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Bad grammar can be pretty embarrassing, and it can also hurt your credibility. Proofreading your writing shows that you pay close attention to detail, and don’t we all want to be that kind of employee? Here are the most common punctuation and grammar mistakes that just need to stop! Here’s a quick overview:

1. The classic your/you’re mistake. You’re = You are. Your = It belongs to you.

2. Punctuation “outside of the quote”. A period or comma always goes “inside the quote.” Trust us.

3. Semicolons and Commas are different. A semicolon can be used to link two independent clauses that are closely related; otherwise, use a comma, period or hyphen. A comma can’t be used to join two independent clauses. It just can’t, sorry. That’s called a comma splice.

4. Excessive exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!! Unless you’re a moody teenager on Facebook or having a dramatic g-chat conversation with your work BFF, don’t abuse the exclamation point. We know you’re not that excited.

5. The “its” vs. “it’s” conundrum. The apostrophe here is a contraction of “it is.” If you are talking about someone who is the owner of something, you should use “its.” Same rules apply for “whose” and “who’s.”

6. Plurals don’t have apostrophes. In most cases, apostrophes signify possession and form contractions, but not plurals. In short, to make a word plural, add an “s.” To make a word possessive, add an apostrophe. To make a plural word possessive, only add an apostrophe after the “s.” Again, plurals don’t have apostrophes.

7. Poor sentence structure. If the length of your sentence is really long you should probably shorten it because it’s most likely a run-on sentence which is awkward and confusing to read and no one likes them also you end up looking stupid. If you notice a lot of semicolons, commas, dashes, and conjunctions, it’s probably best to break up your sentence.

8. Once IN awhile you need to look up idioms! FYI – It’s not “once and awhile.” When using figures of speech, make sure you actually know the correct form.

9. Don’t confuse texting with writing. Emoticons are cute and all, but don’t use them in place of punctuation. It’s not right!

10. Misusing quotation marks. Quotes should not be used to emphasize words or paraphrase. Only use quotes when you are directly quoting what someone said.

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