Word Crimes: Are You Guilty of These Grammar Mistakes?

word crimes guilty blogger

Word crimes.

Are you guilty?

(I know I am.)

English is such a complex language, it would be impossible to avoid them all.

In this post, I am going to cover some of the most common mistakes. And some resources to help you improve your blogging grammar.

Common Grammar Errors in Blogging

While it is impossible to list all the errors made by bloggers, I am going to share my favorites. Do you know the difference between:

  1. Who and Whom
  2. Affect and Effect
  3. Lay and Lie
  4. Whether and If
  5. Which and That
  6. Irony and Coincidence
  7. Envy and Jealousy

These were taken from a post by Jon Gingerich who shares lots more – with examples of proper use.

Do you even care? Do they drive you crazy?

I know that I'm guilty of many of these. I think we all are.

Without a formal editing process, it is difficult to catch every error. I have Dena review most of my posts – but sometimes mistakes happen. And thankfully there are a few grammar geeks among our regular readers – and they help keep our copy clean.

Does Good Grammar Matter?

Yes and no.

Most bloggers are not professional (trained) writers.

They are usually business owners, photographers, moms, and travelers. Given that most readers are also untrained, I don't think that most mistakes are even noticed. But this depends a lot on your niche. If your topic is copywriting, writing, or grammar then errors are less forgivable. Your readers will eat you alive.

There are some great resources available. With tools like Grammarly (read my full review) it is getting easier to produce clean copy. The Little Red Writing Book is a quick read and covers 20 principles of structure, style and readability. At the end of the book there is a 30-page section detailing 30 rules of grammar. This is one of my ten favorite blogging books.

Lets finish off with some more common errors, as identified by Weird Al.

Word Crimes by “Weird Al” Yankovic


Watch on YouTube

Your turn

How important is good grammar when blogging? A number of bloggers have written that errors make you human – different from the polished, perfect, and sterile corporate writing. How do you feel?

Please share your thoughts, comments and pet grammar peeves below!

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Hi, I'm the Author!

Bryan Haines is a travel blogger, photographer and content marketer. He is co-founder of WiseGuides.ca (Nova Scotia travel blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for Canadian travel brands). Bryan is also an avid photographer. Check out ClickLikeThis, a GoPro tutorial blog he runs with his wife, Dena.

9 comments… add one
  • themadscientistskitchen Feb 15, 2015, 6:40 am

    Yes it does matter. I do not feel like reading a badly written post.

  • Anne Nov 11, 2014, 2:41 pm

    One that always confused me was effect and affect lol.Don’t know why.I’m kind of a writer though,I’ve been writing poetry since middle school but since my brain tumor years ago it’s harder to come up with words so sometimes I have to cheat and look up the kind of word I’m searching for in my head.

  • Ann Rowley Oct 25, 2014, 9:24 am

    I did not know Weird Al was so concerned! I am always saying to anyone who will listen that the English language is going down the tube! Educated people are saying “gotta” for instance instead of have to. Or “ta” instead of to. Really grates me….Thanks for sharing!

  • Hanna Sep 27, 2014, 10:59 am

    I started a new blog about living and travelling in Ecuador, and I write in English. English isn’t my native language and I’m sure I make a lot of errors. Even that said, I enjoy writing in English and hope that the reader will forgive me. Anyway, this is an opportunity for me to learn to be a better writer in English 🙂

  • Stewart Sep 15, 2014, 7:55 am

    Hello Bryan,

    I remember Weird Al Yancovic from years back. Always very funny.
    Or should I say, “He is always very funny”.
    I remember a creative writing class in high school and the required
    english classes in college to graduate, but that is all.
    Writing is interesting for me, but it never got so serious for me to lead
    to a profession.

    Loved the video!

  • Geri J. Sep 15, 2014, 1:52 am

    As a freelance copy editor, the following bloopers always make me cringe:

    1. Incorrect usage of “myself.” Correct: “He gave it to Bob and me” — not “to Bob and myself.”

    2. Commas used in compound predicates. For example: “He hit the ball, and ran.” Nope. It is: “He hit the ball and ran.” OR “He hit the ball, and then he ran.” (Because this is a compound sentence, not a compound predicate (or verb).)

    3. And my personal favorite: People are “who”; things are “that.” No exceptions. So, it is always “the person who won the race.” Not “the person that won the race.”

  • Jody Sep 14, 2014, 8:23 pm

    OK, I’m an old English teacher, so I know I get annoyed more than most about poorly written anything. It’s not so much a matter of being a “trained” writer, but that gross errors show very poor education. Either one’s schooling was lacking, or the writer was simply not paying attention because he or she didn’t think clear communication was important. I realize that the quality of education in North America has declined precipitously in the last 40 years or so, but there are so very many resources available both online and in hard copy for anyone who actually cares about the quality of the writing he or she produces. No excuses! I’ll go back to my editing now…….

    • Jon Sep 15, 2014, 8:40 am

      when I was in grade school, we had to diagram sentences. I think removing this from the curriculum is part of the problem. Kids have no idea why certain words are used.

  • Jon Sep 14, 2014, 5:57 pm

    OK, the misuse of who/whom and I/me drives me nuts. I guess it’s because it seems pretentious when you use whom or I incorrectly. whom is the objective form. if you can’t replace it with another objective pronoun such as him, it’s not whom. seems odd since “who do you trust?” is a common phrase. however, “whom” is the object of the verb trust. My test holds true if you substitute “him” and restructure the sentence to “do you trust him” I and me seem to get confused when there are multiple persons such as “Jim and I”. the easiest way to determine which is correct is to drop the other person(s). e.g. he’s going to pay Jim and I. if you drop Jim, it’s easy to see it should be me. however, I must confess using phrases such as “for whom” simply to avoid ending the sentence in a preposition like “vote for” just seems awkward and a bit pretentious.

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