Five Writing Mistakes I See Every Day on Social Media

mistakes

Every time I tap the Facebook icon on my phone, I know I’m going to see some grammar and punctuation mistakes. About 5% of them can probably be blamed on that darn auto-correct, but 95% is user error. Here are the top five mistakes I see:

  1. Putting two spaces between sentences. When we started typing on computers instead of typewriters, the rule changed to just one space. Of course, it took typing teachers a while to make the switch, which is why you may have learned to “space space” after every period, but it’s wrong (and has been for twenty years).
  2. Confusing “then” and “than.” Then relates to time; than makes a comparison. “We went to the store, then the park.” “I’d rather go to the park than the store.” Usually people pronounce these words correctly, but don’t write them correctly.  This mistake, more than any other, makes me want to comment with a correction. But I hold back. (Maybe next time I see it I’ll just innocently share this post.)
  3. Using the wrong pronoun, especially I/me. Here’s the trick I learned–take the other person out and see which sounds correct, I or me. So if you type “Jake and me went to the store,” and take Jake out, you have  “Me went the store.” That’s not right so you know it’s I. Or, “She wanted to go to the store with Jake and I,” take out Jake again and you have “She wanted to go to the store with I.” That doesn’t sound right so you know it’s me.
  4. Using random capitalization. Proper nouns are capitalized. Proper nouns are names of people and places. Specific names, not general names. So your son may go to Columbus High School, but he just goes to high school if you aren’t using the proper name. You may type “Heading to the store with Mom” because you’re using it as her name, but you would also type “Heading to the store with my mom” because you’re not using “mom” as her name, but rather her general title. We should never capitalize words for emphasis.
  5. Putting periods and commas outside the quotation marks. Questions marks and exclamation marks sometimes go outside the quotation marks (depending on the sentence structure), but periods and commas always go inside. Remember, they are little and need  protection.

What other writing mistakes do you see people make on social media?

 

Comments

  1. Whew. I always get nervous at first when I see your posts with headlines like this; I don’t want to be making those mistakes! 🙂 Thankfully, I follow most of these rules! I might mix up the I/me sometimes, and I LOVE the trick you described.
    I’m still trying to convince some folks that there’s only one space after a period now! 🙂
    Thanks for your awesome tips, Sandra.

  2. Dawn says:

    Yes! These errors are everywhere. The me/I one is super annoying. I’ve been working on my one-space habit for a couple of years now. When I read old blog posts I see how I did the 2 spaces and it looks so bad! 🙂

    The one I always correct in my head is less than/fewer than. Just about everyone gets that wrong.

    The ones I still mess up frequently are lay/lie and who/whom.

  3. Dawn says:

    Oh, the other one I struggle with is when bands are plural, but they seem singular. Like, “U2 are great at writing songs that move people.” I totally want to say, “U2 is great at writing songs that move people.” I know there are four guys in the band, but when I think of the BAND, I think singular. A band is singular. The members of the band is plural. It’s just a good thing I don’t write professionally.