Shared publicly  - 
 
Really, appropriate for any audience - but aimed at startups specifically because the folks at startups are usually wearing 12 different hats at once.
Can the difference between "it's" and "its" actually affect the fortunes of a technology startup? You might be surprised. If you're working with a startup, odds are ...
4
5
Don Parris's profile photoScott Nesbitt's profile photoEsther Schindler's profile photoA. Ryan Robbins's profile photo
20 comments
 
I'm surprised the text doesn't mention there/their/they're. Everybody and their(!) grandma seems to confuse those.
 
A couple of those are awfully nit-picky. I understand avoiding euphemisms and colloquial speech in formal prose, but selling yourself and your product to an investor is hardly technical writing. There's room for informality in material that essentially qualifies as marketing.

However, the bits about improperly using apostrophes are spot-on.
 
Aww, no "for all intensive purposes"?
 
+Michael Yockey one person's nitpick is another person's screamingly annoying error. I tried to avoid truly pedantic or obscure ones that some of my writer friends brought up. I also avoided style issues that are often cited as grammatical errors. ("Over" when used to indicate "more than" instead of "above," for example.)
 
+Joe Brockmeier Forgive me for starting out the gate with a criticism, it's a good list. Truly, my only hesitation is with the usage of "unique." Turning a phrase such as "very unique" almost always slips past my radar, where your/you're never fails to raise my blood pressure a few points. A reaction sure to disappoint my cardiologist.
 
Don't tell the ignorant that! I made my living as a proofreader for years off of people who don't know the difference between "it's" and "its!"

But other than the fact that you've taken away a job from a starving proofreader, I thought it was a very good article.
 
Non-native speakers make mistakes in English, but interestingly they often make different mistakes than native ones do. In fact, the mistakes vary from language background to the next. Non-native speakers often think in their mother tongue or have been conditioned to think in a particular way.

Have you ever seen a person from Russian background omit articles when they shouldn't? Or Finns do the opposite ("We will have a meeting on the Monday")? That French seldom use the continuous tenses?
 
Another example is the "affect / effect" case: in Portuguese, those words are substantially different ("afetar" for the verb, "efeito" for the noun), so I'd be less prone to make that particular mistake.
 
Yes, my wife, who's native tongue is Spanish says things like "When I was pregnant OF Mattias."
 
But, then again that is one of the things that I love about her...
 
Point #5 is just flat-out wrong
That is my professional opinion.
It it also my personal opinion.
I almost always agree with myself, but there have been exceptions when my personal ethics conflicted with fiduciary responsibilities borne by an employer.
 
+Bob O`Bob then it's not your opinion is it? It's your "this is what I think I need to do professionally, even though I think it sucks." That's an assessment, not an opinion.
 
So your opinion is that people can never have a professional opinion?
 
Rule 7 doesn't really fit for me. The usage to which you object is so pervasive that I think protesting it is literally pissing in the wind (I love using it like that, you'd rob me of that?).

Also, since you're citing the 'long' history (1778) of "ain't" as validation, 'literally' as an intensifier has been in recorded use since the 1680s, and used by some pretty notable writers.

Aside from the ones which are simply bad grammar, this always comes down to a battle between prescription and usage. And we each seem to draw the line in different places, what induces the red mist in one person seems a cute little quirk to the next. For me, seeing 'cliché' used as an adjective (rather than 'clichéd') flips me out.
 
+Tangelos Uo "I love using it like that, you'd rob me of that?"

Yes, in a heartbeat. Next question?
 
I must say I am peeked. I'm literally crying tears of lead. A new peek of sadness, more unique then I have ever felt before. Its my personal opinion that loosing this usage diminishes peoples ability's to fully express they're thoughts and feelings. If your going to insist on this than it is literally on you're head, people will find other ways to express there thoughts, their quite resourceful - the affect won't be what you hoped for. Still, I complement you on you're bravery. Capitol work!
 
I need shopping hints for a new sarcasm meter. This one's busted now.
Add a comment...