The English language is tricky, and rules can change. That’s why it’s so easy to make writing errors that can make you look unprofessional. A resume, email message, web page, blog post, report, presentation, or any other written document that is filled with grammatical errors and misspelled words will reflect negatively on your abilities, your intelligence, and your attention to detail – all of which matter in business and in your career.
I’m not talking about the occasional typo or missed punctuation error. After all, you should never proofread your own work because you will miss mistakes. However, few of us have professional proofreaders to check our work for us. I’m an author and even the proofreaders hired by and paid for by my publishers miss typos that end up in my books. No one is perfect.
However, that’s not the point I’m trying to make in this article. What I want you to understand is that there are some very common writing mistakes that people make again and again, but you can avoid them by reviewing the infographic from Walkerstone below and having some handy grammar resources at your fingertips.
For example, people confuse affect and effect all the time. I see reign and rein swapped frequently, too. In terms of punctuation errors, people often forget to include commas before conjunctions when the conjunctions are used to join to independent clauses. I also see the overuse of commas all the time! The list goes on and on, and I make them when I’m writing, too. Particularly when I’m under a time crunch and can’t proofread my work as closely as I’d like to. There are never enough hours in the day, right?
When in doubt, a quick Google search will provide answers to all of your grammar questions. Grammarist and Grammar Girl are two of my favorite sites for grammar tips when I forget specific rules or want to check that a rule is still valid. For example, when I was in high school, we still learned to never split an infinitive or end a sentence with a preposition. Neither of those rules are taught in school anymore.
Finally, always consider the medium that you’re writing for and your audience. A blog post might be fine with grammatical errors that are used intentionally in order to make the text sound more like speaking. However, those errors would probably not be acceptable in a report you’re presenting to your boss.