You want your poetry to be a reflection of who you are. You want people to take it seriously. You want it to be as perfect as can be, right? If so, the biggest thing you can do is take time to read through it before making it public. Make sure the words are arranged in a way that makes sense. Make sure you take the time to proofread what you have crafted. A sloppy poem will be overlooked by your readers.
You will find some examples of common mistakes that have been seen in people's work. Some may be an innocent oversight on the author's part. Others might be a reflection of a sloppy author. Either way, learn from these so you don't make the same mistakes.
Make sure you leave spaces after words, commas, and periods. When using a comma, it should be put directly after the last letter in a word (no space before it). Using this correct formatting makes text much easier to read.
- And betrayal,lost and fear
- My mother,the best teacher
- Parents ,uncles, aunties too
It is much more appealing if you use words spelled out in their entirety rather than abbreviations.
A lot of people use "text talk" in their writing, which is fine for conversations between friends through texts, Facebook messages, etc., but in the world of published writing, words should be spelled out.
- & the four yrs that I left all in pain
- Nd after all that mornings nd nights when we were u nd me together forever...
Using word processors gives us a great advantage because we have access to spell checkers. This helps to eliminate many obvious spelling errors. But sometimes errors slip under the radar because the words are spelled correctly, but they are used incorrectly. Maybe you left off an s at the end of a word. Maybe you used a homonym, a word that sounds the same but is spelled differently.
Even though we have spell checkers, don't fully rely on seeing that red squiggly line. There could be mistakes within your writing that have not been identified as spelling mistakes. That's why it's always best to read through your manuscript critically. Having someone else read through it is also a good idea because an author is more likely to overlook mistakes that someone else would catch.
A lowercase letter i is just that, a letter. When used to talk about yourself, it always needs to be capitalized.
Examples of spelling mistakes:
- I sit in my room luking towards
- the serch for rest
- And its happens
- Rest in peace Mum..i love you
- the secret of two soul
- were there is no fear there is no adrenaline
Contractions are formed when two words are joined to make a new word. When using contractions, you need to remember to also use an apostrophe. The job of the apostrophe is to hold the place of the missing letters.
Examples of frequently used contractions:
- aren't: are not
- can't: cannot
- didn't: did not
- don't: do not
- doesn't: does not
- hadn't: had not
- hasn't: has not
- haven't: have not
- I'll: I will
- I'm: I am
- it'll: it will
- it's: it is
- I've: I have
- isn't: is not
- let's: let us
- mustn't: must not
- she'll/he'll: she/he will
- she's/he's: she/he is or has
- she'd/he'd: she/he had or would
- that'd: that had or would
- that'll: that will
- that's: that is
- shouldn't: should not
- there'll: there will
- there's: there is or has
- there've: there have
- they'd: they had or would
- they'll: they will
- they're: they are
- they've: they have
- wasn't: was not
- we'd: we had or would
- we'll: we will
- we're: we are
- we've: we have
- weren't: were not
- won't: will not
- wouldn't: would not
- you'd: you had/would
- you'll: you will
- you're: you are
Its vs. It's
These two words do not mean the same thing, so they should not be used interchangeably.
"Its" shows possession, which can sometimes trip people up because usually when talking about possession, an apostrophe is used. For example, if we were talking about the color of a book, you would say, "Its color is blue."
Examples of "its" used correctly:
- He stepped on the end of its tail.
- A duck uses its webbed feet to swim.
- The bus flashes its lights when a student is getting on or off.
- The dog walked with its tail between its legs.
Examples of "its" used incorrectly:
- Its true that I love.
- I carry an umbrella when its raining.
- They want to know when its going to snow.
"It's" is a contraction that is formed by combining "it" and "is" or "it" and "has."
Examples of "it's" used correctly:
- The bus still isn't here. It's late.
- It's been snowing all day.
Examples of "it's" used incorrectly:
- When they walked by it's bone, the dog barked.
- The baby wanted it's bottle.
If you ever get stuck figuring out if you should use "its" or "it's," try putting "it is" in the sentence in place of the word. Does it make sense? If not, you want to use "its."
They're, Their, or There?
All three of these words sound the same, but they all have a different meaning.
"They're" is a contraction for the words "they" and "are."
- They're going to the football game.
- I stopped, but they're still walking.
- We will play if they're going to as well.
"Their" shows possession. Something is belonging to someone.
- It's their turn to go first.
- We went over to their house.
- That is their dad.
"There" shows a location for something.
- The book is sitting over there on the table.
- Take off your shoes when you get there.
- We need to walk fast to get there on time.
What other common mistakes do you notice in poetry? Share them below.