The Write Stuff
December 2022 Volume 18 Issue 12

Top 10 writing pet peeves

In the spirit of all other end-of-the-year top 10 lists, here is mine—things that drive me especially crazy as I’m editing.
1. Redundancies like close proximity and narrow down. These phrases are among those that unnecessarily repeat information.
2. Use of impact rather than effect. The definition of impact is, “the action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another.”
3. Overuse of as well as rather than and. In the vast majority of cases, and is the right word to use to join two clauses together.
4. Unnecessary use of in order. If you find yourself using this little phrase, try taking it out of the sentence and you’ll likely discover the meaning unchanged.
5. Unnecessary capitalization. Proper nouns are capitalized; words like founder, city, company and bank are not.
6. Incorrect apostrophe placement. Our client’s problems reflects having one client, while our clients’ problems reflects having multiple clients.
7. Guessing at spelling based on what you’ve heard. Ever read for all intensive purposes? The correct phrase is for all intents and purposes.
8. Confusing less and fewer. Use less for items that can’t be counted and fewer for those that can, e.g., use less water and buy fewer water bottles.
9. Misuse of either. It is incorrect to list more than two things when using either.
10. Using two spaces after a period. Like many of you, I learned to do this too—a long, long time ago. I’ve since unlearned it, and you can too.

New for 2023

My website is getting a facelift. Work is still underway and some things will not change—such as my use of purple as my corporate color and inclusion of a few cute pictures of Cubbie—but the overall look and feel will be more modern. The launch should happen sometime in January. Be sure to check it out at

Cheers to the new year

Should it be new year or New Year? The answer to that question is pretty simple. If you are simply referring to the year in general, as I have in the headline, those words are lowercase. The only time it’s appropriate to capitalize them is when you’re referring to New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.

Published On: December 19th, 2022 / Categories: 2022 /

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