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Top 5 Grammar Tips for Quick Proofreading

08 October 2019
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Top 5 Grammar Tips for Quick Proofreading

Whether you’re a marketing agent, reviewing the campaign materials, or a graphic designer who’s been asked to throw a bit of copy together – some basic grammar knowledge is important. One simple grammar mistake can completely undermine your message, even if it has been designed beautifully.


Of course, there are so many grammatical mistakes a person could make and we don’t have time to talk about them all today. However, this checklist covers what we believe to be the top 5 common grammatical errors.  Catch these mistakes and your writing will instantly feel more professional.


Possessive Apostrophes

Apostrophes are tricky business. Do we add an apostrophe with an ‘s’ or without one? Shall we just add apostrophes to everything, just in case? Don’t worry. We’ve got some simple rules to make it all easy for you.

1.    If a singular noun needs to show possession, add ‘s even if the word already ends in an ‘s’.
2.    If a noun is made plural and doesn’t end in an ‘s’, add ‘s.
3.    If a noun is made plural and now ends in an ‘s’, just add an apostrophe.
4.    Don’t use an apostrophe to pluralise a noun.

It’s vs Its

Okay, now you’ve learnt how to apply apostrophes to nouns, you need to learn what happens when you replace the noun with just it. Annoyingly, with it, we take the opposite approach and take away the apostrophe when we’re indicating possession.


A handy tip is to remember that it’s – with an apostrophe – is short for it is. Imagine the apostrophe as the dot above the missing ‘i’. If you’re not shortening the phrase it is, there’s no missing ‘i’ and there for no need for an apostrophe.

Of vs Have

The confusion around these two words lays specifically within the context of the phrases would’ve, could’ve, and should’ve. When you say these shortened forms out loud, it does sound a bit like you’re saying would of, could of, and should of – but you’re not.


The ‘ve that we see here is actually a contraction of the word have. So, when you write the phrases out in full, you need to be saying would have, could have, and should have.

Capital Letters

Capitals may seem simple but they are plenty of people trying to sneak extra capital letters into their sentences. Safe to say, you can’t just capitalise a word because it seems important.
With the exception of titles, there only a few cases where capital letters could appear midsentence. These cases are proper nouns which can perhaps best be described as official names for things. When you find a capital letter midsentence, ask yourself if the word is specific or a title? Or is it just a regular noun?

Me vs I

Finally, the me/I choice is a sticking point that comes up time and time again. Not to worry though, here’s our pro tip; take the second person out of the equation. If it were just you, which would you choose? Take the answer to that question and then, even when you add in more people, you’ll have the right choice.


 
With this basic checklist under your belt, you’ll be able to catch the main offenders of grammatical errors. Fancy another pro tip to help your work look professional? Check out our Social Media Image Size Cheat Sheet.
 



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