3. Vague Pronoun References
More than one word implied by a pronoun, but none explicitly stated:
So, do this: Check for clear backward reference of pronouns, words such as he, she,
it, they, this, that, which and who that replace another word so that it does not
have to be repeated. Pronouns should refer clearly to a specific word or words
(called the antecedent) so readers can be sure whom or what the pronoun refers
Actual example: “A recent survey by the
Enterprise Strategy Group dug into what it
called ‘The Network Monitoring Mandate.’
They talked to 150 IT professionals with
4. Comma Calamities
• Missing comma in a compound sentence, like this:
“Starting a new job can be stressful and the first day is
critical for making the right impression,” says David Kiger,
CEO and founder of Worldwide Express. (Needs a comma
before the conjunction.)
• Missing comma with dependent clauses, like this:
The company was responsible for developing the widget which has now been in
use for five years. (Needs a comma before the clause.)
• Using a comma when you really needed something else, like this:
“The analysis was separated into two segments, smartphone
users and non-users.” Try a colon instead.
5. “Junar delivers an easy-to-
use, cloud-based open data
enables governments to
open data sets to the public
to drive new opportunities,
6. Wrong word, you knucklehead.
Common infractions: there/they’re/their, more/over, may/might, it’s/its.
• “Ruhman has over two decades of
experience in the hospitality industry and a
record of successfully driving multi-million
dollar sales growth.”
• “Current IBM customers may be concerned
about the uncertainty with GERS moving
forward as new updates and customer
support for the platform have already
7. Apostrophe catastrophe
Missing or misplaced possessive apostrophes:
• A companys revenue
• User’s experience
• The companies products
• A company’s revenue
• Users’ experience
• The companies’ products
also one of the
process to accurately
8. Unnecessarily Shifts in Tense
“Jill laughed until she cried
while watching Seinfeld. Then
she goes off and makes herself
Pick a tense and stick with it. Otherwise, you will confuse the reader.
9. Shifting Pronouns
Remember who you’re talking about and keep the pronoun consistent.
• “When one sees the delicious chocolate cake, you can’t help but to eat a piece.”
• “The audience members were outraged when the panel announced their choice
for song of the year.”
Actual example: “At the end
of the two days, each group
presented their solutions in
front of a panel of judges.”
10. Other pronoun problems
• Each of the companies competed in their own
• The board has made their decision.
• Neither the company nor its channel partner
believed the product flaw was their responsibility.
No: In all cases, “their” should be “its.”
Lack of agreement between a pronoun and its antecedent.
11. Modifier Madness
Misplaced and dangling modifiers cause vague meaning and confuse readers.
• “They could see the eagles swooping and diving with binoculars.”
• “He decided he wanted to be a doctor when he was 10 years old.”
• “While reading the newspaper, the cat jumped on the table.”
• The girl was walking the dog in a short skirt.”
• “Standing on the balcony, the ocean looked lovely.”
Remember: Put the modifier
as close as you can to the
word or phrase it modifies.
Ask yourself: Does that
sentence say what I think
12. Numbers: Check AP Style
Actual example: “The company has for
almost twenty years helped their
customers align their IT needs with
their business goals.”
• In general, spell out one through nine. Use numerals for 10 and up.
• Use numerals for: addresses; ages; anything with a decimal;
financial figures; distances and dimensions; any figure in the
millions, billions or trillions; ranks; speeds; temperatures or times.
• At the start of a sentence, a number is always spelled out, except in
the case of a year.
Question? Look up the “numerals” entry in the
“Hyphens are joiners. Use them to avoid ambiguity, or to form
a single idea from two or more.” – AP Stylebook.
• To avoid ambiguity: “The company is interested in reaching small-business
• As compound modifiers, when two or more words express one thing
together: “The company’s first-quarter results were startling.”
• Two-thought compounds: “Million-dollar idea.”
• Compound proper nouns: “The German-American company.”
• To avoid duplicated vowels or triple consonants: “Anti-immigrant.”