Common Grammatical Mistakes & Public Relations Writing Tips

No matter how interesting the story in your pitch or press release may be, it can still end up in a reporter’s email trash if it is filled with so many common grammatical mistakes that it makes it hard to read. We’re here to share five of the most common writing mistakes to avoid so you can become a grammar pro.

  1. Their, They’re and There
    • If you commonly confuse their, they’re and there — you are not alone! These words are in the top 30 most commonly confused words in the English language. However, understanding the difference between these words and being able to properly identify which to use in a sentence will help to significantly reduce any confusion in your writing. Here are some simple ways to differentiate the three and avoid this common writing mistake:
      • Their – This is the possessive form of “they” so it shows ownership of something.
      • They’re – This is the contraction of the two words “they” and “are” (present tense) or “they” and “were” (past tense.)
      • There – You can think of this as the opposite of “here” as it is referring to a place.
  2. Affect vs. Effect
    • It can be tricky to identify when to use affect or effect in a sentence. Most often, “affect” is going to be a verb and “effect” is usually a noun. However, there’s an easy trick to remember if you’re having trouble! Try replacing the word in question with “alter” or “result.” If the word “alter” fits best then “affect” is the correct word to use. If “result” makes sense then use “effect” in your sentence. Utilizing this tool will help you avoid this common grammatical mistake.
  3. Than vs. Then
    • Than and then is another common grammatical mistake that can greatly impact the overall quality of your writing. The best way to tell the difference between the two is to remember to use “than” in a sentence when you are comparing two things. “Then” is used in reference to time.
  4. To, Two and Too
    • This common grammatical mistake can be easily overlooked so it’s important to slowly reread your work so you don’t miss it. Although these words sound the same, they are very different. “To” is a preposition. A preposition is a word that shows a relationship or connection between different words in a sentence. “To” often shows movement, arrival and direction. “Two” is simply the number 2. Lastly, “too” is an adverb that can mean “also”, “very” and “excessively.” A good rule of thumb is if you can replace the word with “also” then “too” is the correct word for the sentence.
  5. Your vs. You’re
    • Another easy and common writing mistake to avoid is “your” and “you’re.” Luckily, there is a simple tool to identify which word to use in your sentence. “You’re” is the contraction of “you are.” “Your” is possessive and shows ownership of something such as “your house” or “your press release.”

There are a number of tools you can utilize to improve your writing, including installing Grammarly which is a free writing tool that can proofread your work and give you suggestions to improve your grammar and clarity. On top of that, it’s useful to reread your work, as well as have a colleague, friend or family member proofread to catch any of these mentioned common grammatical mistakes that you may have missed.

Are you looking for some communication and grammar pros to land media coverage for you and your brand? Then give us a call at (602) 353-7427 or send us an email at [email protected] to learn more about what our PR team can do for you!