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It’s also easily avoided by thinking through what you’re trying to say.

“It’s” is a contraction of “it is” or “it has.” “Its” is a possessive pronoun, as in “this blog has lost mojo.” Here’s an easy rule of thumb—repeat your sentence out loud using “it is” instead.

Includes stories by Sean O'Toole, Storm Janse van Rensburg and others from the Stories & Conversations platform, which took place during the exhibition at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin in July 2012.

Critics, artists, writers, thinkers and academics were invited to bring and share a story, and then to relate it to an image, with the intention of exploring parallel experiences, memories and relationships to places.

All it takes to avoid this error is to take a second and think about what you’re trying to say.

“Your” is a possessive pronoun, as in “your car” or “your blog.” “You’re” is a contraction for “you are,” as in “you’re screwing up your writing by using .” This is another common mistake.

However, readers mentally expect it to work that way, so your opening phrase should always modify what immediately follows. You may find it amusing to know that I, like David Ogilvy, have never learned the formal rules of grammar.

As with any of the other common mistakes people make when writing, it’s taking that moment to get it right that makes the difference.

“Affect” is a verb, as in “Your ability to communicate clearly will affect your income immensely.” “Effect” is a noun, as in “The effect of a parent’s low income on a child’s future is well documented.” By thinking in terms of “the effect,” you can usually sort out which is which, because you can’t stick a “the” in front of a verb.

One thing blogging and good copywriting share is a conversational style, and that means it’s fine to fracture the occasional rule of proper grammar in order to communicate effectively.

Both bloggers and copywriters routinely end sentences with prepositions, dangle a modifier in a purely technical sense, or make liberal use of the ellipsis when an EM dash is the correct choice—all in order to write in the way people actually speak.

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