The Write Stuff February 2018 Volume 14 Issue 2

It’s Bonehead English Time

I have a fat file of writing mistakes I collect to amuse myself and educate you, my loyal readers. I’ve already had my laughs; now it’s time to share.

1. I received this one in an email from a senior marketing manager who wants to sell me a list of potential customers. Her pitch started with, Hope your doing well today. Your? Please tell me you know it should be you’re or you are.

2. This sentence appeared in a letter from the person who took over my retiring insurance agent’s clients: Our district manager wanted your Insurance policy’s taken care of by a well knowledge Insurance Agent. So much wrong. Let’s start with capitalization; neither insurance nor insurance agent need it. The latter is especially troubling because district manager was correctly lowercased. Next, policy’s should be policies — and I know what was meant by well knowledge, but knowledgeable should have been used. Finally, wanted should be wants, since the sentiment is current, not past. Many people make this mistake; correct yourself the next time you write, “I wanted to tell you…” P.S. I chose to find another agent rather than work with this person.

3. That was a long one, so here’s a shortie: Happy New Year, I can’t believe 2017 has come and gone and 2018 is here. Spot the error? It’s a run-on sentence; Happy New Year should be followed by a period, or even an exclamation point, something I rarely endorse.

4. To end, here are three typos contained in one paragraph that appeared at the top of a marketing event schedule: you will have the oppertunity, for your busieness and will comence. I didn’t even laugh at this; these kinds of preventable errors are painful to me — and maybe to you, too — especially when spell check would have ensured opportunity, business, and commence were correctly spelled.

Your takeaway: Understand your strengths, and if writing isn’t one of them, be sure to have an editor “on speed dial” to save you from embarrassment.

Presidential Possessive
Monday is the holiday that gives grammar gurus like me fits, because it’s written in three ways:
Presidents’ Day
President’s Day
Presidents Day
As you might suspect — if you looked at the graphic — the first bullet is correct. Maybe you knew that anyway, because you remember when a plural word is made possessive, the apostrophe goes outside the s. Thus, because we’re celebrating the birthdays of two presidents — Lincoln and Washington — s’ is correct.

If I’ve Said It Once…
There are a lot of things Microsoft Word does well — but serving as a grammar expert is not one of them. You’ve heard me say this many times before: don’t assume this tool’s suggestions are correct, because more often than not they aren’t. Take this example:

When I wrote …taking advantage of our services, Word suggested I change our to us.

What?! Of course I declined to do so.

Published On: February 15th, 2018 / Categories: 2018 /

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