Harris Says:

    Sage advice. One more: remember to turn on the spellchecker.

  2. Swarnee Says:

    I agree with you Dave, but then spellcheckers have their limitations too. Nothing beats re-reading the blog post before clicking the publish button. its a real turn-off to read something filled with grammatical errors, even though they might be typos.

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