If you proofread your written material yourself, or if you do some proofing for others, here are some of the more common errors to watch for:
- Misusing its and it’s (latter always and only means it is or it has)
- I feel badly (should be bad)
- Where I’m at (delete at)
- Off of (delete of)
- Singular noun with plural pronoun, adjective or verb, or vice versa.
- “Since” or “because” – “Since” always applies to time. Incorrect use: “Since you’re not going to the convention, I’m not going either.”
- At this point in time (write now)
- At the present time (ditto)
- Needless to say (don’t say it)
- It goes without saying (ditto)
- Not to mention the fact that… (ditto)
- reveal your true essence
- subtle nuance
- very unique
- plan ahead
- plan for the future
- past history
- tomorrow morning at 11 a.m.
- unanticipated surprises
- hypothetical possibilities
- In a loud voice, he yelled…
Wrong choice of words:
- “Ask a friend to loan you…” A common error! Loan is a noun, lend is a verb.
- “We may have become complaisant about it.” (Means “willing to do for others.”) Correct word is complacent (self-satisfied).
- “…a well-educated populous all over the globe.” (Adj. meaning “thickly populated.”) Correct word is populace (a noun meaning “general public”).
- “Management styles are beginning to waiver.” (Means “intentional relinquishment of some right.”) Correct word is waver (sway to and fro).
- “The foreseeable future.” Strunk & White, in The Elements of Style, called it “a cliché and a fuzzy one,” asking, “How much of the future is foreseeable? Ten minutes? Ten years? Any of it? By whom is it foreseeable? Seers? Experts? Everybody?”