In the course of 20+ years as a professional freelance writer, I have come across some writing mistakes so frequently that they begin to feel inevitable. They aren’t. The following are 5 very avoidable writing mistakes:
- Utilizing the word “utilize.” Honestly, “use” is a perfectly accurate word that means exactly the same thing and lets the reader get to the heart of your message two whole syllables faster. Most readers spend 10 seconds to figure out if they want to read further; why eat up those 10 seconds with a word like “utilize”?
- Not editing quotes for good English. You never want to change what an interviewer has clearly stated. But you don’t want to embarrass them by quoting grammatically incorrect English like “we are prepared of joining” when the interviewee clearly meant “we are prepared to join.”
- Ignoring punctuation. Inconsistent, missing, or grammatically incorrect punctuation forces readers to track back over your sentence to make sure they understood what you meant. Bad punctuation equals sloppy writing.
- Redundancies. You cannot have “very capable manufacturing capabilities” or “successful initiatives for success” because those phrases are redundant. It is easy to latch on to a word like capabilities or success and then overuse it in statement after statement. But each use bulks up your message without adding content.
- Vagaries. This writing mistake often appears together with redundancies. What does “capable” mean in your industry? What does “success” look like? How “precise” is your precision and how “speedy” is your speedy delivery? The more specific you are, the more you differentiate yourself from the competition–who are making the same vague claims.
How a Professional Freelance Writer Can Help
As a professional freelance writer, I am alert to avoidable writing mistakes that seem to crop up over and over again. Some are due to unfamiliarity with English; others are bad habits acquired over time; others are attempts to sound profound that simply backfire; and still others stem from confusion over what is and is not permissible.
My one and only passion is writing clear, concise, accurate, and interesting content. If you are concerned about avoidable writing mistakes in your marketing or technical materials, please contact me today at write at twriteplus.com.