You’ve seen it once and we’re sure you’ll see it again: someone completely misses the point and meaning of an article because of a grammatical error. “But that’s not the right ‘their’!” they scream, “Your entire point is invalid!”
The words you use and how you use them making a serious impression on people, and whether that’s a good or bad impression is completely dependent on how well you edit something. Even small, seemingly meaningless grammatical errors can make an otherwise good article or piece of professional writing look like a mess. It might seem kind of silly, but words can make you look bad – so it’s up to you to make sure they don’t.
Here are just a few really, really common mistakes you should watch out for in your everyday writing.
Bring and Take
You think you know the difference, right? Most of the time, you’re probably correct. However, think carefully when you use these words (simply because people confuse them when they’re talking). Someone BRINGS something to you – someone TAKES something away. So you would never say, “Please take your report to my office” if you’re actually in your office since someone is moving something to you. However, you could tell someone to take a copy of an invoice and file it away.
“Alot” isn’t a Word
Spell check has gotten really good at catching this mistake – in fact, Microsoft Word isn’t very happy about me having the wrong spelling in the title of this paragraph – but in case you have spell check turned off or you’re not writing a document in a fancy word processor, “alot” is not a word, and it’s a mistake people are serious sticklers about. If you have a ton of something, it’s “a lot of grapes.” There is no other way to spell it.
Affect & Effect
These are probably two of the trickiest words out there. Not only do they sound the same if you’re saying them quickly, they’re a simple letter apart. They are tricky words, and people will cringe if you use the wrong one. Try this on for size: “affect” is also an “action” (so they start with the same letter), and an “affect” causes an “effect”. Thus: “the new guidelines will AFFECT our bottom line, and the EFFECT will be more money”. Study them, and study them well.
Apostrophes can be tricky (almost as tricky as spelling the word “apostrophes”), but that doesn’t give a professional business owner like yourself the excuse not to know the difference. Apostrophes only indicate one of two things: missing letters or possession. Period. There is no other reason to use an apostrophe. So, yes, if your son owns a baseball, it is your son’s baseball; but your daughter does not want a bunch of kitten’s. Since “kittens” is plural, it doesn’t need an apostrophe. In addition, “it’s” is one of those words with missing letters. If you’re using “it’s” and saying “it is” doesn’t make sense in place of “it’s,” you’re doing it wrong.
Grammar can be tricky and people will judge you for it; fortunately, a fine tooth comb and a good editor will make your professional writing as classy as it should be.
I am an error
And I will reveal myself
After you press send
– Arika Okrent ; source(http://www.ragan.com/Main/Articles/The_winner_of_the_National_Grammar_Day_Haiku_conte_46319.aspx)