Common Grammar Mistakes

November 29, 2018


There are several mistakes commonly found in writings; as a result, whether creating a presentation, writing process documentation or an email, the biggest things to remember are to be concise, consistent, and to use basic skills in writing. 


Below are some typical grammar pointers:


1.      Spelling out numbers – The rule is to write out numbers ten and below, anything above is typed out as the number with certain exceptions, i.e. days of the month (2nd, 5th, 8th), years and time. When writing the number of years of experience use this rule, for instance, I’ve been proofreading for 20-years, as opposed to twenty-years.


2.      Using the wrong currency code or currency symbol when speaking about money - In this case we are going to use 3-million where a common mistake is someone writing ‘$3M pounds’.  It’s incorrect because UK pounds symbol is £ and the currency code is GBP, so the proper way would be £3M (using the symbol) or 3-Million GBP.  Either way is fine, just remember to keep it consistent throughout.


Side Note: The ‘$’ is the dollar sign but is used in various countries, not just the United States (US), so if you were dealing with, Australian dollars, then you would put $3M AUD to distinguish.  Also, unless you’re working with different types of currency putting $3M to identify US dollars is completely acceptable.


3.      The use of parenthesis when using abbreviations - The use of abbreviations is acceptable, but you do need to identify it first.  For a simple example, Information Technology (IT).  You can then use IT throughout the documentation.  Going between writing it out and the abbreviation shows no consistency, so remember write it out first then after that use the abbreviations, don’t keep going back and forth.  Remember, all industries, companies, etc. may use abbreviations that have a completely different meaning then what you may know, so identifying it helps your reader know your reference point.


4.      The use of the apostrophe when identifying plural nouns - When you put an apostrophe between the word and an ‘s’, it is a signal for a possessive noun.  The biggest misnomer is when using for abbreviations. When you put an ‘s between the last letter and the ‘s’ you are making it possessive, for example, KPIs.  When it’s written as KPI’s you are saying it’s possessive of a noun, KPI’s _<what>_.  When you remove the apostrophe and just write KPIs, you are identifying plural.


Keep a look out for more grammar tips in the coming months. 


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