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Better Writing in 2011: Our Top Five List Of Fings Wot Not To Do

Miscellaneous - 27th January 2011

People will remember 2010 for many reasons. We saw a coalition government in the UK for the first time since 1945. England’s footballers went to the World Cup in South Africa and barely had time to unpack their boots before coming home again. An unpronounceable volcano in Iceland threw a hissy fit and caused chaos throughout Europe. Something interesting must have happened in Nebraska. But here at the 80:20 Communications ‘Express Yourself’ desk, we kept our eyes on the world of grammar, spelling and punctuation. And we didn’t like what we saw. So for our first blog of 2011, here is our Top Five list of errors we spotted in the media world in 2010. Let’s make it our goal to banish these irritations into the history of last year.

1. ‘Principal’ means ‘main’. You have a ‘principal’ concern, not a ‘principle’ one.

2. To ‘refute’ something is to prove it wrong. To ‘deny’ something is merely to claim it to be wrong.

3. You didn’t really just write about what ‘would of happened’, did you?

4. Random Capital Letter Syndrome. Ordinary words do not Become Important just by adding some Capital Letters.

5. ‘Effect’ is a noun. ‘Affect’ is a verb. So if you ‘affect’ a situation, you will cause an ‘effect’.

What do you think? What are the howlers that drive you mad?