12 Simple Grammar Mistakes to Leave Behind in 2017

Dec 06, 2017 admin

Can you believe December is already here? My favorite time of the year brings about a few of my favorite things, including holiday decorations, oversized sweaters and snow flurries. December also signifies 2017 is coming to an end and New Year’s resolutions are on the horizon. 

One resolution almost everyone should work on - especially if you work in marketing and communications - is improving grammar skills. Correct grammar use often falls by the wayside. Rather than relying on a colleague to correct you, do yourself a favor and brush up on your editing skills with these simple grammar tips. 

So, without further ado, here are 12 common grammar mistakes that we should seriously leave behind in 2017:

  • i.e. vs. e.g.: AP Style refers to i.e. as an abbreviation of “that is” and e.g. meaning “for example.” The stylebook also requires that a comma follow these abbreviations.
  • Semicolons: Semicolons should be used to separate two complete sentences.
  • That vs. which: That and which are used when referring to an inanimate object or an animal without a name. The catch? Use that to introduce essential clauses; use which to introduce nonessential clauses. Another tip: That needs no comma and which uses commas.
  • Serial commas: Use commas to separate elements in a series. Commas are not needed before the conjunction in a simple series. For example, 2017 was filled with good friends, good food and good wine.
  • Who vs. whose vs. which: Who only refers to people. Whose refers to both people and things. Which only refers to things.
  • Affect vs. effect: As a verb, affect means "to influence" and effect means "to cause." Affect shouldn’t be used as a noun, but effect can. Effect as a noun means result.
  • Modifiers: Make sure modifiers are placed next to the words they are intended to modify.
  • Where: Where refers to places, not times, books, etc.
  • On vs. about: Use on when referring to spatial objects; use about when referring to non-spatial references.
  • “On” when referring to a date/day: Don’t use the word on before a date or day of the week.
  • Such as vs. unlike: Such as should be used to introduce examples. Unlike introduces comparison.
  • Numbers: Write out numbers one through nine; use numerals for 10 and above. When referencing a percentage, use numerals with “percent,” not “%.”

I’ve designated 2018 as my year of grammatical accuracy, and you should too. When you pay attention to your writing and edit thoroughly, not only will you lock in the coveted title of the go-to proofreader in the office, but you will also ensure your written content is professional and polished before you share it with a wider audience.  

For more grammar fun, check out the following InkHouse blog posts:

Also, be sure to follow @APStylebook on Twitter to stay up-to-date on all things grammar. 

Topics: Writing, Grammar

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