Grammar, Spelling and Numbers

Here are some common mistakes people make when writing that bug the crap out of me. I don’t care what degrees you have or how much you think you know, when you make these simple mistakes no one is going to listen to you. I know there are mistakes that I make too, but the following are not them.

  1. The difference between there, their and they’re:
    1. there: a place. She is over there.
    2. their: shows possession of something to someone (the possessive form of they). I left the keys in their car (implies the car belongs to them).
    3. they’re: contraction of they are. They’re not here, they’re over there, in their car.
  2. The difference between your and you’re:
    1. your: the possessive form of you. It’s your house, the carpet belongs to you.
    2. you’re: contraction of you are. It’s your house, you’re responsible for clearing the sidewalk.
  3. When to spell out numbers vs. when to write the number itself:
    1. Spell out numbers that begin a sentence:
      1. Correct: Seventy people went missing today.
      2. Incorrect: 6 pairs of shoes are better than five.
    2. Spell out single digit numbers, not multi-digit numbers, except in the same category:
      1. Correct: I bought five candy bars for my students.
      2. Correct: My 10 cats need to be spayed and neutered.
      3. Correct: I need five Snickers bars and four Mars bars.
      4. Incorrect: I want eight yellow buckets and 12 green buckets. (buckets are in the same category, spell out twelve or write 8.)
  4. Format addresses correctly (use proper case). When on a resume do not use abbreviations:
    1. Correct: 100 N 10th St., Tacoma, WA 98409
    2. Incorrect: 100 n 10 st., tacoma wa 98409
    3. Correct: 1715 E Main, Puyallup, WA 98372
    4. Incorrect: 1715 e Main St., Puyallup, WA 98372
    5. Correct: 1108 E 98th St Ct S, Tacoma, WA 98466
    6. Incorrect: 1108 e 98 st ct s, Tacoma, WA 98466
    7. Correct (on a resume): 1108 East 98th Street Court South, Tacoma, Washington 98466
    8. Incorrect (on a resume) 1108 E 98th St Ct S, Tacoma, WA 98466
  5. Don’t use @ to refer to someone, either by name or handle, unless you’re on twitter:
    1. Correct: SomeCleverHandle, you are exactly right!
    2. Incorrect: @SomeCleverHandle, you are completely wrong!