common writing errors

While this isn’t a class in writing, and not even in business writing, it is about starting a business and that, like it or not, includes being able to communicate well. Here are some tips:

Simple is better. Simple writing makes the same impression as a clear and uncluttered room when you enter it.

Bullet points are fine. When a thought is so completely obvious that nobody could ever want more explanation, then you can get away without more explanation. Most bullet points, however, need dressing. Don’t just tick off an entire topic and think you’ve covered it.

The following are common errors in word usage. Think of the feeling you get with fingernails on a chalk board:

  • Then and than. Then is sequential, than is comparison. If we have more of this than that, only then can we move forward.
  • It and its. It’s annoying when an apostrophe shows up where it’s none of its business.
  • Apostrophes.
    • Showing possession: Susan’s book, Bill’s book
    • Showing contraction: don’t, please, didn’t, won’t.
    • Apostrophes don’t have anything to do with plural except for their natural look when it’s the boys’ book, for example. Or the cars’ problems. You have a plural word ending in s, like so many plurals do, and then you add an apostrophe to show possession.
  • Common misspellings. Buisiness makes me unhappy. Use spell check to catch these.
  • Their, there, they’re. Their problem, they’re going to fix it, but not until after they get there.
  • There is, there are. Unless there is just one item, then there are more than one items. Unless there is a set of problems, or a number of problems.

It’s not hard to avoid most of the very common mistakes. If you’re not sure, take a look at this quick Google search for common writing mistakes.