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The Top 10 Most Common Editing Mistakes Bloggers Make

Chandra Clarke | November 2, 2009 | 18 Comments
Blogging 101
The Top 10 Most Common Editing Mistakes Bloggers Make
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I’ve always said that one of the greatest things about the web is that you can publish instantly. I’ve also always said that one of the worst things about the web is… that you can publish instantly.

What with easy to use software like WordPress or TypePad, and integration of these platforms into programs like Microsoft Word, it’s altogether too easy to dash something off, hit “Publish” and carry on with your day. The result can sometimes be an error-riddled blog copy that can make you look foolish and unprofessional.

Thus, it’s a good idea to take your time when blogging. If you can, write your post a day or two in advance, and save a draft. Come back to it just before you’re scheduled to publish it, and have another look. You’ll have, as we say in the business, “fresh eyes.”

It’s also a good idea to double check any comments you’re writing on a blog post, especially if you’re writing comments in part to subtly bring your own blog to the attention of potential readers.

Here are the top 10 things to watch for:

10. There/Their

These commonly confused words have two entirely different meanings. “There” refers to location, as in “You want to put the cursor over there.” “Their” refers to ownership, as in “The two men got into their car.”

9. Here/Hear

I quite often see posts that say something like, “I here that Apple will be releasing new iTunes software.” The correct word in this case is “hear,” as “here” refers to location.

8. You’re/Your

This is a big one, and it’s especially common in comments. You see things like, “I loved you’re post on meta tags!” The writer meant to say “your.” The “you’re” with the apostrophe is actually a contraction of the two words “you” and “are.”

7. Tense Agreement

Keeping your tenses straight is particularly important if you’re writing about current or complex events – you don’t want to confuse your readers! Here’s an example of a problematic sentence: “In the 1950s, men were responsible for bringing home money, whereas women have to stay at home and look after the baby.” In this case, the “have” should be “had.”

6. Misuse of Articles

Articles are important in English, and people who speak English as a second language (ESL) struggle with them, especially when combined with acronyms. For instance, an ESL writer might be tempted to write “Officials at the NASA said today that… “

5. Overuse of Transitions

It can be hard not to overanalyze our own writing, especially when it comes to transitioning from one idea to another. Sometimes, it seems like our transition is too abrupt, so we stick one of those handy phrases like “furthermore” or “in addition” in there. Use these sparingly!

4. Overstatement

A little bit of drama goes a long way. Try to avoid overstating your case (i.e., “This move by Company X is the biggest business mistake of the century!!) as people will stop taking you seriously.

3. Accidentally Repeating Words

This is most commonly found with small words like “it” or “of.” What’s worse, bloggers rarely ever catch this type of error when proofreading a post they’ve written. For some reason, our brain tricks us into reading right over issues like this in our own writing. Having someone glance over your work will greatly improve your chances of catching a renegade word now and then.

2. Apostrophe Misuse

Sadly, this writing error is creeping into everything – blog’s, store sign’s, even respected publication’s. You see what I did there? The apostrophe is not required, unless you’re indicating the possessive, i.e., Bob’s Emporium.

And the number one problem?

1. Relying On Spell Check

Built-in spelling and grammar checking software work, but only to a point. Software isn’t very good at context, and it often misses things, like “field” versus “filed” or “form” versus “from.” It can even introduce errors if you’re not careful to double check the suggested revisions. Software is good for a general tidy-up, but as of yet, nothing beats a review by a real human. Ideally, you also want to get someone else to edit your material, as it is very difficult to catch your own mistakes.

Chandra Clarke is the founder, co-owner, and president of, an online English-language editing and proofreading company. She also writes a humor blog at
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