Writing Mistakes We Commonly Make

writing mistakes

There are many writing mistakes we see frequently both online and in printed materials. But you can avoid the most common mistakes by recognizing your errors, thus improving your writing skills.

Mistakes commonly made can cost you a lot in your career. Many individuals will not buy from companies that are not professional, which is understandable. It is not professional to make mistakes in any aspect of your company, whether the writing is done in an email, an ad, or newsletter, or anything else the company sends out. Proofread your writings and then have someone else proofread them.


The Most Common Mistakes

Take time to make yourself familiar with these common writing mistakes.


Affect and Effect

These two words often confuse individuals, but they are easy to distinguish.

Affect is a verb. Such an example is “The spoiled milk affected my stomach.”

Effect is a noun. An example is “The effect of spoiled milk on the stomach was discussed at the meeting.”

A simple way to remember this is by placing the word the in front of both worlds. If it makes sense, then you will want to use the effect. If it does not make sense, affect is the word you need to use.



Apostrophes can be difficult for many to understand. But with some easy rules, you can learn when and when not to use them.

You should use an apostrophe when you are showing possession or with a contraction.

Using an apostrophe for possession is when there is ownership of something.

Examples with singular subjects  include:

  • Jenny’s house
  • The mailman’s truck


If the subject is plural, you should add the apostrophe after the s.


  • The doctors’ break room
  • The workers’ parking lot


If the word is already plural, such as children, you would simply add the ‘s (children’s).

If the name ends in an s, there are two ways you can place the apostrophe, either by adding the ‘s or not. It is a personal choice, but you should be consistent throughout your writing.


  • The Daniels’s mailbox
  • The Peters home



When using an apostrophe for a contraction, use it in place of the missing letters.

  • Can not turns into can’t
  • Do not turns into don’t
  • They are turns into they’re


You should not use an apostrophe if the word is a plural (cats or kitchens). But there are exceptions to this, such as if the word is a single letter, a number, or an abbreviation where just adding the letter s would change the word.



  • There are two n’s in Annie.
  • How many 1’s are in 911?


Could Have, Should Have, and Would Have

It is typical for people to use could’ve and say it as could of, but this is not right. You should always spell out could have, should have, and would have.


It’s and Its

It’s is a contraction of either it is or it has.

Its is possessive, such as hers or ours.

It’s should only be used for the contraction. It is common for individuals to want to use it’s for possession. If you are not certain, try replacing it’s with it has or it is. If it makes sense, then you can use the ‘s.


There, Their, and They’re


There refers to a place or an idea.

  • The ball landed over there.
  • There are 20 cows in the field.


Their is possessive, meaning someone owns it.

  • Their cat is brown and white.



They’re is a contraction of they are.

  • They’re going to the zoo today.


Theirs and There’s

Theirs is a third person plural possessive pronoun. No apostrophe s is needed.

  • The ball is theirs.


There’s is a contraction of there is.

  • There ‘s one apple left.


To, Too, and Two

To can be used as a preposition or indicates an infinitive.

If it is used as a preposition, it always precedes a noun.

  • I will go to the mall.
  • She went to the library.


If it is used as an infinitive, will will precede a verb.

  • She wants to go running.
  • He needs to exercise.


Too is used as a replacement for also, or it may be used to express excessiveness.

When replaced with the word also, it looks like this.

  • I want to go to the restaurant too.
  • She too wants to play ball.


When used to express excessiveness, it will be preceded by an adverb or adjective.

  • I am too tired to go to school today.
  • Benny was too sick to eat supper.


Two is used as a number.

  • Jill ate two tacos.



By proofreading your work, you can often catch many of your mistakes. You may find it easier to spot mistakes if you print a copy of your work. It may also be a good idea to take a break after you have written it, then come back to it with fresh eyes and a clear brain.