Communicating with your target audience is now easier than ever before with blogs, social media, and email. But with this ease comes prolific writing from some not so good writers.
Writing blogs and regular e-newsletters can increase your presence with your target audience. But mistakes can significantly detract from your credibility: they simply make you look dumb.
While we all hope that the importance of our message will overpower any silly grammatical error, the truth is some people will judge and discredit your message if you make dumb mistakes when you write.
Here are just three of the many common mistakes to avoid when writing:
1) Your vs You’re
This is extremely common among bloggers. All it takes to avoid this is to take a moment to think about what you are trying to say. “Your” is a possessive pronoun, as in “your firm”. “You’re” is a contraction short for “you are”. When you re-read your writing, read the long version “you are” to make sure you are using the right form.
2) It’s vs Its
This is another common mistake as we often use contractions when writing emails or blogs. Again “it’s” is a contraction of “it is” or “it has”. “Its” is a possessive pronoun as in “The firm and its partners have specialist experience”.
Here’s a rule of thumb – repeat your sentence out loud using “it is” instead. If it sounds strange, “its” is lokely the correct choice. And by the way, there is no such word as “its'”.
3) Affect vs Effect
Now this can be a tricky one, and I still stop and think when I use either of these words to ensure I have used the correct one.
“Affect” is a verb, as in “Your ability to communicate clearly will significantly affect your income.”
“Effect” is a noun, as in “The effect of a partner’s marketing ability on their income is well known.”
Simply remembering which is which is a good start, but if you can put “the” in front of it, then it is most likely the noun, as you will not be able to put a “the” in front of the verb.
Professionals who use “effect” as a verb, as in “a strategy to effect a settlement”, need some plain language training!