I’m no grammar nazi, I’ve never pulled a fellow blogger up on grammar mistakes or typos, my personal English skills aren’t good enough to be criticising others. A truly horrendous mistake I’d been making was pointed out to me – I’d been writing stationary instead of stationery when talking about cute notebooks and bullet journals, I’d even been reaching out to stationery brands using the wrong spelling. It was utterly cringeworthy to find out how wrong I’d been, and I was forever grateful to a blogger for sliding into my DMs and saying “I think you mean…” in a very nice way. So, in the spirit of helping each other, rather than being picky and mean, here’s some typical grammar mistakes I often see. We blog to be creative rather than feel like we’re at school, but for those of us who like to work with brands, this might help you to be taken more seriously.
1.) Phantom apostrophes
If something is plural, you don’t need to add an apostrophe. For example, “I’ve got lots of blog post’s coming up this week” is wrong – posts is plural, you have multiple posts. You don’t need to add an apostrophe, so it should just say “I’ve got lots of blog posts coming up this week.” If you’re saying you like someone’s videos, you like the new makeup ranges, you are going to eat lots of pancakes at the weekend, these are all plurals that have no need for an apostrophe because….
2.) Apostrophes are possessive
You only need to use an apostrophe when you’re showing the reader what something belongs to. If you ever feel the urge to place an apostrophe and aren’t sure if it’s a phantom one or not, ask yourself – who does this belong to? “I love Kelly’s latest post” tells the reader that the post belongs to Kelly by the use of an apostrophe and ‘s’ next to her name. If the thing that something belongs to has an ‘s’ on the end, you don’t need to add another apostrophe and ‘s’. You just place the apostrophe at the end of the name – e.g “Charles’ blog post on shoes is amazing.”
3.) Its and It’s
This is one that I’m always having to double check myself. It’s mean ‘it is’, but can also mean ‘it has’. “It’s raining outside” means it is raining outside. ‘Its’ without an apostrophe means belonging to (confusing after we just talked about possessive apostrophes, I know). “The Olympus Pen is noted for its ability to take great flatlays.” No apostrophe needed, the ability belongs to the Olympus Pen.
4.) They’re, There, Their
One that gets to the best of us. They’re means ‘they are’ – “Let me tell you about these bloggers, they’re the nicest ladies, ever.” There means in or at a place, whilst their is possessive and belonging to someone or something – “Have you been to Sketch? I was there last week taking photos of their amazing toilets.”
5.) To and Too
This is quite a common one, but it also happens by mistake as a typo, we meant to say too but missed that crucial second o off. To describes a destination or action – “when I get home tonight I’m going to write a lot of blog posts.” Too is the same as saying ‘also’ or ‘as well’ – “I’m going to that event too, shall we go together?” or shows the reader there’s an extreme – “It’s too dark to take blog photos today.”
Ways to sharpen up grammar and typos
- Proof read before publishing – something we’re all guilty of not doing enough of
- Get a friend or lover to proof-read. A second pair of eyes can be helpful
- Use free software like Grammarly
- Read this excellent how-to grammar post to sharpen up your writing skills.
- Also read this one.