If you are a writer (and we all are to some degree), you need to be aware of the standard grammar errors that we make all of the time that get past our radar. The key to improving grammar and spelling usage is in becoming more aware of what we are writing.

This is especially true when writing any type of online marketing ad copy or even creating when a blog of your own. Just because you don’t have a team of writers or someone to proof read your content, it doesn’t mean that you need to simply go live with your first draft and let any grammar or spelling errors slip by. As bloggers and content creators, it’s important to always look our best and one of the best ways to accomplish this is through proper writing, spelling and pronunciation.

Not only will writing in proper English and using the right forms of grammar look better, it will also provide a better reading experience for your audience in the process.

The following common errors can be corrected by using common grammar practices, brushing up on skills, and using a dose of common sense. With practice, you can improve your grammar usage.

Anytime vs. Any time

This is one of the most confusing choices that writers make, even accomplished professional writers. When writing a sentence where you want to use this terminology, you should consider whether you mean to use it as an adverb or not. The term “anytime” used in isolation is an adverb, which “any time” should be used with the word “at” before it such as “at any time,” because it is identifying a specific time that you plan to do something. (Grammarly.com)

Affect vs. Effect

If you use the word “affect,” you should be using it as a verb. That’s what it is. For example, you can say, “This medicine could have an affect on your blood pressure.” But if you say, “This is the effect is can have,” you are using the noun form.

Bare vs. Bear

“Bare” and “bear” are homophones because they sound like the same word. Only when you write them down, do you see the difference in the spelling. The word, “bare” refers to someone or something that is void of clothing or a table that has nothing on it, for example. “Bear” is an animal or it can be used as a verb meaning to tolerate or put up with something. Be careful when using these words like this can stand out like a sore thumb. When using the term, “Bear with me,” you should spell it as shown in this sentence.

Comma Before But

When using conjunctions after a dependent clause, you should always remember to use a comma. This is considered good grammatical form in both academic and other texts. For example, look at the following sentence.

You may want to go to the game, but you have homework to do before you can go.

This is a standard error to forget the comma before the conjunction, but it is important to get this right.

Comma Before Because

You should also use a comma before “because” but only in instances when you are adding additional information. For example, “I liked camp because it was fun” requires no comma. But “I didn’t vote, because I was out of town,” works because it is serving to clarify the reason you did not vote. It verifies that the reason was not due to any other reason. Therefore, commas can serve to help make meaning clearer when the sentence is ambivalent without it.

Comma Before Which

Grammarly reports that a lot of people put a common before the word, “which” too often. They remind writers not to place a common before which in the following situations:

  • When it introduces a nonrestrictive phrase
  • When it is part of a prepositional phrase
  • When it is introducing an indirect question

When to Use a Comma Before But

Put a comma before but only when it is connecting two independent clauses. Below is an example of this.

I would go to the movie, but I don’t like the director.

Notice that the clauses are independent because they can stand alone. When you combine them in a sentence in which they are used together where you’re explaining a cause and effect relationship, it requires a comma.

Comma Before And

Overuse of the comma is one of the common mistakes used in writing. This includes business writing, blog writing, and any other type of written communication. The only time you should use a common before a coordinating conjunction is when you are linking two independent clauses. An example is given below.

“I went driving, and I saw a wreck.”

Placing a comma after the first independent clause separates the first independent clause from the other one and shows that they are two individual thoughts that are bound by the conjunction. In other words, they are not dependent on each other and do not represent a cause and effect relationship.

Comma Before Such As

If you are wondering whether to use a comma before “such as,” consider whether or not you are dealing with a restrictive clause. Grammarly reports that a restrictive clause is a clause that is not necessary to the meaning of a sentence, but it enhances the meaning or adds detail.

Here is an example:

In this city, you’ll see many types of restaurants, such as fast food and seafood.

If we take the last clause out, it still makes sense, but the “such as” phrase helps add meaning through detail. In such cases, you should use a comma since you are using it to explain further.

Thru vs. Through

Many people use “thru” for “through.” But this is not correct. The word “thru” is a non-standard spelling of the word, “through” and should be avoided. If you are typing a text to a friend, it may be okay since they’ll know what you mean, but it should always be avoided in business or formal writing.

Does the comma go before or after but?

Commas cause writers many problems, whether they are writing formal content or casual communications. Struggles with commas cross over into a wide array of writing situations. But conjunctions seem to add to the confusion. Sometimes focusing on the rules and trying to be perfect is not the answer. Using common sense is a more accurate way to use best grammatical practices in most cases.

For example, when do you think you would ever use a comma after the word, “but?” According to Capital Community College, it is hard to imagine a time when you would place the comma after “but.” Look at the examples below.

1. I wanted to go to the game, but I had too much work to do.

2. I wanted to go to the game but, I had too much work to do.

The second one is just wrong and is probably due to the idea that many people have that you use a comma to take a breath. This is not accurate in most cases. Commas are used to clarify the meaning of a sentence or paragraph. In the first example, it helps to explain the independent clauses by showing that having too much work was the reason I didn’t go to the game. In the second example, it makes no sense. It also does not add to the meaning of the sentence.

Again, using some common sense when writing will help you to make the best choices most of the time.

Threw vs. Through

The word, “threw” is the past tense of “throw,” not “through.” The word, “through” is a preposition that is used to indicate a direction such as:

I went through the intersection without getting a ticket.

I threw the ball through the window.

These are two entirely different words and parts of speech so extra care should be used to make sure you don’t get accused of going “through” the rules or have someone say you “threw” away good grammar!

Improper Use of “Like”

Another common error is the misuse of “like.” Millenials seem especially prone to use this word incorrectly, using the word “like” to attempt to describe something. It is a crutch word when used in this way and has no meaning in the sentence. “Like” should only be used in situations where you are comparing one thing to another and not as a stop-gap word to gather your thoughts.

Run On Sentences

When writing content for a website or blog, run on sentences seem to be common place as many people might not be familiar with how to use proper punctuation and grammar. A run-on sentence occurs when there is a connection of two main clauses within the same sentence, without any punctuation to break them apart.

Here are two examples of the correct and incorrect way to write the same sentence.

Incorrect: Tommy wanted to write a blog post but he had to run to the store for eggs.
Correct: Tommy wanted to write a blog post, but he had to run to the store for eggs.

Spelling Errors

Many of the grammar problems we see in writing content are due to misspellings or typographical errors. Abbreviations are also a common problem and are used too much, possibly due to the vast use of technology and shorthand style of writing that is so common in texting on mobile phones.

There are many tools to help you clean up your grammar and spelling errors. You can also use tools such as Grammarly that help find and correct your mistakes. Writing is communication, and you need to utilize the tools and skills you have to make your written communication as good as it can be.

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