They’re or There or Their and other common grammar errors

in Copywriting - Nonprofit

Hopefully you use “spell check” in your word processing program to catch typos, misspellings, and such. But it won’t catch the misuse of there for they’re or their. It won’t catch the misuse of form for from. And so forth.

To help catch these errors – and other problems with the copy – have several people proof your copy before publishing. Do this for direct mail, email, website copy, press releases, or anything else you publish.

Why bother?

1 – When you use the wrong word your message is garbled, it’s unclear. You might even say the exact opposite of what you mean!

2 – Your nonprofit doesn’t look professional. Regardless of your size, you still want prospects, donors and members to perceive you as competent and professional. Certain grammatical errors erode that desired image.

Now, as a direct response copywriter I don’t believe you have to strictly follow every rule of grammar. Most definitely not. But there are some errors that can cost you dearly.

Copyblogger published an infographic that illustrates “15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly.” And after their infographic below, you’ll find links to three more posts I’ve written on this subject.

15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly

Can you think of more common errors? How about:

Capital and Capitol

To and Too

Plague and Plaque

Desert and Dessert

What are some you often find in nonprofit copy?

Related Posts:

Fundraising appeals written with style … easily misused words

Why the school solution is the wrong fundraising solution … examples of how perfect grammar can confuse readers

Why proofing is so important

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Biz Burnett March 9, 2012 at 10:33 am

Great post, Karen, Thanks! We might refer to common writing errors that are due to homonym confusion as ‘commonym errors’. Another pair not mentioned above is peak and pique. Examples of their correct use: The above post will hopefully pique your interest enough to keep your writing at the peak of perfection.

Talking about the peak of perfection: I predict that Barbara Stuckey’s patented ThoughtPrint technology may someday be credited with replacing the traditional nuts-and-bolts method of teaching English. For an overview of Barbara’s brilliant discovery, visit my website:

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