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5 Common Writing Mistakes

Let’s talk about writing mistakes. Everyone makes them, but that is where learning to recognize them and working with the right person comes in. Having at least a few small errors is not uncommon, even in writing that has had multiple editing passes. The brain has a tendency to skip errors in a piece of work, especially if the person has been working on the same project for a long time. This is why it is a good idea to have someone else take a look at your writing before publication or submission. It is also crucial to train your brain as a writer to recognize common errors.

Here are a few of the ones that I often see as an editor:

#1 - Omitting Words

It happens to all of us. Your brain starts moving faster than your fingers can type and then you end up leaving out one or more words. It's very easy to skip over part of a sentence because your mind has already included those words.

Tip #2 - Wrong Word

It's easy for some to mix up things like except and accept or illusion and allusion. Even a seasoned author might use the wrong ‘two’ or ‘there’ if they aren’t paying attention. If you have words that you frequently misuse, try keeping a list with definitions. This can help remind you of the correct usage.

Tip #3 - Wrong or Missing Hyphens

This can happen when an author puts together two-word verbs such as look at or switch off with a hyphen, or neglects a hyphen in a compound adjective such as twentieth-century or ten-year-old.

Tip #4 - Tense Shift

Shifting verb tense in the middle of a story is a fairly common mistake, but one that can confuse readers or make a piece look unprofessional. This can be remedied by noting where a shift has occurred and rewriting sections in the correct tense.

Tip #5 - Vague or Unclear Pronouns

When an author has multiple characters in a scene, sometimes it can get confusing which noun is being referenced by a pronoun. This can also happen when the reference is implied instead of stated.

Making mistakes is a natural part of writing, and a good editor will be able to help fix not only the mistakes above, but a whole variety of mistakes. Line editing will help an author recognize and fix these five common writing errors. Some of these mistakes can be avoided when writing if you learn to recognize and correct them while in the drafting stage. This will save time. Still, it's natural for some things to escape notice. That is where hiring the right editor comes in, as well as recognizing the right level of editing for you.

Feel free to leave any questions about editing in the comments below.

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