As part of my job, I do a lot of copywriting and proofreading and I can tell you now, it’s always hardest proofing copy that you have written yourself!
None of us are perfect (I regularly think 'oh god - how did I DO that!' when I read over my work) so here's a cheat sheet to use when you're not quite sure which of the below to use, based off the 10 most frequent little slip ups I see.
1. Their / there / they’re
THINK: If it belongs to someone then it’s THEIR (it’s their house). If you are talking about a physical place then it’s THERE (it’s over there) or if you can replace it with ‘they are’ then it is THEY’RE (they’re/they are funny).
2. Your / you’re
THINK: Could you replace it with ‘you are’? It makes sense to say both ‘you’re gorgeous’ and ‘you are gorgeous’ but it DOESN’T make sense to say ‘how’s you are day going’ so it needs to be ‘how's your day going’.
3. Its / it’s
THINK: Could you replace it with ‘it is’? It makes sense to say both ‘it’s sunny’ and ‘it is sunny’. If it doesn’t make sense, use 'its'. E.g. ‘the dog loves its bed’ does NOT make sense as ‘the dog loves it is bed’.
4. Saturdays / Saturday’s (or any other day of the week)
THINK: Am you talking about multiple Saturdays (i.e. sleep ins are for Saturdays) or am I talking about something ‘belonging’ to a Saturday (i.e. Saturday’s sleep in).
5. Advice / advise
THINK: Advice is a noun, advise is the verb. You can give ‘advice’ and be ‘advised’ but you can’t be 'adviced’ or give ‘advise’.
6. Lets / let’s
THINK: If it means 'let us' you must use let's not lets! He lets out his property. Let’s go out for lunch.
7. I.e. / e.g.
I.e. means ‘in other words’.
E.g. means ‘for example’.
8. Complement / compliment
Complement = ‘to go well with something’ (that lipstick complements your outfit).
Compliment = ‘to praise/admire someone’ (thank you for the compliment).
9. Me / I / myself
THINK: Would it make sense if it was only me? For example, 'Carole and I went to the shops' DOES make sense as 'I went to the shops', but 'Me and Carole are going to the shops' DOES NOT make sense as 'me am going to the shops'.
10. Posts / post's OR videos / video's
THINK: If you're talking about multiple posts it's posts! If you're talking about something that belonged to the post, then it's post's. E.g. the post's content. Similarly it's 'look at all those videos' and 'the video's music is great'.
So there you have it. The most common little slip ups that I see online. Grammar can be tricky, but it's important to get right so that we're giving out a slick message about our brand.
These are just a few examples. What words or phrases always make you think twice?