Grammar Lessons | Copywriting For The Web


If you have an online business, you’ll be doing plenty of copywriting.  There is no doubt about it… we could all use a few grammar lessons reminders.  These grammar lessons are some of the basics we learned in seventh grade but may have forgotten.  Whether it’s copywriting for a blog, sales page or e-book, there are a few little mistakes you need to avoid that are frequently made.

Even though copywriting grammar for the web has become very casual and conversational, these five grammar errors can make your work appear less credible.  These little common mistakes are easy to make and easy to over look when you’re doing your own proof reading.

1.  Their or There?

Their: This is a possessive pronoun.  Possess means… to own or control.  “Their” gives ownership to a group.  “The family went home to their house.”  “Their home was lovely.”

There: It’s a place or position.  “Go over there.” Or, it’s a fact or position.  “There are some grammar mistakes that are hard to find when proof reading.”

When in doubt… just ask yourself… is there ownership involved.  If so… “their” is the way to go.

2.  It’s or Its

It’s: It’s just a short and casual way of combining two words.  It is.  Or, it has.   “It’s easy to make simple grammar errors.” Or… “It’s been nice to visit with you today.”

Its: Belonging to or associated with.  “The diamond has lost its luster.”   “The building site was chosen for its atmosphere.”

When in doubt… just ask yourself…am I trying to join two words?  If so,  “it’s” is the way to go.  If not… “its” should be used.

3.  You’re or Your

You’re: Again, it’s a short and casual way of combining two words.  You are.  “You’re making a mistake by not paying attention to grammar when writing copy.”

Your: Like the word “their,” it means ownership.  However, it’s individual ownership.  “Your car is sweet.” or  “What is your name.” If you’re addressing a group as a single entity, you can use “your.”  “Go to your homes in safety.”

4.  Affect or Effect

Affect: Affect is a verb.   Ask yourself, “Will it make a difference?”  If it will make a difference, use affect not effect.  “Improper use of grammar will affect your copywriting negatively.” I like to think of it as, “doing to something.”

Effect: Effect is a noun.  Effect is the consequence of an action.  “The effect of poor grammar is, not being considered a credible copywriter.” I like to think of it as, “been done to,” or “end result.”

5.  Weather or Whether

Weather: It’s the state of the atmosphere.  “The weather report says it’s going to rain tonight.”

Expressing doubt or choice. “It’s not clear whether or not he’s decided to leave.” Or,  “Have you decided whether you’re going to take these grammar errors seriously?”

These are the most common grammar errors online copywriters make.  Often, they are more of a “typo” mistake rather than not knowing correct grammar.   These grammar mistakes are the hardest to spot when proof reading… especially when it’s your own copy.  Our eyes just seem to skim over them.


Til Later,

Kathryn Griffiths

P.S.  Confession:  I recently wrote a guest post for another blog.  The hostess spotted the common error….“your”… when it should have been “you’re.”   We corrected it before it was posted.  When your fingers fly across the keyboard, these errors are easy to make.  We don’t always have the benefit of an extra set of eyes proof reading our copy before we post on a blog, for instance.

And… let’s be patient with each other.

Categories : Copywriting


  1. I am the worst at editing my own posts. I can look and look and not see my errors. You and your seem to be by biggest mistake. I had a reader point that out to me and not I look twice and those words.

    It may not seem important to have good grammar or to make sure there are not typos… but we are communicating with our readers and do not want to put any stops on that communication line.

  2. Yes, yes, yes!! It’s so easy to get in the habit of relying on your spellcheck for your writing when in fact, the word can be spelled correctly but used wrong! You pulled out some of the common trouble spots. My problems usually occur around the quotation marks. In or out of a punctuation mark? LOL

  3. Now we’re talkin’ turkey! You’ve hit the Achilles Heel of the existence of so many people on the web.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m by no means 100% mistake-free in my own copy but you’ve certainly picked out the highlights of the most common errors I notice people making on a continuum. And as a recovering perfectionist, I’m trying hard to turn a blind eye to these boo-boos when I see them.

    But they still drive me nuts! 🙂

  4. Debbie Crabtree says:

    Kathy, I am always amazed at your insight. Thank you for your posts, I read them often. Keep up the wonderful work.