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Common Mistakes in Your Writing | Net Writing

Common Mistakes in Your Writing

  1. Spelling mistakes. Use a spell checker when writing. It is also helpful to use the Mozilla Firefox inline spell checker which will help catch errors if you write directly into your blog. There is no excuse for not using a spell checker which will help catch 85% of spelling mistakes. However, don’t forget that you still need to check because the spell checker can still miss words not used correctly. See: humorous example of spell chequer
  2. Grammar Mistakes. Avoid common errors such as confusing their and there. You’re and your. If you are uncertain, take time to learn these rules, the effort will pay you back through helping you to look more professional. See: 5 Grammar Mistakes to avoid
  3. Punctuation Mistakes. The comma can be tricky. How to use the comma these are the main useage of the comma. Punctuation mistakes to Avoid
  4. Unnecessary words. Avoid unnecessary adjectives.
    • He was sprinting very fast – If you are sprinting by definition, you are going very quickly.
    • It is equally superfluous to say the “wet rain.” – It is rare that water is dry…
  5. Repetition. Some repetition can create emphasis. But, generally, you want to avoid repeating yourself. If you have made a point, don’t keep making it in the same manner.
  6. Lack of Clarity. Good writing is simple and to the point. If a word can be left out without altering the meaning, then do it.
    • BAD: I think that, on reflection, the new version of the English dictionary is mostly, quite a fascinating version. However, I am not entirely certain that it will be well liked by young generation, who generally seem not particularly interested in changes in the usage of English language.
    • WHAT YOU MEAN: The new English Dictionary is fascinating. But, the younger generation will probably not be interested
  7. Repetition of words. It is considered bad practice to keep repeating the same word. In this example, using the word general 3 times creates an unpleasant effect. You should avoid this overuse.
    • BAD: Generally, the comma is misused. In general everyday use, the comma splice often creeps into people’s writing. Generally, I think people should try to learn how to use a comma.
    • GOOD: In many situations, the comma is misused. In general everyday use, the comma splice often creeps into people’s writing. Arguably, people should give much more importance to using the comma.
  8. Moralistic. Do we need the moralistic second sentence? It is usually unnecessary to condemn other people. It is sufficient to point out the error.
    • x made the mistake of using uncopyrighted images. This is shameful and shows his contempt for basic human decency. Photographers should always be given credit
    • x made the mistake of using uncopyrighted images. Photographers should always be given credit
  9. Lack of Reflection. Sometimes it is easy to get carried away with our own writing. Perhaps we have had an extra strong coffee, and we write furiously away thinking it is the best thing since Monty Python. However, on reflection, we realise that maybe it is not so good after all. Never publish without giving time for careful reflection. Leaving an article overnight is a good practice.
  10. Making a bad start. The first sentence is essential for capturing the readers imagination. It should get to the point straight away and give readers a reason for continuing.
    • Avoid: Previously, I have been too busy to write, what with having to deal with my cat’s stomach upset and young Billy’s tennis tournament; however, in this article I am going to look at why it is important to start your article with a bang….
  11. Talking down to Readers. This can make you sound condescending. Avoid writing in the style of a lecturer. Remember, you are not a school master and your readers are not misbehaving school children.
    • BAD: “Bad writers often talk about themselves too much. I never do this because it is a basic error; personally, I have learnt the importance of not talking about oneself too much”
  12. Lack of Focus. Bad writing will flit from one topic to another creating confusion for the reader. Don’t try to cover too many issues in one article. Keep it simple and focused. It is better to write 2 or 3 articles rather than write a complicated article.
  13. Pretension.
    • BAD: In all honesty, I think the underlying avaricious nature of post modern society is, in no way, going to ameliorate the fundamental nihilist void endemic in today’s culture.
    • What you mean: The prevailing materialism of modern society creates a void in many people’s lives.
  14. Excessive Pondering. Good writing should flow. If you over analyse every sentence, it will break the flow of your writing. The best strategy is to write quickly – let ideas flow and then go back and edit, revise and improve. But, don’t start off by aiming for perfection. (useful article: Finding your true voice)
  15. Destructive Self Criticism. Writers often lack self confidence. It is important to avoid beating ourselves up. Consider where you can improve, but don’t be overly negative with your own writing.

2 comments ↓

#1 John on 04.10.08 at 3:26 pm

As always very nice post Tejvan.

#2 Common Misspelt Words | Net Writing on 12.04.10 at 4:32 pm

[...] Things to avoid in writing [...]