grammar http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4313/all en-US Almost Half of Job Applicants Make This Same Foolish Mistake http://www.wisebread.com/almost-half-of-job-applicants-make-this-same-foolish-mistake <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/almost-half-of-job-applicants-make-this-same-foolish-mistake" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-513955428.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hiring professionals in industries far and wide, when looking at applications ranging from entry-level to upper management, say almost 50% of the applicants are making the same mistake. Is it grammar? Poor choice of words? Not completing an online test, or answering questions incorrectly?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It's actually something much more basic. And it's a mistake that is completely inexcusable. </span></p> <h2>Almost Half of Job Applicants Are Not Following Directions</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As bizarre as it may sound, job applicants are just </span><a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/hr-pros-at-least-40-of-job-applicants-dont-follow-instructions/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">not following basic instructions</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> or directions given out by the employer or recruiting agency. Every application is different, but the basic problem is the same across the board </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">&mdash; </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">the inability to follow the directions to the letter. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Most of the time, this means omitting information required by the employer, from a resume or cover letter, to background information, references, and even contact information. For example, many applicants include a name and address, but not a phone number or email. That instantly puts them out of the running, as the HR department is too busy to track down people that don't have an immediate form of contact. No one is going to write you via snail mail inviting you to come in for an interview. Plus, the fact that you left out such a basic piece of information simply doesn't look good. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">HR professionals also indicated that a simple visual test is often done on applications. If anything is blank, messy, or missing, the application goes into the trash. With so many people competing for the same job these days, removing applicants who cannot follow instructions makes life a lot easier, instantly thinning the pack. </span></p> <h2>Employers May Actively Test Your Ability to Follow Directions</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It's not just about noticing mistakes. Some employers may actually lay traps that you have to avoid. Perhaps one of the most famous instances of an employer testing the suitability of a candidate goes back to an Army recruitment campaign in England. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Army ran ads asking people to order a special recruitment kit. The kit included a VHS cassette (yes, it was a while ago). When the prospective new recruit put the tape into the VCR and hit play, the video showed an explosion. It then went on to tell people who saw that explosion that they were not the right candidate for the Army, because they did not follow the instructions. As it turns out, there was a small message on the cassette that said &quot;rewind me first.&quot; Clever. Very clever. Of course, there was no way to know if the candidate lied about seeing that explosion first, but what it did was plant the seed of doubt. If they missed that, what would they miss on a real mission? Maybe this is not the career for them. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Another example comes from entrance exams that ask candidates to complete &quot;only three of the following four questions.&quot; If the candidate answers all four, even if they answer them perfectly, it is a huge red flag to the employer. The inability to follow this simple direction lets the employer know that you either don't pay attention to details, you're too eager to get started, or you just refuse to follow the rules. These are not good qualities in a candidate.</span></p> <h2>So&hellip;What Can You Do to Be a Better Job Applicant?</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Perhaps the biggest piece of advice, and the simplest, is to slow down. You may well have several applications to fill out for different jobs, but you cannot afford to rush them. By slowing down, and reading everything, you are far less likely to make a mistake. Having said that, you can also follow these steps to make sure you do not end up in the reject pile, along with almost half of the other applicants.</span></p> <h3>1. Read Through Everything Twice Before You Start</h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It's a little bit like the old DIY adage, &quot;Measure twice, cut once.&quot; You should go through the entire application, line by line, and be clear about what you are being asked to provide. If you need to prepare something, such as a cover letter or a portfolio of your work, make a note of it. </span></p> <h3>2. Complete a Trial Application First</h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Think of it as a practice run. Fill it all out, and then read it back to yourself. What is missing? What sounds good, and what sounds bad? What can you improve, or edit? Are there sections that are stronger than others? Have you included the relevant dates and places, or achievements that could make you stand out? Mark it up, and then complete the application again. If you're doing this online, print out the application and fill it out by hand first. </span></p> <h3>3. Run Everything Through a Spelling/Grammar Checker</h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Even if your document is beautifully formatted and has all the required information, spelling errors can really mess you up. Some companies may even use software to weed out applications with too many grammar problems. If you're submitting an application using pen and paper, this may not be possible (unless you have a text recognition app or device). In that case, move on to the next step&hellip;</span></p> <h3>4. Have Someone Else Look Over Your Application</h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A friend. A colleague. A family member. Someone you trust. Put the application in front of them and ask them to go over it line by line. Ask them to read the instructions, too. Having someone else with a fresh eye can really help you out. They will notice glaring errors that you have become blind to.</span></p> <h3>5. Look Back at Your Notes Before You Submit Anything</h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Remember those notes you took at the very beginning? Now, after you have completed everything, is the time to check the &quot;to-do&quot; boxes off that list. Do you have your cover letter? Is it attached to the application? Is it stapled, or put on there with a paper clip (some employers want it done a specific way)? If you're sending something over the Internet, have you made sure the documents are formatted correctly, and saved the way the employer likes them (some prefer PDFs to Word documents)? All of this should be looked over carefully before putting it in the mail or hitting send.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Remember, the ability to follow simple directions is the very least an employer should expect from a candidate. If you don't do everything by the letter, you could be missing out on a great job, and a lucrative career. </span></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/almost-half-of-job-applicants-make-this-same-foolish-mistake">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-grammar-mistakes-that-are-making-you-look-stupid">12 Grammar Mistakes That Are Making You Look Stupid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-hard-truths-about-getting-hired-that-you-dont-want-to-believe">10 Hard Truths About Getting Hired That You Don&#039;t Want to Believe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-never-do-during-a-job-interview">10 Things You Should Never Do During a Job Interview</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-dumb-things-employment-recruiters-see-people-do">6 Dumb Things Employment Recruiters See People Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-more-grammar-mistakes-that-are-making-you-look-stupid">12 More Grammar Mistakes That Are Making You Look Stupid</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Job Hunting following directions grammar hiring human resources job applications Mistakes recruiters Mon, 23 Jan 2017 11:00:13 +0000 Paul Michael 1877412 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 More Grammar Mistakes That Are Making You Look Stupid http://www.wisebread.com/12-more-grammar-mistakes-that-are-making-you-look-stupid <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-more-grammar-mistakes-that-are-making-you-look-stupid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman-writing-450814525-small.jpg" alt="businessman writing" title="businessman writing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Having bad grammar can be a job killer.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://hbr.org/2012/07/i-wont-hire-people-who-use-poo/">Some employers won't hire people who use poor grammar</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Even in industries, such as IT, <a href="http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/career-management/would-you-hire-someone-with-poor-grammar-skills/">good grammar is a requirement</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Human resource experts see <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-sloppiness-is-killing-your-job-search/">bad grammar as an obstacle to landing the job</a>.</li> </ul> <p>Simply put: If you're not able to distinguish the difference between &quot;your&quot; and &quot;you're,&quot; employers may not be comfortable with your learning curve.</p> <p>So take action today, and fix these 12 more grammar mistakes that are making you look stupid. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-grammar-mistakes-that-are-making-you-look-stupid?ref=seealso">12 Grammar Mistakes That Are Making You Look Stupid</a>)</p> <h2>Mixing Up Words</h2> <p>At the top of the list of grammar mistakes is the misuse of homonyms (words that sound alike). Let's look at some common mixups.</p> <h3>1. Its vs It's</h3> <ul> <li><em>Its</em> is a possessive pronoun</li> <li><em>It's</em> is a contraction of &quot;it is.&quot;</li> </ul> <p>The test to determine whether or not you're using &quot;it's&quot; correctly is to replace it for &quot;it is.&quot; For example, &quot;<em>It's</em> an apple&quot; is correct (&quot;<em>It is</em> an apple&quot; makes sense), and &quot;<em>It's</em> red car is awesome&quot; is incorrect (&quot;<em>It is</em> red car is awesome&quot; doesn't make sense).</p> <h3>2. Lose vs Loose</h3> <p>That extra &quot;o&quot; makes a world of difference.</p> <ul> <li>Use <em>lose</em> to indicate that you're unable to find something or someone, or fail to win a game or contest. For example, &quot;when I play chess with grandpa, I <em>lose</em> all the time!&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>On the other hand, use <em>loose</em> when something is not tightly fastened, attached, or held. For example, &quot;wearing <em>loose</em> pants is very comfortable.&quot;</li> </ul> <h3>3. To vs Too vs Two</h3> <ul> <li><em>To</em> indicates place or direction. (&quot;I moved from Maryland to Hawaii.&quot;) <em>To</em> is also used when you're using a verb in its infinitive form. (&quot;<em>To</em> make that move was great!&quot;)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><em>Too</em> means also. (&quot;I made that move, <em>too</em>!&quot;)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><em>Two</em> is the number after one. (&quot;<em>Two</em> people moved from Maryland to Hawaii.&quot;)</li> </ul> <p>Now that you know the difference, test yourself with this sentence: &quot;I'm to/too/two tired to/too/two help you carry these to/too/two suitcases to/too/two the taxi.&quot;</p> <h3>4. Accept vs Except</h3> <p>While these words may sound alike, they have very different meanings. Generally <em>except</em> is a preposition (it can also be a verb or conjunction) and <em>accept</em> is a verb. Here are some examples.</p> <ul> <li>The most common use of except is to exclude somebody or something. For example, &quot;the family was all there <em>except</em> Uncle Jerry.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use accept when you take or receive something, such as in the event that &quot;you <em>accept</em> the Oscar on behalf of Leonardo DiCaprio.&quot;</li> </ul> <h3>5. Advice vs Advise</h3> <p>Confusing these two words can sound like nails scratching on a chalkboard. <em>Advice</em> is a noun and <em>advise</em> is a verb.</p> <ul> <li>Use <em>advice</em> to refer to guidance or recommendations. (&quot;I accept your <em>advice</em>.&quot;)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>On the other hand, use <em>advise</em> to indicate the action of giving suggestions or recommendations. (&quot;I <em>advise</em> you to go home.&quot;)</li> </ul> <h2>Idioms</h2> <p>An idiom is an expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of the words that make it up. The most mistakes with idioms involve verbs and their associated prepositions.</p> <h3>6. Distinguish From vs Distinguish Between&hellip; And&hellip;.</h3> <p>Both idioms are correct, but you need to use the right prepositions at the right time.</p> <ul> <li>Incorrect: &quot;Some people can't <em>distinguish</em> Monet <em>and</em> Manet.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Correct: &quot;Some people can't <em>distinguish between</em> Monet <em>and</em> Manet.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Correct: Some people can't <em>distinguish</em> Monet <em>from</em> Manet.&quot;</li> </ul> <h3>7. Consider</h3> <p>When you use &quot;consider,&quot; you don't add the preposition &quot;as.&quot;</p> <p>I <em>consider</em> this a common mistake because people think of the similar idiomatic expression, &quot;regard as.&quot;</p> <h3>8. Supposed To</h3> <p>In this case, the problem is not the preposition but the verb tense in the idiom.</p> <ul> <li>Incorrect: &quot;I was suppose to call you last weekend.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Correct: &quot;I was <em>supposed to</em> call you last weekend.&quot;</li> </ul> <h2>Made Up Words or Phrases</h2> <p>These words don't even exist, yet somehow end up in our speech and writing. Here are some terrifying abuses of the English language.</p> <h3>9. Irregardless</h3> <p>Holy double negatives, Batman!</p> <p>&quot;Irregardless&quot; is not a word. When you're trying to say &quot;anyhow&quot; or &quot;anyway&quot; use &quot;regardless.&quot; When you use &quot;regardless&quot; at the beginning of a sentence, add the preposition &quot;of.&quot;</p> <ul> <li>Correct: &quot;They knew it was going to rain; they went to the park <em>regardless</em>.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Correct: &quot;<em>Regardless of</em> the rain, they went to the beach.&quot;</li> </ul> <h3>10. Could of, Would of, and Should of</h3> <p>When said quickly &quot;I would've gone to the movies if you had invited me,&quot; some people may hear &quot;would of.&quot; This happens because &quot;would have&quot; is contracted as &quot;would've.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Could of,&quot; &quot;would of,&quot; and &quot;should of&quot; are speech slurs of &quot;could've,&quot; &quot;would've,&quot; and &quot;should've.&quot; When writing out these expressions, make sure to spell them correctly as &quot;could've,&quot; &quot;would've,&quot; and &quot;should've.&quot;</p> <h3>11. Doggy-Dog World</h3> <p>A &quot;doggy-dog&quot; world sounds like a wonderful paradise filled with tiny, fluffy, and cuddly puppies.</p> <p>If you're trying to say that the world is a vicious place filled with people that will betray one another to get to the top, then you must be referring to a &quot;dog-eat-dog world.&quot;</p> <h3>12. Dangling Participle</h3> <p>Last but not least, here is my second favorite grammar pet peeve: the dangling participle.</p> <p>Also known as dangling modifier, the dangling participle is one of the most common grammar mistakes. Not only will this error make you look dumb, but also it will render your speech or writing almost unintelligible.</p> <ul> <li>Incorrect: &quot;By studying every day, the grade increased from 70 to 90.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Correct: &quot;By studying every day, Mike increased his score from 70 to 90.&quot;</li> </ul> <p>Notice that a modifier (&quot;By studying every day&quot;) attaches to the first noun it meets. Since grades don't study, the modifier is misplaced in the first example. In the second, it modifies &quot;Mike,&quot; and we understand how he improved his score.</p> <p>Modifier phrases, such as participles, must be right before or right after the noun that they're modifying. Take a look at this next example:</p> <ul> <li>Incorrect: &quot;After declining for months, the company turned around its revenue.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Better: &quot;After declining for months, the revenue was turned around by the company.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Best: &quot;The company turned around the revenue, which had been declining for months.&quot; (This is the best choice because it avoids the use of passive voice.)</li> </ul> <p>By paying attention to these grammar mistakes, you are improving the chances of landing your dream job.</p> <p><em>What are your grammar pet peeves? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-more-grammar-mistakes-that-are-making-you-look-stupid">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-grammar-mistakes-that-are-making-you-look-stupid">12 Grammar Mistakes That Are Making You Look Stupid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-learned-from-new-years-eves-gone-wrong">Lessons Learned from New Year&#039;s Eves Gone Wrong</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-by-learning-how-to-admit-youre-wrong">Change Your Life by Learning How to Admit You&#039;re Wrong</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-stupidest-things-smart-people-do">The 10 Stupidest Things Smart People Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips diction grammar Mistakes spelling Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:00:16 +0000 Damian Davila 1257851 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Grammar Mistakes That Are Making You Look Stupid http://www.wisebread.com/12-grammar-mistakes-that-are-making-you-look-stupid <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-grammar-mistakes-that-are-making-you-look-stupid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/writing-459418871-small.jpg" alt="writing" title="writing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Good grammar is sexy.</p> <p>On the other hand, bad grammar is not only a turn off, but also increases the likelihood that people skip your message altogether. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-get-people-to-respond-to-your-email?ref=seealso">15 Ways to Get People to Respond to Your Email</a>)</p> <p>&quot;If you is not doing it good, the grammar,&quot; you may be appearing dumb to others. So, clean up your speech and your writing by avoiding these 12 common grammar mistakes.</p> <h2>Use the Right Word</h2> <p>As Inigo Montoya said in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000TJBNHG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000TJBNHG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=OZJLP2SBJTMMXSZH">The Princess Bride</a>: &quot;You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.&quot;</p> <h3>1. Specially vs Especially</h3> <p>These two adverbs often confuse people. While both of them indicate that something is particular, they are used in different circumstances.</p> <ul> <li>Use <em>specially</em> to indicate a particular or specific purpose. For example, &quot;I baked this pie <em>specially</em> for this occasion.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Include &quot;especially&quot; to denote a particular or exceptional quality. For example, &quot;Steve did <em>especially</em> well on today's game.&quot;</li> </ul> <h3>2. Your vs You're</h3> <ul> <li><em>Your</em> is a possessive pronoun.</li> <li><em>You're</em> is a contraction of &quot;you are.&quot;</li> </ul> <p>When in doubt about whether or not you're using <em>you're</em> correctly, expand the contraction. For example, &quot;<em>You're</em> pants are wrinkly&quot; is incorrect (&quot;<em>You are</em> pants are wrinkly&quot;), and it should be &quot;<em>Your</em> pants are wrinkly.&quot;</p> <h3>3. Effect vs Affect</h3> <p>While both words can be used as either verbs or nouns, generally <em>effect</em> is a noun and <em>affect</em> is a verb. We can clarify it a little further.</p> <ul> <li>When you are referring to a result or consequence, use <em>effect</em>. For example, &quot;the <em>effects</em> of this workout are impressive.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>On the other hand, use <em>affect</em> when indicating the action or influence. For example, &quot;this workout <em>affects</em> the way I walk.&quot;</li> </ul> <h3>4. Elicit vs Illicit</h3> <ul> <li><em>Elicit</em> is a verb meaning &quot;to bring out.&quot;</li> <li><em>Illicit</em> is an adjective indicating that something is illegal or unlawful.</li> </ul> <p>Check out the difference: &quot;The interviewer couldn't <em>elicit</em> information from the executive about the <em>illicit</em> business transactions.&quot;</p> <h3>5. Their vs They're vs There</h3> <ul> <li><em>Their</em> is a possessive pronoun. (&quot;This is <em>their</em> house.&quot;)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><em>They're</em> is a contraction of &quot;they are.&quot; Use the same test described for <em>you're</em> to check your sentence.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><em>There</em> is an adverb specifying place. (&quot;The entrance to the party is over <em>there</em>.&quot;)</li> </ul> <p>In general, words that sound alike (known as <em>homonyms</em>) are common sources of grammatical errors. While I have selected five of the most common ones, you can also review this <a href="http://grammar.about.com/od/words/a/HomonymChart.htm">list of 200 homonyms</a>.</p> <h2>Pronouns</h2> <p>Let's use the following sentence &quot;Mary and Kelly are sisters, and she like to eat cake&quot; to explain two frequent issues when using pronouns.</p> <h3>6. Subject-Pronoun Agreement</h3> <p>The verb tense is singular so &quot;like&quot; must be referring to both Mary and Kelly. We need to switch &quot;she&quot; with &quot;they&quot; to indicate that both sisters like to eat cake: &quot;Mary and Kelly are sisters, and <em>they</em> like to eat cake.&quot;</p> <h3>7. Pronoun Ambiguity</h3> <p>If you were to note that only one of the sisters likes to eat cake, you would write &quot;Mary and Kelly are sisters, and she likes to eat cake.&quot;</p> <p>The problem with this sentence is that we are not sure which sister is the one that likes to eat cake. To prevent pronoun ambiguity replace a pronoun with the correct noun that you're referring to: &quot;Mary and Kelly are sisters, and <em>Mary</em> likes to eat cake.&quot;</p> <h2>Lists and Comparisons</h2> <p>When you build lists or compare items, you have to be consistent in order and form.</p> <h3>8. Parallel Lists</h3> <p>Items in a list need to be in <em>parallel</em> form, which means that all phrases and clauses are similar.</p> <ul> <li>Incorrect: &quot;He was proud of his book, car, and his pet.&quot;</li> <li>Correct: &quot;He was proud of his book, his car, and his pet.&quot;</li> <li>Correct: &quot;He was proud of his book, car, and pet.&quot;</li> </ul> <p>Be consistent in your lists by using either only gerunds or only nouns, not both.</p> <ul> <li>Incorrect: &quot;Developing a plan, investment security, and working fast are essential for entrepreneurial success.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Correct: &quot;Developing a plan, securing investments, and working fast are essential for entrepreneurial success.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Correct: &quot;Plan development, investment security, and fast work are essential for entrepreneurial success.&quot;</li> </ul> <p>Maintaining strong parallelism in speech and writing has a bonus effect &mdash; in addition to helping you sound smarter, it will encourage you to think more clearly.</p> <h3>9. Logical Comparisons</h3> <p>Compare items that are both grammatically and logically comparable. Since those items are also in a list, keep the list in parallel form.</p> <ul> <li>Incorrect: &quot;Unlike the economies of Italy and France, England has a terrible economy.&quot;</li> <li>Correct: &quot;Unlike the economies of Italy and France, the economy of England is terrible.&quot;</li> <li>Correct: &quot;Unlike Italy and France, England has a terrible economy.&quot;</li> </ul> <h2>Subjunctive Mood</h2> <p>The subjunctive mood is the verb form used to express a wish, a suggestion, a command, or a condition that is contrary to fact. Despite its fancy name, the subjunctive mood is used quite often.</p> <h3>10. Hypothetical Situations</h3> <p>When talking about hypothetical situations or contrary-to-fact scenarios, use &quot;were&quot; and &quot;would.&quot; A quick way to remember this rule is that the lyrics from <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rlNpWYQunY">Gwen Stefani's Rich Girl</a> (&quot;If I was a rich girl&hellip;&quot;) are grammatically incorrect, and those from <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWpsOqh8q0M">Beyonce's If I Were a Boy</a> are grammatically correct.</p> <h3>11. Orders and Recommendations</h3> <p>Verbs, such as <em>order</em>, <em>demand</em>, <em>wish</em>, and <em>insist</em>, attract the subjunctive mood. When using these and similar verbs the correct sentence format looks like this:</p> <ul> <li>The President demands that taxes be lowered.</li> <li>My mother insists that the door be opened.</li> </ul> <p>After the verb, use &quot;that,&quot; a new subject, and the infinitive form of a verb without the &quot;to.&quot; In these cases, a common mistake when using the subjunctive is to use an unnecessary &quot;should.&quot;</p> <h2>12. Countable vs Uncountable Items</h2> <p>Last but not least, here is my personal grammar pet peeve: the incorrect use of <em>less</em> and <em>few</em>.</p> <ul> <li><em>Less</em> can only refer to uncountable things, such as water, confidence, and energy.</li> <li><em>Few</em> must refer to countable things, such as dollars, persons, and cats.</li> </ul> <p>Notice that while <em>money</em> is not countable, <em>euros</em> are countable. The easiest way to prevent this mistake is by using units of measurement, such as watts for energy and degrees for temperature.</p> <p>I hope that you have <em>less</em> uncertainty about grammar and make <em>fewer </em>mistakes!</p> <p><em>What are your grammar pet peeves? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-grammar-mistakes-that-are-making-you-look-stupid">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-more-grammar-mistakes-that-are-making-you-look-stupid">12 More Grammar Mistakes That Are Making You Look Stupid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/almost-half-of-job-applicants-make-this-same-foolish-mistake">Almost Half of Job Applicants Make This Same Foolish Mistake</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-by-learning-how-to-admit-youre-wrong">Change Your Life by Learning How to Admit You&#039;re Wrong</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-learned-from-new-years-eves-gone-wrong">Lessons Learned from New Year&#039;s Eves Gone Wrong</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-stupidest-things-smart-people-do">The 10 Stupidest Things Smart People Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips grammar Mistakes spelling Tue, 30 Sep 2014 11:00:08 +0000 Damian Davila 1222063 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Easy Ways to Avoid Common Spelling and Grammatical Errors http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-avoid-common-spelling-and-grammatical-errors <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-easy-ways-to-avoid-common-spelling-and-grammatical-errors" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/book-153704871.jpg" alt="woman reading" title="woman reading" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="181" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It doesn&#39;t matter who you are or what you do for a living, writing is an integral part of everything we do. Think of how many times a day you have to write an email, or a letter, or write the content for a presentation. Even a simple thank you card should be grammatically correct and free of spelling errors. As a writer and former teacher, I have used my experience to put together five quick and easy ways to avoid common spelling and grammatical mistakes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-reasons-to-write-a-letter?ref=seealso">20+ Reasons to Write a Letter</a>)</p> <h2>1. Proofread Tomorrow and Find a Good Editor</h2> <p>Anyone can miss a typo or make grammatical errors under a strict deadline. But even if you aren&#39;t a professional writer typing quickly to meet a deadline, a second pair of eyes on your work is essential. You can&#39;t stare at the same document for hours at a time and then expect to find spelling errors or awkward wording on your own.</p> <p>The reason for this is that we read our own work with a certain expectation about what we <em>meant</em> to write, so it&#39;s very easy to miss a word or a word that isn&#39;t spelled correctly. Always step away from whatever you are working on for at least a few hours (24 hours is ideal) so that you can see it with a fresh pair of eyes. Read it several times, but not so many that you start to over think it (I am guilty of this one). Once you make your own revisions, find an editor.</p> <p>You don&#39;t have to hire an editor, unless you are writing a book. However, if you are writing something important, such as a cover letter for a job, find a savvy friend or family member who can read it for grammatical errors and help you organize your ideas. Never deliver a cover letter, resume, or any important document without having someone else look at it first. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-ways-to-improve-your-resume-today?ref=seealso">How to Improve Your Resume</a>)</p> <h2>2. Don&#39;t Rely on Spellcheck</h2> <p>Relying solely on a spelling and grammar checking program is one of the most common mistakes made by people writing at any level. The grammar check is particularly tricky, because it isn&#39;t always 100% correct. For instance, what if you spell &quot;there&quot; when you really meant &quot;their,&quot; or &quot;wood&quot; instead of &quot;would&quot;? While some grammar checking programs will catch these errors, most of them are not as accurate as a human editor.</p> <p>I do use it as a tool to help me edit more quickly, but I don&#39;t rely on it for all my edits. I also don&#39;t accept any changes that appear questionable to me or that I know are wrong. But I have an English degree, and I taught Writing Composition to college students. What if you don&#39;t know all the rules? That&#39;s why I&#39;ve included tip number three.</p> <h2>3. Keep a Reliable Resource on Hand</h2> <p>Whether you are using an online tool, or a hard copy of a writing manual, such as Diana Hacker&#39;s <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312647360/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0312647360&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Rules for Writers</a>, you need to have some type of resource to help you check your grammar and spelling. These are also excellent tools for answering any grammatical questions you may have.</p> <p>If you are looking for an answer fast, I highly recommend<a href="http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl"> Grammar Girl&#39;s website</a>. No, that isn&#39;t Phoebe from &quot;Friends.&quot; She&#39;s actually a knowledgeable writer with a comprehensive website. I can almost guarantee that she will have an answer for any grammatical question you may have.</p> <p>In addition to Hacker&#39;s &quot;Rules for Writers,&quot; which was the handbook I assigned when I taught composition, I also recommend <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0767903099/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0767903099&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Sin and Syntax</a> by Constance Hale and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0767910435/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0767910435&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Bryson&#39;s Dictionary of Troublesome Words</a> by Bill Bryson (this book is highly entertaining, too).</p> <p>Lastly on this subject, get a good dictionary. I&#39;m an American Heritage kind of gal, but no matter which one you choose, don&#39;t forget to use it! This helps you remember how to spell words instead of just relying on spellcheck or Googling a word when you don&#39;t know how to spell it.</p> <h2>4. Make a List of Your Frequent Mistakes</h2> <p>Keep a list of mistakes that you know you make consistently. I have a friend who can never remember to put the apostrophe in &quot;it&#39;s&quot; when it is appropriate, even though she knows the difference between &quot;it&#39;s&quot; and &quot;its.&quot; I suggested that she keep a list of words that give her trouble saved in a Word document on her desktop, and then she can quickly refer to it whenever she&#39;s writing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-learn-from-your-mistakes?ref=seealso">How to Learn From Your Mistakes</a>)</p> <h2>5. Use Easy-to-Remember Shortcuts</h2> <p>One of my coworkers can never remember when to use &quot;affect&quot; or &quot;effect.&quot; Affect is always used as a verb, as in &quot;Your lateness affects everyone at the office.&quot; Effect is a noun, as in &quot;There are no known adverse side effects to this drug.&quot; One easy way to remember this is to think of a word or phrase that includes the troublesome word. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter?ref=seealso">How to Improve Your Memory</a>)</p> <p>I told my coworker to always think of &quot;greenhouse effect,&quot; because you can see that it is a noun. Also, most people know how to spell it because it is in the news and in print all the time. For any words or rules you have trouble remembering, find a similar way to trick your brain into remembering it forever.</p> <p><em>What are some of the ways that you avoid spelling and grammar errors in your writing. Please share your tips with us in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-watson">Ashley Watson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-avoid-common-spelling-and-grammatical-errors">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-write-like-a-girl">Do you write like a girl?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-money-during-a-semester-abroad">7 Ways to Make Money During a Semester Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-college-students-can-save-money-before-class-starts">8 Ways College Students Can Save Money Before Class Starts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans">8 Tax Tricks to Try if You&#039;re Stuck With Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training grammar typos writing Thu, 26 Dec 2013 10:37:36 +0000 Ashley Watson 1102865 at http://www.wisebread.com Do you write like a girl? http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-write-like-a-girl <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/girlwriting.jpg" alt=" " width="226" height="231" /></p> <p>Based on some of the comments <a href="/bottled-water-bottled-hype-part-1#comment-15161">we get around here</a>, it&#39;s safe to say that some of you might suspect me of possessing my very own pair of cajones. Attached ones, that is. Not, like, in a jar or something. Sicko.</p> <p>Well, it turns out that there might be something to that. No, no, I&#39;m not a man. Not even part man. Sure, I can beat you in an arm-wrestling competition <strong>without even using my arms</strong>, but I&#39;m all woman, baby. Only apparently, I <em>write</em> like a man. </p> <p>Fellow Wise Bread blogger, web admin, and all around studmuffin <a href="/greg-go">Greg Go</a> just turned me on to what might possibly be the best and most interesting way to procrastinate online since Google Earth: <a href="http://bookblog.net/gender/genie.php">The Gender Genie</a>.</p> <p>The Gender Genie is a nifty little program that uses a linguistic <a href="http://www.cs.biu.ac.il/~koppel/papers/male-female-text-final.pdf">algorithm</a> to determine whether or not a chunk of text has been written by a man or a woman. And it doesn&#39;t search for key words or anything - for instance, if you read the text above, you might believe that I&#39;m a woman. But paste that text into the Gender Genie and submit it, and it comes back with a male score (albeit a close one).</p> <p class="blockquote">On the internet, there is a new website that claims to be able to tell you, with 80% accuracy, whether a piece of writing has been done by a man or by a woman. It uses a computer programme developed by a team of Israeli scientists after an exhaustive study of the differences between male and female use of language. </p> <p>One of their findings is that women are far more likely than men to use personal pronouns (&quot;I&quot;, &quot;you&quot;, &quot;she&quot;, etc), whereas men prefer words that identify or determine nouns (&quot;a&quot;, &quot;the&quot;, &quot;that&quot;) or that quantify them (&quot;one&quot;, &quot;two&quot;, &quot;more&quot;). According to Moshe Koppel, one of the authors of the project, this is because women are more comfortable thinking about people and relationships, whereas men prefer thinking about things. But the self-styled &quot;stylometricians&quot;, in creating their gender-identifying algorithm, have been at pains to avoid the obvious. </p> <p>The Gender Genie has been covered before, a <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,5673,1079265,00.html">long time ago</a>, in all sorts of <a href="http://pam_oconnell.tripod.com/91103.txt">respectable publications</a>, and so this isn&#39;t going to be incredible news to some of you, but hey - anything I can do to help you put off that investor presentation, eh?</p> <p>Of course, now I&#39;m obsessively pasting my articles into the Gender Genie to see just how big my cajones really are (by the way, when you try it out, don&#39;t use quoted material, because that will taint the results - just use the author&#39;s original writing). And my writing actually varies significantly from article to article. Even Paul seems to get in touch with his feminine side during the first few paragraphs of his <a href="/turn-1-into-100-in-about-2-minutes">Turn $1 into $100 in about 2 minutes</a> post. Actually, even the Guardian found that most female columnists come across as male, according to the Gender Genie.</p> <p>The whole thing kind of reminds me of that episode of This American Life in which the staff and a few regular contributors <a href="http://www.thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=220">get their testosterone levels</a> checked (starts around 33:20). Yes, I brought up This American Life, again (call me, Ira). Would a <strong>man</strong> obsessively promote something like This American Life? I ask you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-write-like-a-girl">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-trouble-with-women">The Trouble With Women</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-avoid-common-spelling-and-grammatical-errors">5 Easy Ways to Avoid Common Spelling and Grammatical Errors</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/women-pay-more-for-health-care-heres-how-to-pay-less">Women Pay More for Health Care — Here&#039;s How to Pay Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-money-during-a-semester-abroad">7 Ways to Make Money During a Semester Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Commentary ambiguous blog gender genie grammar linguistics men pronouns sex women writing Fri, 20 Apr 2007 16:01:15 +0000 Andrea Karim 535 at http://www.wisebread.com