If someone asked you to spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious could you? I couldn’t. I had to look it up for this blog. But that’s okay for hard words that you rarely use. What about the everyday kind of words that we should know how to use and spell from learning them in our elementary school classes?
Last week the winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee was crowned. Thirteen-year-old Arvind Mahankali became the champion speller in the English language when he correctly spelled the German-derived word “knaidel.” See Arvind’s heart-pounding final round below:
Spelling and grammar are important, because if you make too many spelling and grammar errors, you just start to look silly and risk losing credibility. Today’s internet marketing tips give you 5 of the most commonly misused or misspelled words.
1. It’s vs. Its
“It’s” is a contraction of “it is” or “it has.”
I love blogging. It’s a great internet marketing technique.
“Its” is a possessive pronoun. Don’t remember what a possessive pronoun is from English class? Words like He, She, They, It. They become possessive when they show ownership of something – words like “His, Hers, Theirs, Its.”
Blogging has its purpose in internet marketing.
Tip: Trying saying the sentence out loud using “it is” to see if it makes sense.
2. Affect vs. Effect
“Affect” is a verb. It’s usually a catalyst for something.
Using keywords people are searching for will positively affect your ranking in Google.
“Effect” is usually a noun.
The effect of misspelled words will make you look silly.
3. Your vs. You’re
“Your” is a possessive pronoun too.
Your internet marketing strategy is awesome.
“You’re” is a contraction of “you are.”
You’re not going to get far without blogging consistently.
4. Than vs. Then
“Than” is used as a comparison between two different things.
Puppies are cuter than kittens.
“Then” can mean a few different things like “in addition to” or “at a point in time,” however, as a rule use “than” when comparing and “then” every other time.
I’m going to take my puppy for a walk, then give him a treat.
5. There vs. Their vs. They’re
“There” refers to a place, either concrete or more abstract.
I want to go to the coffee shop over there on the corner.
In today’s world it’s easy to get from here to there.
“There” can also be used to indicate the existence of something or mention something for the first time.
There are 11 Building Blocks of Internet Marketing.
“Their” indicates possession.
Their small business is thriving.
“They’re” is a contraction of they and are.
They’re a successful team.
It seems to me that today’s social online world is much more forgiving when it comes to spelling and grammar errors. In a world of 140 character count Tweets, status updates, text speak (Txt me b4 u leave 2morrow k?) and constant content, we can easily overlook a spelling error here or there. I’m okay with that, especially when it comes to internet marketing because 1) I’m human therefore I make spelling errors and 2) content written for the web is often just more casual therefore we tend to not be as uptight about errors. However, there is a line that needs to be drawn somewhere. While an error here or there is acceptable, it should be the exception not the norm.
Here are a few quick tips to help you avoid spelling and grammar errors:
- Re-read. Re-wind. Re-write – It’s okay. The backspace key is your friend.
- Read your content backwards.
- Use spell check – Although it doesn’t always catch everything, it’s better than nothing.
- If a word or phrase keeps getting underlined in Microsoft Word, use Shift+F7 to see the thesaurus and find a different word, look up the word at Dictionary.com, or be old school and grab the dictionary off the shelf, blow off the dust, and open it up.
- Take a break – Go do something else and come back to your content later so you’ll read it with fresh eyes.
- Read your content out loud.
- Have someone else proofread your content. They will see things you don’t. (Thanks to my husband for proofreading this blog).
- Forgive yourself in advance. Sometimes you will make a spelling or grammar error. You’re human. Shake it off and move on.
So maybe you haven’t had to diagram sentences since high school or have ever had the need to use the word “scripturient” (by the way, you should – it means “possessing a violent desire to write” :-). The web doesn’t want anything fancy. Keep your writing for internet marketing simple and don’t forget to proofread.
What other spelling and grammar tips do you have?
PS: If you find a spelling or grammar error in this blog, I’ve forgiven myself in advance.