Common Word and Punctuation Errors That Can Change What You Mean
By Sophie Dawson
Proper word usage. Okay, what’s that? It’s using the correct word or words to convey the idea effectively. As a reader, author, and editor I notice so many common words used incorrectly not caught by editors and beta readers much less by busy authors. I’m not talking about verb tenses, dangling participles, or sentences ending in prepositions nor homonyms. I’m talking simple everyday word being misused such as then and than, or sit, sat and set, or I and me, or he/him and she/her.
Let’s take a stroll through a blog post series that will identify the individual word set issues, which will hopefully help you use these common words correctly. Watch out! You just might start seeing these misuses, and I hope it doesn’t drive you crazy.
Order can change meaning
Not only is choosing the right word important but also the order in which they are used can change the meaning as does inclusion or lack of punctuation. The inclusion or exclusion of a comma can drastically alter what the sentence says. When writing a sentence with a name or title at the end indicating the statement is being directed to rather than about them, a comma needs to be placed before the name or title. Watch this:
Let’s eat, Grandma.
Let’s eat Grandma.
Two vastly different meanings. One is inviting Grandma to a meal the other is her being that meal.
This series of posts will be simple and deal with one set of common words I find mixed up so often as well as common punctuation errors. It won’t be lots of obscure grammar rules only the grammar police would see and comment on. I hope you find them understandable and incorporate them into your writing so that the ideas you are trying to convey come across clear and enjoyable to your readers.
Be watching for #2 coming next week.
Sophie Dawson is an award winning author of Christian Historical Fiction. She has written two series comprised of seven books and her newest came out in February 2017. She contributes to several different blogs on a continuing basis. You can find her books in Kindle, print and large print as well as audio on Amazon. Future works may branch out into Contemporary and Science Fiction.