Which grammar ghosts scare your editor the most? The ones that come too often to be ignored and go on to become an editor’s pet peeve. While they love their job on most days,  on others, some mistakes force them to reconsider.  

If you’re an editor, your soul will be able to relate to the list we’ve compiled. If you’re a writer or have ever sent in documents for editing, you might want to take note of the following!


1) Once upon a paragraph

Paragraphs masquerading as entire chapters have really got to stop. Nobody is willing to read 1000 words in one long and extremely tedious go. Introduce breaks where necessary (and no, hyphens and commas don’t count!).


2) T(w)o Tense?

There is no one right tense to be used while narrating a story or throughout an essay, and a shift in tenses for added effect is also quite okay. What’s not okay however, is messing up verb tenses.

Incorrect – The crowd starts cheering as John approached the finishing line.

Correct – The crowd started cheering as John approached the finishing line.

Correct – The crowd starts cheering as John approaches the finishing line.


3) Capitalization

You ALWAYS capitalize a proper noun. Be it a name of a person or place, a title, a restaurant, book, etc. – always capitalize a proper noun! It’s really just that simple.


4) More comparative than necessary

You’re just being dumb and dumber (pun intended!). It’s tall-taller-tallest, and most tallest is merely going to indicate your lack of grammar skills. They’ll bring out your editor’s inner Grammar Nazi for sure!


5) Contractions

While chat language might allow for ‘dint’ and ‘moms’, not using that apostrophe appropriately could get real tiresome for an editor. Did you mean multiple mothers or something that belongs to her?


6) Redundant words and phrases

When you use phrases such as ‘The reasons why’ or ‘Please revert back’, you’re basically cancelling your command. While the evening sunset might sound poetic to your ears, the rest of us are well aware that a sunset really doesn’t show up at any other time of the day.


7) Adding the right ‘dash’ of grammar

We’ll keep it simple. A hyphen connects two separate words to form a single concept (two-thirds). An en dash is usually used to signify ranges (June–December), and can additionally be used to break a sentence or imply something missing (As I was saying—)


8) Hang the slang

If millennial slang has become an organic part of your vocabulary, cut it out right now! And keep it far away from your novels, SOPs or any other formal documents. Adulting is not a real word people!


9) Spaced out

You don’t need two spaces after a period. And for the uninitiated, you can find and replace the double spaces with a ‘Ctrl+H’. It would make your editor’s life much easier if you just avoided doing this and it’s surprisingly quite a common mistake!


10) Words that don’t exist

Nobody knows where these words came from, but if we work hard enough we could certainly make them go away! What is supposably?! Not a word, that’s what.


If you took a few minutes to ensure that your document is free of the above errors – your editor could spend that time fixing advanced issues, and trust me, they’re silently thanking you!