Business writing mistakes you can’t afford to make – 10 Quick Tips

Although I do go on a lot about good grammar, spelling and punctuation, we grammar nazis have to slap ourselves on the wrist now and then and admit that the occasional harmless mistake in business writing is not a hanging offense.

Business writing mistakes you can't afford to make - 10 Quick TipsThere. I have made my peace with it.

But before you become too complacent, there are some critical mistakes people make in business writing, blogging and other content creation that are total no-nos.

These are the business writing mistakes that a) could make people misinterpret your content, b) make you look very foolish, and probably both.

Here are my top 10 unaffordable business writing mistakes …

1) When your mistake alters or obscures what you mean or must put across

2) When because of the mistake the whole sentence or paragraph doesn’t make sense

3) When it’s a very obvious mistake that everyone knows about, e.g. “its” vs “it’s,” “they’re” vs “their,” etc.

4) When the mistake is just about understandable but makes you look silly, e.g. “loose” vs “lose”

5) When the mistake is a typo that could get you into trouble, e.g. “shit” instead of “shot” (the “o” and the “i” are next to each other on a QWERTY keyboard)

6) When a word you use is a homophone and is the wrong one, e.g. “ewe” instead of “you”

7) When you mix up the difference between the past tense and a past participle, e.g. “an article I had wrote” – (it’s either “an article I wrote,” or “an article I had written”)

8) When you write “I should of said…,” instead of “I should have said…” “Should have” is the (modal) verb you need. “Of” is a preposition.

9) When you use an apostrophe where you don’t need one, e.g. to make a plural like “banana’s,” “computer’s,” etc.

10) When you don’t use an apostrophe where you should use one, e.g. “the horses mouth,” the mans suit,” etc.  

What other business writing mistakes can’t you afford to make?

Please share your views!




  1. Good list and yes most of the time I stumble on ‘it’s’ and ‘its’ and ‘advice’ and ‘advise’. Will be good if we get a cheat sheet on these common but silly grammar an spelling mistakes. Thanks for sharing, really helpful.


  1. […] Business writing mistakes you can’t afford to make – 10 Quick Tips […]

  2. […] other day I was asked to do a workshop about business writing for some senior job seekers … and rather than give them a specific tutorial about grammar, […]

  3. […] Writing for business, and especially writing for marketing and promotional purposes, is something most of us dread. Yet you just can’t deny the fact that the right words can be very powerful tools in a variety of business activities – from creating effective content, blogs, articles, email campaigns, websites, winning business proposals, and many more. […]