Between all the emails, blog posts and countless other pieces of content modern brands need to create, businesses have never had to produce so much written material. Fine, if you are a news publisher with a team of writers and editors, but what about those of you in industrial services, technical fields and other industries.
Today’s marketing environment demands perfect writing from everyone, but most of us are not professional writers.
In fact, most of us do not even realise we are making fundamental mistakes as we write. So we asked our team of proofreaders to tell us what the most common writing mistakes are and why they are so tricky to spot in your own content.
The top 7 writing mistakes you are probably making
First, though, let us start with the top seven writing mistakes our team of proofreaders say they come across most often. If you read any amount of content online, you will have come across all of these and probably shaken your head in disapproval on various occasions.
The thing is: are you sure not making these mistakes, though?
- Typos: When your fingers do not type what your mind is thinking.
- Spelling mistakes: When you simply fail to spell a word correctly.
- Word misuse: Do ever get affect vs effect wrong? How about their, there or they are? Or maybe you get caught out by breathe vs breath, lead vs led or common phrases such as “hear, hear” (not “here, here”).
- Double words: When you type the same same word twice for some reason.
- Apostrophes: Using apostrophes when they are not needed, putting them in the wrong place or not using them at all when you should.
- Pronouns: Using the wrong pronoun (I, you, we, who, whom, etc.) or matching the wrong pronoun to its previous noun and/or quantity.
- Punctuation errors: Misusing commas, semi-colons and structuring sentences incorrectly with punctuation.
Of course, there are more technical issues that are very common, such as using the wrong verb conjugation (e.g.: wasn’t vs weren’t) but even the best writers fall victim of typos and the other issues listed above – precisely why proofreading services are so important.
There is a reason publication pay editors to run through content before it is published.
Why are these writing mistakes so tricky?
We have asked this question before on our blog and it is not a reflection of your writing skills or intellect. To borrow an explanation, Nick Stockton who wrote for Wired back in 2014:
“The reason typos get through is not because we are stupid or careless, it is because what we are doing is actually very smart, explains psychologist Tom Stafford, who studies typos of the University of Sheffield in the UK.”
That might sound counterintuitive, but our brains are very good at seeing what they want to see when it comes to words – otherwise, reading would take an eternity. When you are reading text, your brain already anticipates what the following words are going to be, based on the context of what you have already read, so your mind will quite easily read “stop” when you have actually typed “stip” by mistake.
We also do not read words we already know in full; we actually read the shape of words and break longer words into smaller shapes, which again leaves a large margin for error.
Takeaway: you cannot proofread your own content and even proofreading the work of others can be tricky if you rush through it or do not know what you are doing.
Our team of dedicated professionals can help you identify the best proofreading services for your business. Get in touch with them today.