Ask people about their favourite lessons back when they were in school, and they’ll tend to mention a preference for either Maths or English. I preferred English (funnily enough!), but those who professed more of an affinity for numbers always used to say the same thing about Maths; that “you know where you are with it. With numbers, you’re either right or wrong.”
Well, you can be “either right or wrong” with certain aspects of English too, namely when it comes to spelling and grammar!
If you’re writing a blog, or an e-book, or your first novel, please, please please make sure you use an editor, or at least ask a friend to read through it before you publish! The internet is a wonderful thing, but it has definitely increased the amount of error-laden writing available to read.
Of course, with so much error-laden writing about, you’ll stand out by making sure yours is perfect. After all, as much as people like to say it doesn’t matter if there’s a spelling mistake, people will notice all the same - and they’ll unconsciously judge the quality of your work by the quality of your writing. Not only that, errors will distract your readers from your all-important message.
As a bit of fun (not a patronising lecture, honestly!), to paraphrase Julie Andrews, here are a few of my favourite errors...
“I should of done that…”
It’s “should have”, sometimes abbreviated to “should’ve”, which is where the confusion comes from. But trust me, it’s “should have”.
“You look like your thinking about something interesting.”
It’s “you’re”, as in “you are”. Simple really; if you mean “you are”, use “you’re”. If you don't mean "you are", use "your".
“That phased me a bit.”
The word you’re looking for is “fazed”. This means disturb, bother or embarrass; a phase is a stage, or a step.
“You must have been on tenderhooks!”
This is a common one, but the word is “tenterhooks”, meaning you’re filled with anxious anticipation or stress. “Tenderhooks” isn’t a word…in fact my spellchecker is trying to correct it as I write!
If you know someone who could do with an extremely brief English lesson, please feel free to forward this post to them! In the meantime, if your words could do with a once-over, or you’d like new ones to be written especially for you, why not get in touch?