Readers read some errors as just that – small mistakes. No one’s perfect, so misspellings or incorrect uses of prepositions and other small mistakes are easy for readers to move past and absorb your content’s message.
Other mistakes immediately make the reader question not only your writing abilities, but your credibility.
Good news? These errors are easy to spot when you are aware of them and proofread carefully.
Error #1: Using incorrect homonyms.
Their / There / They’re
Its / It’s
Your / You’re
Different homonyms completely change the meaning of the sentence. Spell-check won’t find these errors, so always double-check that they’re correct.
Error #2: Inconsistent titles.
This may seem obvious, but always stick to one method of naming or separating a document. For example, if your power point presentation is divided into six “chapters,” make sure they are all titled chapters. If one is accidentally named “module” or “part,” you’ll confuse your readers. Also, if one chapter is titled “Thriving in Our Economy,” use that exact title throughout the entire chapter.
Error #3: Mixing up words with similar meanings and spellings.
Affect / Effect
Farther / Further
Prospective / Perspective
Then / Than
These words are easy to confuse with one another and, like homonyms and contractions, spell-check won’t catch your mistake.
Error #4: Passive writing.
Active writing engages your readers and gives your authorial voice greater credibility. While some scientific and business projects require the passive voice, it’s best to minimize passive verbs to create more powerful writing.
Error #5: Redundancies.
Repeating a similar sentence or point doesn’t make it any clearer. Never repeat sentences or phrases with a brochure, website or e-book. When you organize content effectively and in a straight forward manner, there’s no need to repeat sentences.