Do You Make These Writing Mistakes? Punctuation: 2

Over the past few days we’ve been looking closely at some frequent writing mistakes writers make. We’ve established that both native and non-native English speakers have trouble with the English Language and with punctuation. We looked at writing tone, apostrophes, and other punctuation marks in previous articles.

Today we’ll tackle the colon, the semi-colon and the hyphen in this article because they’re quite difficult to use and master. Please remember that these tutorials are not meant to be all inclusive, as we can’t possibly cover all aspects of these punctuation marks in one lesson. This post is simply meant to be something to point you in the right direction to writing English correctly. If you have trouble with common misused words in English, the linked article will help you.


Do You Make These Writing Mistakes? Punctuation: 1

Do you make these writing mistakes with punctuation? In most older British and American education systems, grammar and punctuation were taught as a separate subject (not just one lesson during an English period). This means that if – like me – you grew up in a British colony (where older forms of the British education was taught), or was educated before this current generation, you would’ve spent hours at school learning grammar and punctuation.

Sadly, this form of education is no longer stressed in schools. This is why so-called educated people are graduating from secondary (high) schools with a less-than perfect understanding of punctuation. Living now in England, I’ve witnessed this phenomenon with my own kids. It’s no surprise therefore, that writers don’t quite understand punctuation. This is true for both native and non-native English speakers.

This article is no way meant to be all-inclusive. It’s our attempt to address some of the more pressing problems writers have with punctuation. It’s meant to be basic and is focused only on helping you with the mundane and every-day-use punctuation questions you may have.


Do You Make These Writing Mistakes? The Apostrophe

Do you make these writing mistakes with the apostrophe? It’s prudent to follow-up this grammar and punctuation series with an article about the elusive apostrophe. Even here in England, where it’s claimed the English language was first put together in the way we use it today, people find it difficult to use apostrophes properly.

The apostrophe may be one of the most difficult punctuation marks to get right, but once you study and understand it you won’t get it wrong ever again. It’s like the turning of a key. Once you learn to open that door, you’ll get it.

This article is not meant to be the most definitive, all inclusive tutorial on apostrophes. It was created to provide you with a general understanding of most common apostrophe usages. You should continue your study if you wish to learn more. I’ve addressed some of the major apostrophe issues here. If you study these you should be able to (at least) pretend you’re an expert at using them 🙂

Note: apostrophes are conversational elements of the English grammar. It’s great to use them when writing blog posts and some freelance articles. Internet reading especially benefits from using apostrophes. However, don’t overuse.


Do You Make These Writing Mistakes? Writing Tone

Do you make these writing mistakes below? I’m sure you do. We’re all guilty.

We’re putting together a definitive series of articles to show you some glaring mistakes you should avoid making when writing for the Internet. Most of these articles will deal with word-usage, editing (my speciality), punctuation, grammar etc. This introductory piece was created to set the tone right from the start. I think it makes perfect sense to address mistakes in writing tone and approach before we tackle the other more pressing elements we mentioned above.

These posts will target both native English speakers, and writers who write (and speak) English as a second language. We’re all guilty of the same writing mistakes when we write for the web.

You know it’s said that you’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Why one would want to catch flies in the first place baffles me. Why you’d want to waste an expensive commodity such as honey catching insects is even more mind-boggling. However, the saying still holds true. You’ll definitely attract more readers by being nice – as opposed to being abrasive. I’ve mentioned this before in my writing; some blog owners leave me feeling slapped across the face when I’ve finished reading their posts. Needless to say, I don’t visit them very often because I don’t want to feel bad about myself and my freelance writing/editing business.


A New Series to Help Writers Improve their Use of English Language

I was a little surprised when Oni told me what the top query from freelance writers was. In fact, my surprise was compounded when he said that the recurring question came from both native and non-native English speakers.

Fortunately, Oni and I can both (in different ways) completely understand this question from our unique perspectives.

Oni is a young Nigerian whose second language is English, yet for his age and experience, he writes English with remarkable skill and accuracy. On the other hand, I’m a native English speaker who not only taught English in secondary (high) school, but later trained and worked in London specifically to teach English to foreign speakers.

And what’s the top concern Oni gets from freelance writers all over the world? It’s their yearning to improve their use of the English language.

It makes sense that if we’re able to use the English language better, we can polish our marketing pages, our ‘hire me’ pages, our e-Books etc. A good command of the language will enable us to say exactly what we want and reach potential clients in a way not many other writers can.

I see this fact demonstrated on many of my clients’ blogs when I do editing work for them. They have so much talent, so much to give, and are so beautifully apt in their chosen niche. Yet, because they can’t command the language to say exactly what they want it to, in the way they want, they’re having a hard time reaching their potential and converting their skill into payment.

Oni and I both want to help, so we discussed the possibility of a grammar series aimed specifically to help you hone your writing skill, tone, use of misused words, and punctuation skill.

The Mistakes Writers Make series will kick off this week with four separate parts.

  1. Writing tone
  2. The Apostrophe
  3. Punctuation part 1 (exclamation mark, full stop, ellipses, brackets)
  4. Punctuation part 2 (colon, semi-colon, hyphen)

You can be assured that once you read these articles, you’ll want to bookmark them for constant reference.

We hope to continue the series – maybe on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. It’s up to you and what your thoughts, feedback and requirements are.

Make sure you stand up, stand out, and let us know what you’re having problems with. Who knows, your issue could be addressed in an upcoming article!

P.S You can now find this page here. Scroll down to the middle of the page for the collection.