To create a successful blog, you have to write original content that provides value to your readers. Also, you need to optimize your blog for search engines to attract readers to your blog. In addition, you have to make it easy for your audience to scan your blog posts rapidly by using short sentences, small paragraphs, attractive graphics, smart subheadings, and ample white space.

However, it’s equally important to avoid grammatical errors in your text. These errors affect the quality of your content and undermine your credibility.

Here are a list of seven common mistakes you must avoid in your blog posts and articles:

1. Its or it’s
“Its” is a possessive pronoun and indicates ownership.
“It’s” is a contraction of “it is.”

Examples of correct usage:
“The dog is wagging its tail.”
“It’s enjoying your chocolate-chip cookies.”

Using “it’s” instead of “its” is the most common grammatical error made by bloggers.
If you are not sure which one to use, replace “it’s” with “it is” and read the line aloud.
If it sounds wrong, you can safely replace “it’s” with “its.”

2. Your or you’re
“Your” is a possessive pronoun and indicates ownership.
“You’re” is a contraction of “you are.”

Examples of correct usage:
“I love your blog.”
“You’re doing exceptionally well.”

3. Their, they’re or there
“Their” is a plural possessive pronoun and indicates ownership.
“They’re” is a contraction of “they are.”
“There” is used as a pronoun or about a specific place.

Examples of correct usage:
“They promoted their blogs.”
“They’re returning today.”
“There is always a way.”

4. Than or then
“Than” is used to indicate comparison or contrast.
“Then” means at that time, subsequently or therefore.

Examples of correct usage:
“Her blog is better than mine.”
“She wrote the article and then edited it.”

5. Who or that
Use “who” for people and “that” for animals and things.

Examples of correct usage:
“It was Peter who sent the email.”
“It was the email that caused all the trouble.”

6. Complimentary or complementary
“Complimentary” usually means something given free of charge or expressing a compliment.
“Complementary” is something that improves or completes something else.

Examples of correct usage:
“Click here to download your complimentary e-book.”
“E-commerce will remain complementary to traditional commerce.”

7. Overuse of that
“That” is a pronoun used to represent a person or thing.
“That” is also one of the most commonly over-used words.
For example, there is no need for “that” in this sentence: “He told me that he loved my blog.”

Examples of correct usage:
“He told me he loved my blog.”
“She writes original content that provides value to her readers.”

When in doubt whether to delete “that,” read the sentence out loud with and without “that.”
Then choose the option that sounds right to you.

Check your article for these common grammar errors using the “find” tool before hitting the “publish” button. Unfortunately, you cannot rely on the “spelling and grammar check” tool in your word processor to detect these errors. Therefore, use this grammar checklist to search for these common errors:


Common grammatical errors

Yes / No
1. It’s or its
2. Your or you’re
3. There, they’re or their
4. Then or than
5. That or who
6. Overuse of “that”
7. Complimentary or complementary
Total (out of 7)

Give yourself one point for every “Yes” answer.

Try to score the full seven points before you publish your post.

Though you may use an informal conversational style in your blog to communicate with your readers, you must do all you can to avoid errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Such errors affect your credibility and annoy your readers.

Some of them may not read or link to your blog in future, let alone buy your products.

30 November 2011

Rohi Shetty is a medical doctor, Vipassana meditator, writer, editor, translator and blogger. His short stories and articles have been published online and in print.

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