12 most unforgivable writing mistakes

The occasional typo happens—though that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t proofread all your writing—but certain major gaffes can and will undermine your authority and your message. Here’s a dirty dozen.

Ragan Insider Content

We all make mistakes, but there are some that writers should never make.

Though the casual, personal tone of blogging has allowed us to be less formal with the written word, that doesn’t mean we can simply ignore the fundamental rules of writing and grammar. Certain typos can often be brushed off as an innocent oversight, but there are some writing mistakes that are just unforgivable.

These are the ones that can ruin your credibility as a writer and a blogger:

1. Fewer vs. less

Unforgivable: There are less days in February than in March.
Correct: There are fewer days in February than in March.

Use fewer when referring to things that can be counted—for example, “She ate fewer cupcakes tonight than she did last night.” Use less when referring to amounts that cannot be counted, or volumes: “The cupcakes had less frosting yesterday.”

2. Affect vs. effect

Unforgivable: Our services will have a positive affect on your business.
Correct: Our services will have a positive effect on your business.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.