Writing Tips (Part 1)

My recent staff reminders for our writers, bloggers, status updaters, and any other interested parties.

In everyday communication, text, chat, etc. no one really cares about this stuff. Half the time the mistake belongs to auto-correct. But if it’s going in print for others to read in any form of publication, make sure your writing is correct. Intentional rule breaking for the sake of voice and expression is one thing. Sloppy writing is another.

Your, You’re

“Your” is possessive.
That is your cage. It belongs to you. It’s yours.

“You’re” is a contraction and used in place of “you are.”

Tip: When you come across the words “your” and “you’re” while proofreading say the words “you are” to yourself to confirm the correct “your” is being used. IMAG4221_1

He likes your smile.
He likes you are smile.
Nope, that doesn’t make sense.

He likes you because you’re funny.
He likes you because you are funny.
Yep, that makes sense.

If you can substitute the words “you are” for your “you’re” then you’re using the correct “your.”

There, Their, They’re

Remember this: Where? Here or there?

To designate placement, look for the word “here” inside the word “there.” If you can logically sub “where” or “here” for “there” and the sentence still makes sense, you’re good.

He has too many fish in where?
He has too many fish in there.
He has too many fish in here.

Where is your order?
There is your order.
Here is your order.


To show possession, use “their.” Notice the letter “i” and let it be your cue.

I don’t own it; it’s theirs.
I didn’t get a frog and this one is not yours so it must be theirs.
They own it, not I.


“They’re” is a contraction, just like “you’re.” If you can’t sub the words “they are” then you are using the wrong “there.”

I don’t know what they’re thinking.
I don’t know what they are thinking.
Yep. That works. 

Then and Than

“Then” indicates progression.
First I fed the fish and then I rearranged the décor.

“Than” is used in comparison.
I’d rather have freshwater fish than saltwater fish.
My tank is bigger than yours.

Further verses Farther

“Further” is conceptual.
She made it further in life than anyone thought she could.

“Farther” is measurable.
He can throw it farther than his brother.

Accept and Except

“Accept” is in regard to “acceptance.”
“Except” is in regard to an “exception.”

I accept your proposal, except the part about the reduced wage.

Note the “ex” to EXclude the item and make it an EXception.


To, Too, and Two

Please give this to the cashier.

She needs a copy, too. (Tip to remember? Add a comma, add an O. Also or in additionadd an O)

That’s why we make two copies.


I know you didn’t pay attention in school because you never thought you’d need this stuff but I promise, it’s important. Bad writing can distract readers to the point of losing interest. It’s annoying. If your words are worth saying, they’re worth proofreading and editing.

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