15 Goofy Grammar Errors That Tarnish Your Writing

15 Goofy Grammar Errors That Tarnish Your WritingLast year, after sending out an e-mail message, one of my subscribers opted out from my list. Her reason? I had a typo in my subject line.

Needless to say, I was embarrassed and proceeded to write a blog post about it.

In the past I’ve also written about how direct response copywriters may break the rules of grammar. You may see us using sentence fragments or content that’s more conversational than prose. And, in our books, that’s okay.

However, we’re still professionals and want our writing to captivate, compel and convert prospects into customers. That’s why I was pleased when I came across Copyblogger’s Infographic (below). It mentions the grammar errors I called out in my earlier blog post and more. Discover how the following 15 “grammar goofs” may make you look less than professional.

15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips at Copyblogger.

Whether you’re reading blogs and Web sites or brochures and direct mail, have you seen these goofy grammar errors? If so, what impression have they made on you? Does it look silly?

Please share your thoughts in the comment section. I’d love to hear from you. Thanks.

Debra Jason

Marketing & writing with heart, not hype at at The Write Direction
A recipient of the “Creative Person of the Year” award, Debra educates and empowers creative solopreneurs and enthusiastic business owners to create a lifestyle business that provides them with the flexibility, fun and freedom to do what they love. She also inspires you to communicate your marketing message in a way that captivates and converts your prospects into loyal, raving fans - even if you have been struggling with how to transform your ideas into words in the past.


  1. I see Loose and lose get mixed up all the time! It drives me crazy.
    Tanya recently posted…What Gets Your Attention …?My Profile

    • Tanya “loose” and “lose” is another good pairing. “When I saw all the loose change in his hands, I prayed he wasn’t going to lose it all in the slot machine.”
      Thanks! ~Debra

  2. Debra, I LOVE #15! Such a fun infographic. Great info. The web isn’t quite as formal as writing a dissertation but basic grammar rules DO apply.
    Michelle Shaeffer recently posted…Protect Your Blog! 2 Action Steps to Implement TodayMy Profile

    • Oh Michelle, I think if someone made these errors in their dissertation “heads would roll.” Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration. However, we are all only human so every so often, errors do occur. I find that, when it happens a lot, then it catches my attention. I think the example Copyblogger uses in #15 (i.e. “Your brother is a zombie who delivers fruit.”), is not only good for a laugh, but will certainly help us re-think what we write before we post. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
      Much appreciated. ~Debra

  3. Sorry, but would of, could of, and should of are legitimate expressions if you live in the South, and even better if you use all three at the same time. It’s just like “ya’ll,” pronouncing the l in “salmon,” and “fixin’a” do something. I understand if people don’t get it, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to recognize my culture. 😉
    Amethyst recently posted…Tweet ChatMy Profile

  4. As a writing instructor, I finding myself explaining these rules (and many others)often. Your dangling participle example made me laugh.
    Suzi Shumaker recently posted…O: Only OneMy Profile

  5. Me, Myself & I thank you for the fun and informative graphic!

  6. What an awesome infographic. There’s going to be a new show about the brain. They showed a sentence that was wrong but when it was read the brain saw what it was supposed to see and ignored the extra word. They did several different experiments. It was pretty cool.
    Toni Nelson recently posted…Not a fisherman? This video might change your mind!My Profile

    • Sounds pretty interesting Toni. When I’ve spent a lot of time on content – writing, reading, revising, reading again – I can sometimes miss something that a “fresh pair of eyes” spots right away.
      What’s the name of this new show about the brain?
      Thanks for telling us about it. ~Debra

  7. Thanks for this info, in a funny way. Am going to share it in my FB page =)
    DinoMama recently posted…Five Ways to fight the whirling wind and raging rainMy Profile

  8. Great infographic – Pinned it 🙂

    Lose and loose get me every time, I do need to stop and think about it. Although I have probably been guilty of them all at some point – I did a there instead of their in yesterdays blog post, and spotted later to fix despite reading it twice before posting!
    Jan Kearney recently posted…Not Everyone Will Like You (and it Doesn’t Matter Anyway) [Infographic]My Profile

    • Hi Jan,
      I agree that when you write something and review it repeatedly, it’s easy for your eyes to easily glance over it and your brain to think, “yeah, that’s okay.” I think it’s good to walk away from what you write – even for 24 hours if you can (i.e. you’re not on a deadline) – then, go back and proofread. Also, if time allows, have a “fresh” set of eyes (i.e. a friend, employee or colleague) take a look. They may often see something you did not.
      Thanks for sharing. ~Debra

  9. I really do die a little every time I see the ‘green-grocers’ apostrophe, tomatoe’s, pea’s, strawberry’s .. I had a college tutor that recommended a ban on apostrophies. It is better not to use them than to use them so badly, I very often leave them out now, maybe it will catch on !

    • Your comment made me laugh Jana. I wonder, is this supposed to be “green grocers’ apostrophe” (i.e. a group of grocers) or is a “green grocer’s apostrophe?” LOL
      Be careful about leaving out the apostrophe. One of my pet peeves is the one where folks use “its” when they really mean “it’s” (or vice versa).
      Thanks! ~Debra

  10. Debra, these are great! I have seen them quite a bit in other peoples writing. I try to be conscious of these, especially affect and effect! I am going to share this! Thanks for a great post!
    Bonnie Giller recently posted…Fitting in Fruits and VeggiesMy Profile

    • I think we all see these Bonnie. And, we all probably make one or two of these errors on occasion. After all, we’re only human.
      It’s just good to be aware of them and pay attention when we’re writing. Thanks for sharing this with your peeps!
      I hope it has the same positive effect on them (not “affect” – LOL). Have a great day. ~Debra

  11. I’ll be pinning this one for sure. #7 has always been my Achilles heel in the past. But you know the thing that got my attention most on this post? The really funny picture of the little boy!

    It’s good to keep these grammar checks in mind. I might have to print & post this graphic on my bulletin board when I blog. Thanks!

  12. Great infographic! I’m sure I’ve made some of these errors not because I don’t know the rules but because the spell-checker doesn’t bring them up. I rely on that thing too much! And it’s really hard to see your own errors when you’re proofreading.

    On the other hand I’m not that much of a grammar nazi, and I’d never unsubscribe from a blog or newsletter because of poor grammar. Good content is good content, with or without good grammar.
    Ana recently posted…Happy Marriage Quote – Close, But Not Too CloseMy Profile

    • Ana you’re so right about spellcheckers. They don’t notify you if you’re using “your” instead of “you’re.”
      As you suggested, it is hard to catch your own errors after you’ve been writing & reading the same document repeatedly (your brain thinks it’s reading it correctly because it knows what you meant to say).
      Thanks for being one of those people who recognizes good content and that we’re only human – sometimes we make mistakes.

  13. I would like to think I don’t do any of those 🙂
    Linda Ursin recently posted…What is Magical Life CoachingMy Profile

  14. Thanks 🙂 It helped to learn English in a Swedish school. At the time, Swedish students scored higher in English than those in English speaking countries. So we had good English teachers. Plus the fact that language comes easy to me 🙂
    Linda Ursin recently posted…Stop it! Negative self-talk is destructiveMy Profile

  15. Thanks for the re-post on this one today. As I am a proofreader and editor and today was the day, yes Thursday that I made a grammar error with the use of Salesman, which should have been Salesmen. Talking about an embarrassing moment!

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