10 Common Writing Errors You Must Avoid

10 Writing Errors You Must Avoid - English Hub

In English, while writing, many people (including native speakers of English) often make very silly mistakes with certain words. Here is the list of some commonly error-possible words one should make sure to use in the right way.

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1. It's - Its 

"It's" is the contraction of "it is" or "it has", while "its" is the possessive form.

"It's a popular restaurant."
(It is a popular restaurant.)

"It's been awarded 19 points."
(It has been awarded 19 points.)

"It's known for its vegan food."
(possessive - "its” refers to the vegan food of the restaurant.){alertInfo}

2. You're - Your

"You're" is the abbreviated form of "you are".
"Your" is the possessive form used to show ownership.

"You're an amazing person." (You are an amazing person.)
"Your turtleneck sweater is too big." (The turtleneck sweater that belongs to you is too big.){alertInfo}

3. They're - Their - There

"They're" is the abbreviated form of "they are".
"Their" is the possessive adjective.
"There” refers to a place or as the subject in a sentence.

"They're constantly travelling." (They are constantly travelling.)
"Their house is huge." (The house that belongs to them is huge.)
"There are two tigers roaming in their garden." Look, right there. {alertInfo}

4. There's - Theirs

"There's" is the abbreviated form of "there is" or "there has".

"There's a rocket launch site in the valley." (There is...)
"There's been strange noise all the time." (There has been...){alertInfo}

"Theirs" is the possessive form relating to "their".
"Which spaceship is theirs?"
"The pink one, over there."{alertInfo}

5. Who - Whose

"Who's" is the abbreviated form of "who is" or "who has".
"Whose" is a pronoun.

"Who's stargazing over there?" (Who is stargazing over there?)
"Who's built that treehouse?" (Who has built that treehouse?)
"Whose telescope is that?" (Who does that telescope belong to?){alertInfo}

6. Who - Whom

Use "who" for the subject and "whom" for the object of the verb.

"Who nibbled on my cookie?" (Who is the subject of the verb "nibbled")
"Whom did she offer the cookie?" (Whom is the object of the verb "offer"){alertInfo}

In practice, also use "whom" with prepositions, in expressions such as "some of whom", "most of whom", and in expressions like "To whom it may concern" (in a letter of reference).

"To whom did the teacher deliver the good news?"
"The students, none of whom had been abroad before, were very excited."
"The group consists of ten students, all of whom never took a term abroad."{alertInfo}

7. Should of / Could of / Would of

"Should of", "could of" and "would of" are always incorrect.
The correct form is "should have", "could have" and "would have".

"You should have gone to the hospital."
"I would have accompanied you."
"You could have broken your ankle."{alertInfo}

8. To - Too - Two

Different but commonly confused because they sound the same.

"to" is a preposition.
"Too" means "also". 
"Two" is the number.

"He rushed to the bakery."
"I love bread," she said. "Me too," he replied.
That's how two bread lovers fall in love.{alertInfo}


9. Then - Than

Use "then" to show the sequence. 
Use "than" in comparisons. 

"They went home, then had breakfast."
"Feeling better than before, they wanted more."{alertInfo}

10. Between you and I/me

We use "l" as the subject, and "me" as the object of the verb.

"You and I should go to the movies together sometime."
Not "you and me because "T" is also the subject of the verb "go".{alertInfo}

After prepositions, we need the object form of "1" which is "me".

"Between you and me, this movie is painful to watch."
In this situation, "you and me" follows the preposition "between".{alertInfo}


Three tips to avoid writing mistakes

1. Keep it simple

  • Write in short, clear sentences and try to stick to one idea per sentence.
  • Avoid more than 15-20 words in each sentence.
  • Avoid passive forms, i.e., whenever possible, make the subject do something:

The book was written by Shannon. Shannon wrote the book.
Miller was given high praise by the council. The council gave high praise to Miller.

2. Avoid wordy phrases

as a matter of fact in fact
in order for for
in order to to
each and every each
circle around circle
end result result
future ahead future
at the current time now, currently
all of all
in a similar manner similarly
free gift gift
revert back revert
repeat again repeat
whether or not whether
the majority of most, etc.

3. Check for typos and writing mistakes

  • Read what you write aloud to catch any words.
  • Leave for a while and come back with a fresh mind to review it a second time.
  • Be careful, automated spell checkers oftentimes won't catch spelling mistakes with homonyms, (e.g., they're, their, there) or certain typos (like "he" for "the").
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