There are a number of errors to watch out for when it comes to editing your content, content marketing is or should be the cornerstone of any online business. But with so much competition in most industries, it is essential to offer the best content possible content, which means proofreading it carefully. Here are some of the main areas to watch out for.
Check spelling, and in particular the correct versions of “their, there and they’re,” “here and hear,” and so on. This is particularly important if you dictate your work, or transcribe interviews and other spoken content.
There are a number of grammatical considerations to keep in mind. The first is sentence structure. Keep things short and simple. People tend to scan data online rather than read it word for word, so don’t slow them down with clunky clauses and phrases, and lots of punctuation.
Losing track of sentence structure
Sometimes you start off a sentence in one way, then lose your chain of thought and end it poorly. You might also repeat words because you’ve lost track of what you are trying to express. A program like Ginger will help you rephrase your sentences to get you out of your tangles.
It is important to know whether your subject is singular or plural, so you can match the verb to the subject. This can be especially tricky when the subject is more than one word. Example:
The little girl in the red coat was standing on the corner.
The man and the woman were standing on the corner.
The use of apostrophes
“Its and it’s” and “there and they’re” often cause issues. The apostrophe is a signal that one or more letters have been left out, such as “doesn’t” and “can’t.” In both cases, the middle letter in the word “not” has been left out. “It’s” is therefore “it is,” with the “i” in the word “is” left out. “Its” on the other hand, is a possessive pronoun, which refers to something belonging to “it.”
The cat’s fur = Its fur
The book’s cover = Its cover, as in, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”
Most confusing of all is possessives with an s on the end.
The business’s inventory (this refers to one business).
The businesses’ conference headquarters (this refers to more than one business).
“Your and you’re” are another common source of confusion.
“Your” = it belongs to you, as in “your book.”
“You’re” = “You are,” such as “You’re a great reader.”
Beware of jargon and difficult vocabulary that might be confusing. If in doubt, choose a simpler word or phrase. Use Hemingway to determine the reading level you are writing for and other issues that you need to watch out for when it comes to non-fiction writing. Two of the main ones are:
- Using too many adverbs – These can be considered too flowery, or wasted words
Using the passive voice – In general, try to write in an active voice. But it can be useful in some cases. Compare:
- “The man stole the masterpiece.”
- “The masterpiece was stolen (by the man).”
In most cases, we will probably not know who stole it, so version one is fine for a news report.
The longer the sentence, the more complicated the punctuation. Therefore, keep sentences short, or pay special attention to any longer sentences to ensure you don’t leave out anything. Punctuation is a signal to pause, pay attention, and so on. It can also give additional information, such as adding parentheses to give additional information. Example: “She finally answered (after five minutes of silence) that she did not recall what had happened.”
Another area to watch out for are quotations marks, such as when you are giving a direct quote from a source. “This was the best fundraising run we’ve ever had,” John Smith, head of the charity, said when interviewed after the race. In American English, commas and periods should appear inside the quotation marks.
Minor errors can all add up, so take the time to proofread your work carefully.