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Common Mistakes When Writing for the Internet

Updated on May 8, 2011

As I 'surf the net' I see many minor errors in spelling, grammar and the use of punctuation. Facebook and other social sites aside where it seems a different language is used entirely, there are some common mistakes made by writers that can detract from the online reading experience. My grammar is far from perfect so best left for the experts, but basic spelling, use of punctuation and proofreading is as familiar to me as the family pet.

Write, read, edit, correct and re-read.
Write, read, edit, correct and re-read.

You Are Your Own Editor

One thing to remember about writing for the Internet is that unless you use an editor, you are the editor. By all means, type as fast as you can to get your words and creative juices flowing. Before you finish that blog post or hit the publish button, read your work and make any necessary corrections then read it again. This will give a polished look to your finished piece.

Regardless of whether you ever hope to make money from writing or are simply writing for pleasure, someone will read your work if you are writing online. At least we hope someone will read our masterpiece. There is always more chance of someone reading past the first paragraph if it is free from errors.

List of Common Mistakes

Overuse of exclamation points!!!

Incorrect use of ellipses........

How many questions marks???

"Using the correct quotations marks has always caused problems for the author", he said.

Check the correct uses on the left.

Resources for Improving your English Writing

Common Punctuation Mistakes

Exclamation points can over emphasise a sentence and detract from the quality of the writing. Even one exclamation point may be one too many. Look carefully at what you are trying to say and use adjectives and adverbs to bring out the emotion behind the words. If you feel you do need more than the words themselves then one exclamation point will do the trick.

Ellipses (the plural of ellipsis) are those leading dots that leave the reader waiting for the next thought. Too many full stops and you might lose the reader. Three does the job perfectly...

Question marks - one is always enough.

Should the full stop come before or after quotation marks? All additional punctuation comes before the closing quotation mark. "As I was saying, if you need to use extra commas or fullstops, they belong before the closing quotations marks."

Incorrect use of apostrophe

There are two reasons for using the apostrophe. The first is to let the reader know there is one or more letters missing. The second is to claim ownership.

Show omission of one or more letters

  • do not – don’t
  • cannot – can’t
  • will not – won’t
  • did not – didn’t
  • it is – it’s
  • it has - it's

Claim ownership

  • dog’s bone – where there is only one dog with a bone
  • dogs’ bones – more than one dog with many bones
  • dog’s bones – still only one dog but with more than one bone

It’s difficult not to confuse this one. Even if there is ownership when referring to the dog and its bone there is no need for the apostrophe.


The use of capital letters is known as shouting and is best used sparingly to emphasise a point.

Common Spelling Mistakes

Desert or dessert

"I lived in the desert for several years where an ice cold dessert was always appreciated."

Should of or should have (also applies to could and would)

"Perhaps we should have looked at moving to the coast years ago."

Your or you’re

"Your new shoes let me know you're ready for stepping out."

Some Mistakes Are Hard to Spot

It would give me great pleasure to say everything I have ever written online is perfect in every way. The reality is that some mistakes are hard to spot, first, second and even third time round. My aim is to produce quality content so I am more than happy to be corrected on any of my writing mistakes.

If you can think of other common mistakes when writing for the Internet not mentioned here, please leave a comment so I can update the list at a later date.

Happy writing and reading online!

Copyright © 2011 Karen Wilton

Correct Use of the Apostrophe

The dog's bone is buried for safekeeping.
The dog's bone is buried for safekeeping.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I am a bit of a grammar Nazi, although we could all improve lol. I can't handle the multiple exclamation points and question marks though!

      Voted up, interesting and useful.

      Have a great day:)


    • Karanda profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Wilton 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for reading and commenting RTalloni. I hope you found something useful here.

    • RTalloni profile image


      7 years ago from the short journey

      Glad I found this hub. I'll be taking a look at your other writing hubs, as well as your other work. Thanks!

    • Karanda profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Wilton 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Glad to help catgypsy. Punctuation caused me many headaches through many dialogues so I endeavoured to research and get it right. Thanks for reading.

    • catgypsy profile image


      7 years ago from the South

      Karanda, as usual you have taught me something new. I wasn't sure about the quotation mark I know.

    • dags the drover profile image

      dags the drover 

      7 years ago from still lost in Western Australia

      Hi Karanda, this is a very helpful hub for me, so thank you. Spelling has always been difficult for me. Must have been that 6 months I spent in hospital as a 7 year old. I struggle particularly when trying to get the coloquial dialogue I hear in my head translated into written form that conforms to some basic rules of spelling and punctuation, but retains the nuance of that particular speaker's voice, emotion, place etc. Your hub helps. Thanks again and cheers Dags

    • Karanda profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Wilton 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Thanks shygirl2. Researching this top actually helped me with some of the finer points of writing.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great tips on writing. I am constantly questioning my punctuation. I needed the refresher course. lol! Thanks!

    • Karanda profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Wilton 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment DJ Lyons. I know my writing isn't always perfect but I do take care to proofread everything I put out.

    • Ask_DJ_Lyons profile image


      7 years ago from Mosheim, Tennessee

      Great hub! I hope people will read your words and benefit from what you teach.

    • Karanda profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Wilton 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Abdi, I agree with your friend saying we think faster than we write. The same is true for using a computer or keyboard to type our sentences. As our thoughts form, we are anxious to get this out while we still remember what we wanted to say, but we can only put down one letter at a time. Our brain thinks in phrases but our fingers have to break that down into individual characters. This is why it is important to read the finished paragraph at least twice.

      It is good that you are eager to learn how to write better Abdi, your own writing will improve over time as it has already in the short time you have been on HubPages. Thank you for coming back to correct your first post.

    • Neverletitgo profile image

      Abdinasir Aden 

      7 years ago from Minneapolis, MN


      Other than that my mistake is something that I need to study.

      Some times I skip a word like I did my comment that I posted three days ago. I told that problem a friend of mine and he said to me that it is something happen to everybody. I think our brain is faster than our hand to write because what you are writing is something that your brain pictured, but your hand is the one that cannot catch everything that came to mind to write. Sorry about my mistake because your article was about mistakes and I am still doing. Thank you so much this is very nice and useful article for me.


    • Neverletitgo profile image

      Abdinasir Aden 

      7 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      What a great hub Karanda! I really enjoyed reading this article and for me I can say it is very useful. I know, as a person I do a lot of mistakes, some may be I can't identify and some I can catch easily later. So following and taking to apply your tips may be can reduce some of my mistakes, especially words that I misspelled or skipped by mistake and I saw a lot of those kind mistakes for my writings, other than my mistake is something that I need to study. I really happy and more than well anybody who can correct my mistake because one of those reasons I am writing here in the hub or any other site is to improve my English writing. Thanks for you very nice article and I voted up and bookmarked as my future reference.

      Take care.


    • Karanda profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Wilton 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Nice work Vern. I especially enjoyed the way you raised your voice a little in the middle of the paragraph and ended the post on a high note. Articles that are full of spelling and typing mistakes make it so much harder to read. If a writer puts all that effort into putting the words out there, why not spend a few extra minutes making it a pleasure for the reader?

    • Painter Penfield profile image

      Painter Penfield 

      7 years ago from Tampa Bay area Florida

      Great post Karanda! My mom was an English teacher and I can't stand reading articles full of typos and grammatical errors. It's just too irritating to me...

      (notice the use of some of your stated issues ;) )

    • vrbmft profile image

      Vernon Bradley 

      7 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Okay, I guess I better do this correctly. Man, I wanted to put an exclamation point there, but.... So anywho I liked your hub. I am pretty good at this stuff, but, sometimes I am not sure if I am remembering correctly or not especially the quotation marks thing. SO THANKS (OOPS) for the really solid refresher course. And you are so right. I think it is very very important to be sure the "work" is well edited. Takes a little extra time, but I think pays off in the short and long run. Thanks. Good stuff.


      Grammar, syntax, spelling is the same no matter what day you are on! (oops)

    • Karanda profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Wilton 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Oh gosh, was that grammar? I've never professed to being an expert with grammar. Spelling has always been my forte but as you've suggested CMHypno it is easy to become complacent once we start using the spell checker.

    • CMHypno profile image


      7 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Thanks for the grammar lesson Karanda, I have found that since I started using spell checks that my own spelling has become much worse! Is is too easy to slip into bad writing habits, unfortunately

    • Karanda profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Wilton 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for the link to the forum post Tony. There are some great tips for spelling and grammar and Sophia explains the uses of your and you're perfectly.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      Excellent info. Did you see Sophia Angelique's Forum Thread on basic grammar, highlighting especially the "your/you're" issue? Its here:

      Thanks for the useful Hub.

      Love and peace


    • Karanda profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Wilton 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Thank you Viking305. It is always a worry when writing about writing in case there are errors in the work.

    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 

      7 years ago from Ireland

      Very useful hub about correct spelling and common mistakes while writing.


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