Common Website Copywriting Errors
To err is human alright, but there are certain language errors that you must avoid at any cost to preserve your credibility. These errors, more often a proofreading lapse, could create an unfavorable impression of ignorance and unprofessionalism among your website’s visitors. And, if you’re not aware these are mistakes in the first place, it’s indeed high time you learnt they are.
Improper Apostrophe Usage
An apostrophe is used to denote ownership, as in Clara’s car, or as an abridgement of two words, as in that’s (a short form for “that is”). One of the common mistakes many writers commit is the erroneous usage of “it’s” and “its.”
“It’s” stands for “it is” or “it has” whereas “its” denotes possessiveness as in “The box and its contents raise suspicions.”
Homonyms are words that are alike in pronunciation or spelling but have different meanings. Interchanging “lose” for “loose” is one of the common writing errors. “You’ll lose your future if you’re loose with your money.”
Beware of “bear (animal/to endure) vs. bare (to lay open)” and “row (fight) vs. row (set into motion using oars)” as well.
The Latin Confusion
The Latin origins – etc., e.g. and i.e. – are used for different purposes.
etc. – A short form for et cetera, “etc.” prevents listing a long list of similar items. Unless you’re writing a legal document, limit your usage of etc. to once or twice. Use “et al (et alibi)” if it’s people and not things you’re listing, as in “Clara, Andrew et al (meaning to say “and others”).”
e.g. – Expanded, this is exempli gratia in Latin, which translates to “for example” in English. “E.g.” is used to indicate to the reader that what follows are some examples to support what you’ve said earlier in a sentence.
i.e. – This Latin id est means “in other words.” “i.e.” is used to express something in clearer and a more understandable way that readers can easily identify with.
There are some words that are used incorrectly in context. For example, the verb “affect” is interchanged with “effect,” a noun. It’s alright to say “Exercise affects body and mind positively” and “exercise has a positive effect on body and mind.”
“Effect” can be used as a verb; but usage in such context is more observed in specific professions such as law. “Then/than,” and “their/there” are other examples of words that confuse writers in their usage.