The following is a guest post entry into our Survival & Preparedness Writing Contest. I am guilty of many of the thngs the author points out. – – Rourke
An Easy Way To Be Taken More Seriously When Writing Prepper Articles or Posting Comments
Unfortunately many readers discount articles or posts that are full of errors in grammar or word usage. Wait, don’t close this article yet! All of us are judgmental regarding various issues. Many folks who have had grammar or proper word usage drummed into them by teachers or parents cannot help gut level reaction to what is viewed by them as careless, sloppy, or simply uneducated writing. The way to be certain to reach more readers with the valid points you have to make just requires a tiny bit of attention to a very few simple rules. Isn’t it worth a bit of checking and proof reading to make your very valid prepping points or comments more widely read and accepted by some segments of the population? It is critically important to make your points more valid with segments of the population who might be visiting a site for the first time and might be turned away by simple, easy-to-correct errors. These readers seek and desperately need the insights you have to share. The greater the percentage of the population that is properly informed and at least minimally prepared, the better the outcomes for ALL of us!
Stay with me here, since the worst errors are the simplest to avoid or correct. These errors are simply mis-using simple, common words. The reason these words are often misused is that several words sound the same, though they have very different meanings.
The three most common kinds of word usage errors.
1. To, too, and two are often interchanged.
The word “to” conveys a destination or the infinitive form of a verb.
Brad went to school early.
I want to get my preps more logically organized.
Learning to gather wild edibles will be very useful in times of food shortages.
The word “too” means also or excessive numbers or values.
The prepper needs to be aware of local threats too.
I spend too much time and money on prepping food, and not enough on ways to protect the food we already have.
“Two” is simply the number 2.
We currently have only two kinds of essential oils and need to consider other types.
Sometimes mis-usages of these words are simple typos that should be caught in proof reading. Not catching these errors conveys a lack of attention to detail or sloppiness to the potential reader.
2. A very common error is the use of “your” in place of “you’re” or vice versa.
“Your” is possessive.
Your food supply is extensive, but you have deficiencies in water supply and treatment.
“You’re” is the short or contraction form of “you are”
You’re not going to be more ready for any situation by ignoring it.
Again, some of the errors here are simply careless spelling, but the negative result with some readers still can be powerful when evaluating the validity of your comments!
3. “There”, “their”and “they’re” can sometimes be confused.
“There” often refers to a location.
The book is over there on the table.
It is also used in the form of “there is no reason to ignore this issue”, or “there are four major steps to…”
“Their” is a possessive word.
Their property is not huge, but very productive.
“They’re” is a conjunction of “they” and “are”
They’re looking for a good property that would allow them to increase the size of the gardens and livestock pens.
These words that sound alike, but are spelled differently and have different meanings are called homophones. There are many of them (more than 400 on one web site), but the three above are most common and are most likely to reflect poorly on the writer.
Here are a few additional sets of common homophones:
Right, rite, write, wright
Praise, prays, preys
Does any of this really matter? Well, in terms of the reader being able to follow the meaning of your writing, probably not much, at least not for native English speakers. But, in terms of the reader’s evaluation of you and therefore the value of your content, possibly. It should not be so, but if your goal is to be credible, convey valuable content AND the importance of that content to people of all backgrounds, it is worth paying attention to word usage, proof reading , and even having someone else proof read your work looking for proper word usage. Regardless, keep writing and posting!
P.S. I am not an English teacher, but a scientist and computer geek who reads lots of prepper sites.
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