How too write: A copy editor’s top 3 writing pet peeves

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As both a copy editor and an English major, I have read a lot of people’s writing. I’ve discovered writing styles that I really enjoy, and I’ve discovered a whole set of writing pet peeves. So, if you’re at all interested in hearing me rant about grammar, here are my top three annoyances!

Run-on sentences

Run-on sentences are long, never-ending and pointless and they carry no meaning because when something rambles on and on, any and all meaning or purpose that sentence was meant to have at the beginning has now been lost, yet so many people insist on writing in run-on sentences or they’re completely oblivious to the fact — which I don’t understand because let’s be real it’s not that hard to notice that your sentence makes no sense after a certain point — and I’m just sitting here thinking to myself, “How could you not notice what you’re doing, this is ridiculous.”

Do you see how annoying that was to read? Run-on sentences are one of those big no-nos in writing. They’re not a spicy grammatical tool; it’s not like optionally using the Oxford comma.

When you’re writing something, you have to reread your work 100 times over and make sure that everything flows. The shorter the sentence, the better!

Overuse of a thesaurus

Joey: They’re warm, nice people with big hearts.
Chandler: And that became, “They’re humid, prepossessing Homo sapiens with full-sized aortic pumps?”
“Friends,” Season 10, Episode 5

Oh, Joey. Word choice is always important, and there’s no doubt about it. Turning to a thesaurus when you can’t think of the right word is nothing to be ashamed of. I pull up the online thesaurus every time I’m writing, but there is such a thing as getting carried away with your thesaurus use.

Your going too have two sit over their if this one doesn’t bother you

Let’s just get this straight; please do not mix these up.

Your: used to describe something that belongs to you
You’re: contraction of “you are”

To: a preposition used to start a prepositional phrase or infinitive
Two: a number
Too: an adverb meaning “also” or “excessively”

There: an adverb meaning “in/at that place”
Their: possessive of “they”
They’re: contraction of “they are”

Anyway, I hope this list didn’t sound too snobbish because I’m guilty of making these mistakes too. That being said, though, please do your best not to make these errors if you want to keep your annoying grammar nerd friends in your life!

Contact Isabel Jonson at [email protected].