Posted in Writing, Writing craft

5 tips to avoid writing errors that drive editors crazy

Why is writing correctly so important? It doesn’t matter whether you write ad copy, corporate blog posts or novels; it’s important because it provides us with a set of shared understandings of the meaning of words, phrases and sentences. And those are the building blocks of writing.

A proper grasp of grammar, punctuation, syntax (all the elements of style) makes you appear more professional and more knowledgeable. On another level, it’s important because poor grammar pegs you as an amateur in the eyes of editors, agents and, yes, readers.

Can you ever break the rules? But you do it consciously, for a reason, and only after you’ve learned what those rules are.

Some errors are broken so often that they drive editors (and many readers) crazy. I’ve identified five errors that editors (and agents and often readers) hate so much. Are you making any of these errors?

Can you figure out the correct answer? For answers and explanations, the video is live.

  • I versus Me
    • Which one of these is correct?
      • The coach asked Jim and I to stay late.
      • The coach asked Jim and me to stay late.
  • Dangling Modifiers
    • Which of these is correct?
      • *After declining for three months, book sales began to revive after Susan’s new marketing approach.
      • *After declining for three months, Susan’s marketing approach started to revive book sales.
  • That versus Who
    • Which of these is correct?
      • *She’s a woman who knows what she wants.
      • * She’s a woman that knows what she wants.
  • Parallelism
    • Which of these is correct?
      • *We went skiing in the mountains, swam in the ocean, and drove in the desert.
      • * We went skiing in the mountains, swimming in the ocean, and driving in the desert.
  • That versus Which
    • Which of these is correct?
      • *The sweater that has a moth hole is in the drawer.
      • *The sweater, which has a moth hole, is in the drawer.


Reading, writing & publishing. Doing things differently.

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