Don't Make These Mistakes! Editor Pet Peeves You Need To Know

by Lindsay Shapka in ,


We all make mistakes — I am sure there are many of them on this site. Nobody is perfect, and making errors (every once and awhile) is normal. I do however, have a lower tolerance for certain mistakes when it comes to resumes, query letters, professional emails and professional writing. 

There are a few mistakes that I see over and over that make me (and pretty much any editor) completely crazy. They are the mistakes that usually cause me to stop reading an email or deny a new writer a chance, because they are the types of mistakes that should be caught with some simple proofreading. 

Applying for a new job? Trying to get something published? Sending a professional email? Make sure NONE of these errors are in your writing before you hit send! (Or on a sign for all to see like in the photo below!)

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IT'S vs ITS

  • IT'S means it is or it has. Example: It's a beautiful day out; or It's been great getting to know you!
  • ITS is the possessive version. Example: The dog hurt its paw; or The art gallery is celebrating its birthday. 

YOUR vs YOU'RE

  • YOUR is a possessive adjective referring to something someone has or owns. Example: I saw your job listing in the newspaper.
  • YOU'RE is a contraction of you are. Example: I hope you're having a great day! 

THERE vs THEIR vs THEY'RE

  • THERE is used to show that something exists or is the opposite of here. Example: There is a plate on that table; or The book is over there. 
  • THEIR is used to show possession. Example: All of their friends are crazy! 
  • THEY'RE is a contraction of they are. Example: They're having a huge party next weekend! 

THEN vs THAN

  • THEN is used to describe something that is coming next, a point in time, in addition to, or in that case. Example: I went to work and then out for dinner; I will call you then; It costs $40 and then there is tax on top of it; or I'm hungry! Then eat! 
  • THAN is a conjunction used in comparisons. Example: Tom is taller than Sally.