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  • Writer's pictureA. Hampton

5 Common Writing Mistakes to Avoid

5 Common Writing Mistakes to Avoid

We've all been there. You stare at the blinking cursor, fingers poised, but the perfect sentence won't materialize. Worse, you reread your finished draft and cringe at the lurking errors. Fear not, fellow wordsmiths! Today, we tackle some of the most common writing mistakes and show you how to banish them from your prose.

1. The Punctuation Paradox

Commas, semicolons, dashes – oh my! Punctuation can be a confusing beast, but mastering it elevates your writing from casual to confident. Remember, commas join similar elements ("apples, oranges, and bananas") and separate independent clauses ("I went to the store, but it was closed"). Semicolons connect closely related independent clauses ("It was raining; the game was cancelled"). Dashes add emphasis or set off interrupting phrases ("The culprit – it was the butler!").

Example: "I went to the store, it was closed."

Corrected: "I went to the store, but it was closed."

2. The Passive Voice Peril

Passive voice makes your writing sound weak and indirect. Instead of "The report was written by me," say "I wrote the report." Active voice puts the subject at the forefront, making your writing stronger and clearer.

Example: "The cake was eaten by the children."

Corrected: "The children ate the cake."

3. The Wordy Wormhole

Concision is key! Eliminate unnecessary words and phrases. "Due to the fact that" becomes "because," "in the event that" becomes "if," and "a large number of" simply becomes "many." Tighten your sentences for a punchier read.

Example: "In the event that you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us."

Corrected: "If you have any questions, please contact us."

4. The Cliché Catastrophe

Overused phrases like "think outside the box" or "at the end of the day" weaken your writing. Opt for fresh, original language that reflects your unique voice.

Example: "It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

Corrected: "The memory of that day will forever be etched in my mind."

5. Weak Verbs

Using strong and precise verbs enhances the quality of your writing. Replace weak verbs with more dynamic alternatives to create a more vivid picture for your readers.

Example: "The car is moving quickly down the street."

Corrected: "The car is speeding down the street."

Remember, writing is a journey, not a destination. Embrace the learning process, and don't be afraid to experiment. By avoiding these common mistakes and honing your craft, you'll soon be crafting sentences that sing. Now go forth and conquer those clunkers!

Bonus Tip: Read widely! Immerse yourself in different writing styles to absorb good practices and develop your own unique voice.


Are you ready to add more bankable writing skills to your personal and professional portfolios? Improve your business writing skills with our grammar books and eBooks. Also, take our dynamic online courses and add professional writing certificates to your résumé credentials.

Take your proofreading and editing skills to the next level! Click the links below to browse all the resources powered by Onyx Online Education, LLC:

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