An Easy Way To Be Taken More Seriously When Writing Prepper Articles or Posting Comments

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

by Helms

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:
Here, hear
Site, sight
Right, rite, write, wright
Weak, week
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.

20 survival items ebook cover

Like what you read?

Then you're gonna love my free PDF, 20 common survival items, 20 uncommon survival uses for each. That's 400 total uses for these innocent little items!

Just enter your primary e-mail below to get your link. This will also subscribe you to my newsletter so you stay up-to-date with everything: new articles, ebooks, products and more!

By entering your email, you agree to subscribe to the Modern Survival Online newsletter. We will not spam you.


  1. I wish I had read this article fifty years ago. I might have escaped the third grade in two years instead of four… ;^)

    Believe it or not they actually gave me a High School diploma without me knowing the difference between their, there and they’re or your and you’re…

    I was blissfully ignorant until I reached my forties. Old dogs can learn new tricks after all…

  2. Another one that is so common that the error is as frequent as the correct use: use of it’s as a possessive, when instead, its is correct, for example, “The dog is shedding its fur.” It’s is used to replace “it is.”

  3. Your article is very important. Although I am as guilty as some about incorrect grammar, I truly believe that it is an intrinsic addiction to intuition and detail that separate preppers from some other folks. It is critically important that the meaning in your sentences be conveyed correctly. I have two dictionaries and a Thesaurus on my desk at all times and I am relentless about correcting my children. I do not in any way want to demean those who have not achieved high levels of formal education. I am a “Content” guy over a “Color” guy any day.
    I believe it was Confucius that once said, “Share your knowledge, it’s a way to achieve immortality”. Let us make sure that we continue the journey with precision and consistency.

  4. Phil, you are so right! “It’s” ALWAYS means “it is.” Always.

    Rourke, thank you for publishing this. Language is the writer’s tool. Not knowing how to use one’s tools results in a sloppy product. If the author does not care enough about his own product to make it as close to perfect as possible, I won’t buy what he is selling. I probably won’t even look at the product past the first flaw.

    There are so many sources to help writers polish their work that there really is no excuse.

  5. if someone is that much a a****** about it I could care less they can there high and mighty bs and shove it where the sun don’t shine

  6. Kevin,

    Not trying to be a jerk about it, just want to be able to forward more valuable links, articles, comments to friends, colleagues, relatives who really need to hear the content. Often I don’t forward because I know the recipients would be dismissive of the valuable content due to the sloppy writing.

    The more people that will actually read and absorb the prepper messages, the better for all of us. It is hard enough to break through non-prepper mind sets without adding another layer to their resistance.

  7. I make my share of mistakes but a real turn off for me is to read about the ‘smell of cordite’ after someone fires a weapon.

    Panhandle Rancher

  8. I notice errors in web sites and articles all the time. I did proofing of insurance policies and ID numbers of cars for my local city hall many years ago. Proofing is truly a lost art and our local rag of a newspaper proves that point every day. Now I do medical transcription and have to correct doctors and other providers so they sound like they know what they’re talking about.

    With all that said, a good spell check program will also have grammar prompts in it to make you sure that you meant “sight” as opposed to “site.” It helps you know that they’re running to their car over there too. However, that doesn’t let the writer off the hook. If you kind of think about what you’re saying as you type, you can catch some of these things before hitting the submit button.

    I have a question for stephen hooston. I am not a gun expert but what is wrong with the phrase “smell of cordite.”

  9. Well,
    Just about every newspaper in the country is guilty of this and it also includes me.

    Think about this, will all the information we take in from all on the kazillion sources, working, family and a host of other daily life problems.
    The fact is that we don’t have a whole lot of time left in the day to complete “everything”.
    So we get in a hurry and spelling goe’s awry!

    Heck, I work 60 to 70 hrs. a week and am alway’s a week behind most times when I post.

    Don’t forget that when we find out every other day how the government is screwing us, spelling goe’s out the window and you just type to vent and feel better that your voice is heard if not by Washington….well, the NSA here’s you.

    I made over ten corrections and I know I missed more. Sorry!!

  10. I actually enjoyed this post…I agree with MI Patriot that proofreading is a lost art…I was the grammar and spelling nazi in grade school/jr high, they called me Mrs Dictionary! I went to Catholic school back when the nuns still ran it and taught us! So it was definitely ingrained in me! That said, I fully acknowledge that I make my fair share of mistakes these days, but I do always proof read my stuff…I also agree we need to attempt to put forth as professional an image as we can, so that our opinions will be respected and perhaps accepted!

  11. I also read about a dozen sites a Day and care less about misspelled words , Its the content and the fact that new information is being found and ideas formed. having said that, I have Made many friends over the years who had some type of Degree and still cant tie their shoe’s. I have seen prepper’s attack each other for many reasons, and its just another example of the canyon wide division that is This country at this time. If you have to belittle someone for their bad Grammer , then You belong on another site and should Get a Life. I know it shows in my reply but am sure you understand. I had to Quit a local meetup group last night , because during Show and tell I was going to give a talk on JFK but was stopped because I might have insulted someone.. [no politics] We are All in deep Shummer my friends..Prep on…

  12. Think about this: If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
    The endless typos and plain gibberish on the internet makes me crazy.
    The freedom of any and all getting into print is also a curse.
    Sometimes I think that room full of monkeys with Remington typewriters are getting published. D.

    • D.

      “The freedom of any and all getting into print is also a curse.” – it can be but I would rather have the freedom than have it somehow regulated. I am sure you feel the same way.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.