Yikes. That was painful to do. Most likely you’re not making this many grammar errors in one post (let alone one sentence!) but we all slip up from time to time, and truthfully – there are a few rules that trip up even the most seasoned of IFB editors. (I’m notorious for misusing “its” and “it’s.”)
To refresh your elementary school and middle school teachings, we’ve taken some of the most common grammar errors in the English language and put them into hypothetical sentences a fashion blogger might use. Trust us, this will be more fun than Googling their, there and they’re!
11 Grammar Tips For Fashion Bloggers
Then vs. Than
- Use “then” to talk about things that happen in succession.
- I'm going to upload and edit this picture to Instagram, then tweet it to my followers.
- Use “than” to compare one thing to another.
- I have uploaded more Instagram photos than any blogger I know.
Your vs. You're
- “Your” is possessive; use it to indicate something that belongs to someone.
- I think your topknot looks amazing in that photo.
- “You're” is a conjunction of you and are.
- You're going to love my site's new redesign!
Its vs. It's
- Use “its” when speaking in the possessive.
- You could say that the gold detailing on that bag is its best feature.
- “It's” is the conjunction for “it is.”
- Are you sure it's okay if I borrow your Celine luggage tote to go camping this weekend?
Affect vs. Effect
- “Affect” means to influence or produce a reaction, and is almost always a verb.
- I hope that my lack of posting doesn't affect my traffic too much.
- “Effect” is the resulting thing that comes from the affecting agent, and describes the outcome. It's usually a noun.
- My post on “How To Wear Denim Shorts” had a huge effect on my traffic yesterday.
Loose vs. Lose
- “Loose” means not tight or free from constraint.
- These boyfriend jeans are very loose on my waist, which is nice.
- “Lose” means to fail to keep, win or make something (like money, for example.)
- You might lose a lot of readers if you only wear those boyfriend jeans on your blog.
Literally vs. Figuratively
- “Literally” means really or actually, in the strictest sense of the word.
- I literally fainted when she told me that Anna Wintour reads my blog.
- “Figuratively” refers to something metaphorical or analogous (like “virtually”).
- Figuratively speaking, I would sell my soul for the new Raf Simons collection for Dior Couture.
Lay vs. Lie
- “Lay” is a transitiveverb, meaning it requires a direct subject and one or more objects. Its present tense is “lay” and its past tense is “laid.”
- To get a great image, I'm going to lay my jewelry out on the counter to photograph it.
- I laid all my jewelery out on the counter to photograph it yesterday.
- “Lie” is an intransitiveverb, which means it needs no object. Its present tense is “lie” and its past tense is “lay.”
- The heart of my personal style lies somewhere between masculine and feminine influences.
- My love for fashion lay dormant until I started reading my mom's old issues of Vogue.
Which vs. That
- “That” is a restrictive pronoun, meaning it is vital to the noun to which it’s referring.
- I won't buy any handbags that aren't made in the United States.
- “Which” introduces a relative clause and allows qualifiers that may not be essential (it qualifies). However, it has a flexible meaning, and can often be used to introduce a restrictive clause.
- I read her blog sporadically, which is to say hardly ever.
- This handbag, which was made in the United States, is 100 percent cotton.
Envy vs. Jealousy
- “Envy” is about longing for someone's good fortune and coveting that which belongs to someone else.
- I really envy her ability to whip out three blog posts a day and still have time to work out and raise a family.
- “Jealousy” is more about a fear of rivalry, and implies a sense of competition.
- I think she's jealous that I won the Bloglovin' Award because she wasn't even nominated.
Few vs. Less
- Use “few” or “fewer” when referring to things you can quantify.
- There were fewer than 3 comments on her post about how much she likes boot-leg jeans.
- There are very few reasons that capri pants should ever come back into fashion.
- Use “less” when the situation is hypothetical.
- Unfortunately, I am much less inspired to blog now than I was two years ago.
*If you’re looking for a more expansive but easy-to-digest guide to proper grammar, we'll point you to the classic – The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White.