8 top proofreading tips for your social media updates

Social media has blurred the lines between formal and informal communication, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about spelling and grammar in your tweets and blog posts.

Here are a few tips to avoid the nasty – and common – mistakes that can trip you up and damage the reputation of your business.

1) Spellcheck

I’m no fan of the computer spellchecker, but it will pick up spelling mistakes such as embarased and accomodate, as well as switched letter spellings, such as perosnal, diffciult, and whihc.

2) Print it out

Never proofread on screen. We read differently on the computer and it’s far easier to spot mistakes, and to ensure consistency, when you check a printout.

3) Know your homophones

No, I’m not being rude. Homophones are words that sound the same but are spelled differently. Affect and effect, where and wear, proceed and precede.

Believe me, you don’t want to be taking a brake from a bored meeting.

4) Look for missing words

When you’re checking something you’ve written yourself, your brain will, rather unhelpfully, show you what you think you’ve written, rather than what you’ve actually written.

This even works when didn’t write the copy yourself. (Did you automatically read the missing word?)

5) Beware one-i blindness

A common mistake is to drop the second i in words such as communities, utilities, facilities and difficulties. Does your hotel really offer ‘great conference facilites’? And are you sure you sell ‘affordable home insurance polices’?

6) Don’t write YOU when you mean YOUR

How often have you seen mistakes like this?

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Easy to miss, easy to rectify.

7) Check confusable words

Just one letter difference between two words can create a whole new meaning. Bought and brought, though and through, manager and manger, assess and asses, public and… you get the picture.

8) Properly punctuate

Know your punctuation, and use it well. Did you know, for example, that an ellipsis is always three dots – no more, no less? Are you confident with the rules for using apostrophes?

Of course, this is all well and good when you have time to proofread your own work, but these tips… they’re just the tip of the iceberg. No pun intended.

The only way to guarantee that your web content or social media marketing is accurate and effective is to use a professional proofreader.

A version of this article was first published on muddywall.com – www.muddywall.com/8-top-proofreading-tips-for-your-social-media-updates/

It’s or its? Simple steps to help you remember

IT’S or ITS? These straightforward tips will help you remember the difference between these two commonly confused words.

Knowing whether to write it’s or its can trip you up.

In a nutshell, it’s is always a contraction of it is or it has, while its describes something that belongs to ‘it’.

It’s

The apostrophe reminds you that it’s is a contraction of it is or it has. If you can replace the word with ‘it is’ or ‘it has’ use it’s.

Example:

It’s easy when you remember this rule (it is).

It’s been a busy day (it has).

Its

Usually followed by a noun, its describes something that belongs to ‘it’:

Example:

The dog chased its tail.

We get confused because we know apostrophes are used to indicate possession – that something belongs to someone, or something. But this rule doesn’t apply to pronouns – its, yours, his, hers, ours, theirs.

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Confusables it's vs its. Language and spelling tips from UK copywriter Sarah Townsend Editorial

It’s or its: writing tips to remember the difference

There vs their vs they’re: top tips to help you get it right

Using the wrong there/their/they’re is a common mistake – here are some simple tips to make sure you get it right.

In a nutshell, if the word means ‘belonging to them’ use their. If you can replace the word with ‘they are’ use they’re. Otherwise, use there.

There

It’s ‘here’ with a T: think here and there.

Example:

Did I leave my phone here? No, it’s over there.

Their

Used to indicate that a noun (thing) belongs to them.

Example:

That’s their house. 

They’re

The apostrophe reminds you that ‘they’re’ is a contraction of two words: they are. Think of they’re as they are and you’ll know if your sentence makes sense.

Examples:

Look at the statue over they are: no – should be there

The boys are taking they are cars: no – should be their

They are here already: yes – they’re here already

ADVANCED – if you’re already confused, you might want to skip this.

Remember, there’s means there IS. Don’t write there’s when you mean there ARE.

Example:

There’s lots to do here – *applause*

There’s lots of cars in the car park – quack quack oops

Want more writing tips?

For more language love, join my Clever Copy Club and get monthly updates direct to your inbox. Alternatively, email me, follow me on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn or like my page on Facebook.

THERE vs THEIR vs THEY'RE – spelling tips from Sarah Townsend Editorial

THERE vs THEIR vs THEY’RE – spelling tips from Sarah Townsend Editorial