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If you’re an online business owner, you’re probably doing a lot of writing. And, in that writing, you’re probably making needless, stupid mistakes that are holding you back. Thankfully, there are many grammar tools and classes available that will teach you the basics. You know the basics. They’re the ones you were taught in grade school but forgot as you got older.

It doesn’t matter what kind of writing you are doing – an article for a blog, e-book, sales page or press release – it’s imperative to have good grammar. Mistakes distract from the message you are trying to convey.

While grammar for web copywriting is a bit lax and conversational, there are still five common mistakes people make that hinder their credibility. What are some mistakes you may be making and don’t even realize it?

1. There, Their or They’re

• Their – It’s a possessive pronoun, which means something to control or own. It’s ownership to the group such as their home looks all decked out for the holidays.
• There – It’s a position or place or a fact. For example, you need to go over there, or there are some things to remember about grammar.
• They’re – This is a contraction of they are such as they’re going to the mall for trick or treating.

If you’re unsure of which “there, their or they’re” to use, note if there is ownership or place. You can also separate “they’re” into “they are” and read it aloud. Does the sentence make any sense?

2. Your and You’re

• You’re – This is the shortened way to say You Are. For example, You’re making a mistake by not studying for the test.
• Your – This is similar to their in that it dictates ownership. For example, your car needs to go into the shop or what’s your name? When you’re talking to a group as one, it’s okay to go with the singular word – Go to your homes for safety.


3. Affect or Effect

• Affect – This is a verb, and if something makes an impact on something else, it’s the right word to use. For instance, this job will affect my ability to get other jobs later on.
• Effect – This, on the other hand, is a noun, and is the consequence of an action. For instance, the effect of this job plays a huge part in later jobs.

4. Whether or Weather

• Weather – This is the talk about the environment. For example, the weatherman said it would rain on Halloween.
• Whether – this is to express choice or doubt. For example, I have not decided whether or not to go trick or treating.

These are the four common grammar mistakes online writers make – more often the reason for the mistake is a typo and not the lack of understanding of the grammar rules. However, they are often the most difficult mistakes a writer to catch. After all, your mind knows what you’re trying to say, and you see it as such.

Your readers, however, are a different story. They’ll catch every little mistake, costing you credibility and respect.