We all make mistakes — I am sure there are many of them on this site that I've missed!
Nobody is perfect, and making errors (every once and awhile) is normal. When I am wearing my Editor hat, however, I 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!)
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 a tax on top of it OR I'm hungry! Then eat!
- THAN is a conjunction used in comparisons. Example: Tom is taller than Sally.