Resources and tips for the self-published author.

Avoid Common Writing Mistakes

by Auburn Seal •  April 26, 2016  •   Follow

Published in Publishing Tips  •  5 comments

Writing Mistakes. We all make them. Most of us try not to, and yet, sometimes the errors just leak out of us. Here are some common ones to watch for.


Misuse of homophones might be one of my biggest pet peeves since the actual meaning of the word is wrong.

Here’s a list from Scholastic of 5 common homophones that get abused. For a top 20 list, check out this great post from Scholastic.

1. affect/effect 

Use affect to indicate influence: The medicine did not affect her the way the doctor had hoped.

Use effect as a noun: The new medicine had negative side effects. (Note: effect can sometimes be used as a verb meaning to cause/achieve or to bring about – as in “The magician effected his escape with a false door” – but this is mostly a technical term and not used very often.)


2. than/then

Use than for comparisons: John is much taller than his brother.

Use then to indicate passage of time, or when: We went to the park in the morning, and then we left to pick up lunch.


3. which/witch

Use which as a pronoun when referring to things or animals:  Cora wore her favorite pink shoes, which she received as a birthday gift.

Use witch to mean a scary or nasty person: The Halloween witch decorations must finally come down off of the wall!


4. here/hear

Use here as an adverb to indicate location:  Please come back here and put your shoes away!

Use hear as a verb to indicate listening:  Can you hear the birds’ beautiful singing outside?


5. are/our

Are is a verb in present tense, a form of the verb “to be.”

We are staying at the hotel closest to the stadium.

They are my cousins.


For more grammar tips, Scholastic has a great post called 7 (More!) Grammar Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make. Read more here.)

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About Auburn Seal

Auburn Seal is the author of eight books including historical fiction, cozy mystery, paranormal romance, and science fiction. She doesn't believe in dipping her toe in the water of experimentation, but rather jumping in and making the biggest splash possible. Her first book, Roanoke Vanishing, was published in 2013. Discover more about Auburn and her various projects at