MISTAKE MONDAY for April 16: Can YOU spot what’s wrong?

Can you spot what’s wrong in the image below? Please post your answer as a comment.

 inquires inquiries

I post these challenges to raise awareness of the importance of proofreading.

MISTAKE MONDAY for April 9: Can YOU spot what’s wrong?

Can you spot what’s wrong in the image below? Please post your answer as a comment.

marquis marquee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This one didn’t jump out at me when I reviewed the image. Will you do better than I did?

I post these challenges to raise awareness of the importance of proofreading.

MISTAKE MONDAY for April 2: Can YOU spot what’s wrong?

Can you spot what’s wrong in the image below? Please post your answer as a comment.

Here’s a key piece of information: I viewed this item when I was buying something from a website in February 2018. Without this information, you might not realize that anything is wrong with this week’s Mistake Monday item.
2017 on a 2018 ad

I post these challenges to raise awareness of the importance of proofreading.

Let’s visit apostrophe hell

I’m not the only person who dislikes misplaced apostrophes (or should I say apostrophe’s?). There’s a Flickr page called Apostrophe Hell with photos of apostrophe abuse. Misused apostrophes turn up frequently on Mistake Monday on this blog. Below you’ll see some examples. I share them to remind all of us—including me—to pay attention to apostrophes when writing and proofreading.

Its vs. it’s

It’s vs. its is a classic example of where apostrophes are often abused, as you’ll see in the Mistake Monday examples below. Most often there’s an apostrophe where it’s not needed.
mm-its-its-6

 it's-its-fed

it's-its-8

Sometimes the mistake goes the other way. A sentence lacks the apostrophe needed to create the contraction for “it is.”
apostrophe abuse example

 

Other possessives

You need an apostrophe to form the possessive for most words other than “its” and “yours.” The proofreaders for the images below didn’t remember that.

 

 

advisors should be advisors'

sailors should be sailor's

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contractions

Apostrophes are also important to forming contractions.

For example, “let us” becomes “let’s”—at least that’s what should happen.lets should be let's

 

 

 

 

 

 

Random insertion of apostrophes

Sometimes people seem to insert apostrophes randomly. What was this person thinking?
meme's should be memes
 

 

 

 

MISTAKE MONDAY for March 26: Can YOU spot what’s wrong?

Can you spot what’s wrong in the image below? Please post your answer as a comment.

apostrophe

 

 

 

Want a clue to this week’s big mistake? Read my post on “Bloggers’ top two punctuation mistakes.” It doesn’t discuss this exact mistake, but it’ll point you in the right direction.

I post these challenges to raise awareness of the importance of proofreading. I make mistakes, too. Mistake Monday keeps me vigilant. After all, I don’t want to make any more mistakes worthy of posting here.

MISTAKE MONDAY for March 19: Can YOU spot what’s wrong?

Can you spot what’s wrong in the image below? There’s more than one problem this week. Please post your answer as a comment. dd-on's add-ons effect affect

 

 

 

 

Here’s a clue to one of the mistakes. Some words are commonly confused with other words that sound similar, but have different meanings.

If you can’t find the confusing word in this week’s Mistake Monday example, check out “Top 30 Commonly Confused Words in English.” If this word appears frequently in writing that you proofread, consider adding it to a checklist of words that you review more carefully than others.

I post these challenges to raise awareness of the importance of proofreading.

MISTAKE MONDAY for March 12: Can YOU spot what’s wrong?

Can you spot what’s wrong in the image below? Please post your answer as a comment.

added added to

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once again, here’s an error in a major newspaper. I suspect that text, such as headlines and captions, that isn’t written by the reporter may be particularly prone to becoming fodder for Mistake Monday. Do YOU have a theory explaining these errors?

I post these challenges to raise awareness of the importance of proofreading. I still struggle with proofreading my own work.

MISTAKE MONDAY for March 5: Can YOU spot what’s wrong?

Can you spot what’s wrong in the Mistake Monday image below? Please post your answer as a comment.

absorb vs. absorbed

 

 

 

 

 

 

I post these challenges to raise awareness of the importance of proofreading.

There’s more than one way to rewrite this week’s example. What’s your suggestion?

Writers, eat your greens!

Eat your greens! For many people, that means eating foods that they don’t enjoy, but which are good for them. In the writing world, I think a comparable challenge is proofreading your text and checking on fine points of grammar. Here are some steps I suggest to help you eat your metaphorical greens.

1. Finish your drafts early

When you finish writing something before its deadline, you can approach it with fresh eyes for a final review. With fresh eyes, you’re more likely to catch errors of reasoning, grammar, or other areas.

2. Use tools and people to help you proofread and copyedit

It’s not easy to proofread or copyedit your own work, as my husband reminds me when he proofreads my monthly newsletter.

Online tools that check your spelling, grammar, and wordiness can complement your work. My recent post on “The compelling white paper that wasn’t” includes links to tools.

However, online tools won’t catch every mistake. For example, it won’t catch the investment professional with the title “portfolio manger” instead of “portfolio manager” with the additional “a.” That’s why it’s good to get a colleague or professional proofreader to review your work. Also, consider using the tip I describe in “Why I love Adobe Acrobat Pro for proofreading” to catch errors that eyes tend to gloss over.

If organization—not grammar—is your stumbling block, use my first-sentence check.

3. Have reliable references handy

You can’t buy or find online one of the most powerful tools for catching your errors. That’s a customized checklist that lists your most common errors. For example, if you often make “Bloggers’ top two punctuation mistakes,” add them to your checklist.

My favorite online resources include:

If you have a budget, you can subscribe to online resources from AP Style or the Chicago Manual of Style. I have mixed feelings about AP Styleguard software.

You can’t find all of the answers online. That’s why my library includes “My five favorite reference books for writers.”

The result?

If you follow these three tips, you’ll produce cleaner, better organized writing. That’ll make your writing more compelling and effective.

Tip for bloggers

Bloggers sometimes ask me where I get my ideas for posts on this blog. Today’s post was inspired by the image that accompanies it. When the image appeared as a free download from Depositphotos, a website I use to source some of my photos, it made me think about how many people don’t like greens. My mind quickly bounced to the tasks that writers don’t like.

Images can be a great source of blog post ideas. For more ideas on how to find inspiration in images, read “Photo + Mind Map = Blog Inspiration.”

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Abbreviation: U.S. or US for United States?

A client used to abbreviate the United States as U.S. and the United Kingdom as UK. The inconsistency drove me batty. I couldn’t find a reason for that disparity. But it made me wonder, what are the rules for how one should abbreviate the United States?

What style guides say

The 2017 AP Stylebook uses periods most of the time. It says “The abbreviation U.S. is acceptable as a noun or adjective. Use US (no periods) in headlines.” AP style seems to allow for multiple space-saving adaptations for headlines—like using numerals in headlines, but spelling out numbers under 10 in the body of the text. By the way, AP style has a similar rule for abbreviating United Kingdom.

Garner’s Modern American Usage says of U.S. and U.SA.,

As the shortened forms for United States of America, these terms retain their periods, despite the modern trend to drop the periods in most initialisms… U.S. is best reserved for use as an adjective…, although to use it as a noun in headlines is common. In abbreviations incorporating U.S., the periods are typically dropped <USPS> <USO> <USNA>.

However, other style guides favor US. For example, the MLA Style Center says,

In its publications, the MLA uses the abbreviation US. (Practices among publishers vary, however, and it is not incorrect to use U.S. Whichever abbreviation you choose, be consistent.)

What you should do

Notice how the MLA Style Center mentions consistency? Consistency is key because it makes your publications easier to read. Your organization should pick one style and stick with it.

I am sticking with U.S., unless I write for a publication with a style guide that calls for US. What about you?

If you like this post, you may also like “How to capitalize financial acronyms.”  

U.S. vs. UK

I couldn’t find any rules suggesting why one should use U.S. for the United States along with UK for the United Kingdom. Do any of you have ideas about this? Please let me know. Curiosity is killing me.

One of my friends suggested that some publications mix the two styles of punctuation because UK is preferred in the United Kingdom.

Another suggested that it’s OK to drop the periods from UK but not U.S. because uk is not a real word, while us is a widely used pronoun.

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