We’ve all come across it at some point or another: content that has obviously been written by someone who failed English class or who isn’t a native English speaker.
As many internet users will attest, nothing turns a good website bad like limited readability and poor grammar.
Here are the top 5 grammar mistakes that content writers make.
1. Changes in Tense
Whatever tense you start writing with should be the tense you keep throughout the entire piece. It’s sometimes necessary to change tense in order to show changes in time, but unnecessary shifts are just confusing.
INCORRECT: When I get up in the morning, I always drank coffee before work.
CORRECT: When I get up in the morning, I always drink coffee before work.
2. Subject & Verb Agreement
It’s important to remember that the verb of a sentence MUST always agree with the subject.
If you have a subject that is plural, then you must have a verb that is plural. Likewise, for singular and first person subjects, the verbs must be singular and first person.
INCORRECT: I cannot stand to walk barefoot and have dirt stuck to my feet.
CORRECT: I cannot stand to walk barefoot and have dirt sticking to my feet.
3. Dangling Modifiers
A modifier is a phrase, word or clause that describes something else. When the subject being modified is missing from the sentence, it can often lead the sentence to have an unintended meaning.
In some cases, the modifier is misplaced. This happens when the subject and modifier are not together.
INCORRECT: “The girl was consoled by the nurse who had just taken an overdose of sleeping pills.” – The Writing Center
CORRECT: The girl who had just taken an overdose of sleeping pills was consoled by the nurse.
4. Possessives Mistakes
We typically use an apostrophe or apostrophe+s in order to show possession, however, misused apostrophes are a frequent mistake that content writers make. The point of possessives is to illustrate ownership, and the rules are actually pretty simple.
- Plural Noun = Add Apostrophe After “s”
- Singular Noun Ending in S = Add Apostrophe After “s”
- Singular Noun = Add Apostrophe+s
INCORRECT: “Eating an apple a day will keep the doctor away” is nothing but an old wive’s tale.
CORRECT: “Eating an apple a day will keep the doctor away” is nothing but an old wives’ tale.
5. Passive Voice
The absolute worst, and most common, grammar mistake made by content writers is writing in a ‘passive voice.’
In the English language, the majority of sentences are active i.e. there is a subject doing the action.
However, a passive sentence is where a subject has an action done it to. Passive sentences usually occur when the object is at the beginning, instead of the end.
INCORRECT: The oven should be cleaned every month.
CORRECT: You should clean the oven every month.
Avoid These Common Grammar Mistakes
As a freelance writer, these top 5 grammar mistakes are enough to turn any client away from your work.
No matter how great your grammar, style and word usage skills are, it never hurts for a content writer to review the rules of grammar.
If you’re ready for a review or have a few things that you’re interested in looking up, head on over to the Crowd Content University and look around.
If you’d prefer to hire a professional content writer for your website, be sure to get in touch with us.
What are some common mistakes you see? Let me know in the comments section below.