Looking at some web pages, it's clear that the writers have no idea about using grammar correctly.
This leads to the creation of an unprofessional image.

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Using Good Grammar On Web Pages

Make money with Ads by Google

By Robin Nobles Copyright 2006

(Part 2)

(This article is continued from Part 1)

6. Spelling spot check

receive (remember: "i" before "e" except after "c")
all right (alright is not a word)
a lot (should always be two words)
cannot (preferred way to spell)

Visit yourDictionary.com
(http://www.yourdictionary.com/library/misspelled.html) for 250 of the most commonly misspelled words.

7. Hyphens

This is a confusing one-whether to hyphenate compound words, combine the words as one word, or use them as two words. As it states in Chicago, the best place to go for answers is the dictionary. Hyphens also depend on readability and trends, such as the trend from on line to on-line to online.

compound adjectives + noun-hyphenate when the adjectives appear before a noun but not if used after

Example: The newsletter contains the most up-to-date material in the SEO industry. ("up to date" is hyphenated because it is used as an adjective modifying the noun "material")

Example: The material in the newsletter is kept up to date. (There's no noun following "up to date," so it shouldn't be hyphenated.)

8. Additional spot check

Their vs. there vs. they're ­ "Their" is the possessive version (their house-not they're house); "they're" stands for "they are"; and "there" is a filler word.

Example: There goal is to give they're members the best online experience. (incorrect)
Example: Their goal is to give their members the best . . . (correct)

You vs. your vs. you're ­ Run a spell check on "you" and make sure you didn't mean "your."

Example: If your looking for the latest industry news, visit his blog. (incorrect)
Example: If you're looking for the latest industry news . . . (correct)

9. Singular vs. plural (getting close to ad nauseam by now)

Data vs. datum Data is plural; datum is the singular version. So technically, if you're talking about multiple pieces of information, you'll need to use a plural verb:

Example: The research data are being collected as we speak. (correct)

If you're talking about one piece of data, the correct form is datum, the singular version.

Example: The datum shows that the Yahoo! search engine visited the site during the last twenty-four hours. (correct)

However, popular usage has come into play. Because "data" is considered a mass noun, it is now being treated as either singular or plural except in formal writing and in the sciences. Because we are in the data industry, this is important to know.

Example: The research data is being collected. (correct)

10. Commas

When you read your content out loud, do you naturally pause at certain places? The best rule of thumb is to insert a comma in those places. Grammar can actually be quite logical.

Let's look at some common uses for commas:

a. To separate words in a list (apples, oranges, bananas, and grapes). Notice that I used a comma before the "and." Grammar sources such as Chicago strongly recommend inserting the last comma. Here's an example from Chicago:
"I want no ifs, ands, or buts."

b. Introductory phrases and words. Use commas after introductory phrases and words, especially if a slight pause is needed.

Example: At the end of the day, he left the office.
Example: Therefore, the next SES Conference is in December.

c. To separate compound sentences. Use commas to separate compound sentences, which are sentences that could be divided into two separate and complete sentences.

Example: Search engine optimization is both art and science, and it requires both creativity and technology to be successful.

NOTE: I used seven different grammar books as reference guides when writing this article. None of the information is listed here without a reference from one or more of those guides. I highly recommend that all content writers purchase a grammar book. My latest is The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition. You can even subscribe to the online version at http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org. A free 30-day trial is available.

In Conclusion

The Internet represents a lot of things to a lot of people. In our informal areas like forums and newsgroups, we don't need to worry so much about grammar and spelling. We're simply chatting among friends.

But on our Web sites, our online store fronts, we must give a professional image, in my opinion. Let's do our best to make sure our sites are as free from grammar and spelling errors as possible.

About the Author:
To discuss the points made in this article, visit the Idea Motivator Blog, a blog devoted to creating Web content and link popularity through creativity (http://www.sew-wrc.com/idea-motivator/).

Robin Nobles conducts live SEO workshops (http://www.searchengineworkshops.com) in locations across North America. Localized SEO training (http://www.searchengineacademy.com) is now being offered through the Search Engine Academy. Sign up for SEO tips of the day at mailto:seo-tip@aweber.com.

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