English Writing Mistakes To Avoid

Its – possessive pronoun (‘The puppy played with its toy.’)

It’s – contraction of “it is” or “it has” (‘I think it’s going to rain.’)

  1. There vs. Their vs. They’re

There – an adverb; in or at that place (‘I hope you don’t go there.’)

Their – a possessive pronoun (‘Their work is very sloppy.’)

They’re – contraction of “they are” (‘They’re going to perform for us.’)

Lose vs. Loose


Lose – a verb; to suffer the loss of something (‘I don’t want to lose more weight.’)

Loose – an adjective; free or released from attachment (‘She prefers loose clothing.’)

  1. Whose vs. Who’s

Whose – possessive form of who (‘Do you know whose boat that was?’)

Who’s – a contraction for “who is” (Who’s going to clean all this mess?’)

  1. Your vs. You’re

Your – possessive pronoun (Your job is very exciting.’)

You’re – contraction of “you are” (You’re going to amaze them today.’)


  1. Write vs. Right

Write – verb; to express in writing (Write a letter to Mom’)

Right – adjective; correct/justified/opposite of left (‘It’s the right way of doing things.’)

  1. Me vs. I

“Me” is the object and “I” is the subject.

(‘They are going to send me a package.’)

(Ali and I are going to the beach.’)

(‘Many thanks from Ashley and me.’)

  1. Effect vs. Affect

Effect – noun; produced by a cause/a result of (‘The rules are in effect as of today.’)

Affect – verb; to act on/to produce a chance (‘The cold weather has affected my health.’)


  1. Gone vs. Went

Went – past tense of the verb “to go”

Gone – past participle of the verb “to go”

(‘I went to the store. I should have gone to the open market instead.’)

  1. Accept vs. Except

Accept – verb; to take or receive (‘I accept the challenge.’)

Except – preposition; excluding/save/but (‘Everyone except me decided to go.’)

  1. Could of vs. Could have

“Could of” is often misused perhaps because it sounds so close to “could’ve” which is a contraction of “could have”. It is not correct!

(‘I wonder if I could have majored in English.’)

  1. Irregardless vs. Regardless

“Irregardless” is not a valid word!

(‘It’s not going to happen regardless of what we do.’)

  1. Here vs. Hear

Here – adverb; in this place (‘I am planning on staying here.’)

Hear – verb; to be within earshot (‘I do not want to hear that excuse anymore.’)


Business Writing That Works!


  1. To vs. Too vs. Two

To – preposition (‘You should be prepared to go.’)

Too – adverb; also (‘They want to perform too.’)

Two – noun; one plus one (‘I want you two to make a decision.’)

  1. Then vs. Than

Then – adverb; at the time (‘I will eat, and then I will go.’)

Than – used after comparative adjectives (‘He is taller than she is.’)

  1. Were vs. Where vs. We’re

Were – past tense of verb “to be” (‘We were happy.’)

Where – adverb; in or at what place (Where did you go?’)

We’re – contraction of “we are” (We’re going to win.’)


  1. Plurals don’t need apostrophe

The most common error is to put an apostrophe when you form plurals for a noun.

(“cat’s”, “dog’s”, “ABC’s” is incorrect; “cats”, “dogs”, “ABCs” is correct)

  1. Ending sentences with prepositions or Adding Them When We Shouldn’t.

It is a common trend now to use prepositions incorrectly to end phrases and questions.

Incorrect – (‘Where are we at with our plans?’) (‘Where is the movie theatre at?’)

Correct – (‘Where are we with our plans?’) (‘Where is the movie theatre?’)

Examples of when we end a sentence with a preposition:

Incorrect – (‘Who should I give it to?)

Correct – (‘To whom should I give it?)

Strictly speaking, this is grammatically incorrect, but these days, this rule is going out of fashion as we move to less formal communication all round. 🙂

  1. The dangling participle

The dangling participle can seriously change the flow and meaning of your writing.

Misinterpreted – (‘Cooking in the pan, Anna decided it was time to turn the vegetables.’)

It sounds as though Anna herself was being cooked in the pan!

Intended – (‘Anna decided it was time to turn the vegetables cooking on the stove.’)

  1. Comma splice

This error occurs when two independent clauses are connected by only a comma. Remember the cry of every school teacher, “Commas are NOT sticky!”.

Example – (‘My family bakes together nearly every night, we then get to enjoy everything we make together.’)

Correction 1 – (‘My family bakes together nearly every night. We then get to enjoy everything we make together.’) The comma splice has been corrected by breaking the sentence into two separate sentences.

Correction 2 – (‘My family bakes together nearly every night, and we then get to enjoy everything we make together.’) The comma splice has been corrected by adding a coordinating conjunction and a comma.



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