My day job consists of a variety of tasks, one of which involves reviewing documentation created from within the team that is destined for the wider business audience.
There are technical arguments over particular grammatical usages, but there are some mistakes that are unforgivable. I’m not referring to the intricacies of language construction, just basic words interchanged due to a lack of basic understanding of what they mean.
The most common annoyances are:
They’re vs. Their vs. There
Come on… This is primary school stuff.
Its vs. It’s
Is it really that difficult?
Your vs. You’re
The apostrophe in the later represents ‘ a’. Simple.
To vs. Too
Probably the most common but none-the-less irritating.
Affect vs. Effect
Effect relates to the change, affect is the act of changing.
Then vs. Than
Think of ‘than’ as a comparison, ‘then’ as a mover of time.
Me vs. I
My favourite annoyance as my Mother often corrected me on this one, time proved that it was I/me who had been correct. ‘I’ is not to be used in objects, so in that scenario, use ‘me’.
I genuinely don’t mind adding or removing commas, even apostrophes. However, the list of mistakes above which are repeated by the same people over and again frustrate me. If my work was continually corrected I would feel obliged to observe a lesson. When I first began writing as a journalist, the best advice I was given was to compare the final version to the submitted version and use a highlighter over the differences. I just wish others would follow this guidance… or perhaps I am becoming as pedantic as I considered the person who had given me that advice.