In case you hadn’t figured it out yet, I love words. They’re sort of my thing, and they’re an important part of the content marketing world. Even if you prefer videos and social media posts to long blog posts, you still need to create the content you’ll share (be it printed or spoken). Whether you’re writing 140-character tweets, 700-word blog posts, or 15-minute videos, you have limited time to make an impact, so make the most of your content!
You don’t have to be a professional writer to clean up your content. Learning how to identify and correct the biggest offenders will make an impact without having to hire a professional. To get started, keep this list handy, as these are some of the most misused words:
Accept – to receive, agree with, say yes to (We accept your proposal.)
Except (verb) – to leave out or exclude (They excepted us from their invitation list.)
Except (preposition) – other than (I like all social media, except Snapchat.)
Affect – to influence or cause something to happen (Our new marketing plan will affect sales.)
Effect – the result or accomplishment (What was the effect of your new marketing plan?)
Complement – something that completes (The new logo complements our rebranding campaign.)
Compliment – flattery or praise (She complimented us on our new website design.)
Council – a group/meeting or an advisory group (City council)
Counsel – to advise or consult (We counseled them not to shut down their website.)
Elicit – to bring forth or draw out (The right colors combinations can elicit deep emotional responses.)
Illicit – not permitted (The website contained illicit photos.)
Than – used in comparisons (That’s easier said than done.)
Then – related to time (We hired the design firm, then launched our new website.)
Their – belonging to them (John is their son.)
There – location (The store is over there.)
They’re – contraction for ‘they are’ (They’re going to hire a new firm.)
Who’s – contraction for ‘who is’ or ‘who has’ (Who’s coming with me? Who’s been using the color printer?)
Whose – showing possession (Whose plans are these?”
Your – relating to you (Is that your computer?)
You’re – contraction for ‘you are’ (You’re going to love your clean content!)
Go ahead – print this off and tuck it into your desk drawer. The next time you’re writing content, check for these words. Making sure you’re using the right word will add a level of professionalism (and clarity!) that your customers will notice.
Are there any other words that you struggle with? Let me know and I can help you create easy-to-check rules that will help you create cleaner copy!
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