EditNATION.com punctuation and grammar Quiz #5 Questions and Answers

Last week, I started off with this gem:

“I keep reading about the importance of storytelling and addressing real human emotions, but I am having a hard time incorporating those principals writing about content marketing.  Any advice for me?”

And I said: Yeah, learn to spell.

Who sees the homonym in that sentence? This kind of thing is unacceptable, especially in a professional forum.

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1. Again, the Marketo folks totally grok their audience.

Rule: No made-up words. What (the hell) is “grok”? This is juvenile.

2.  eToro use the CTA to provide readers with a $20 gift card for trading on their platform.

Rule: Subject agrees with verb agrees with pronoun. Also, while I happen to know what the acronym CTA means, others might not be so lucky. Never assume.

Corrected: eToro uses the CTA to provide readers with a $20 gift card for trading on its platform.

3.  Payoneer is a pre-paid cards company. They use the CTA button to encourage people to load money on their card.

Rule: A company is singular; a company is an it. And then there’s that pronoun confusion at the end of the second sentence: does the writer mean “their card” as in “the people’s card” or “their card” as in “Payoneer’s card”? We will never know.

Corrected: Payoneer is a pre-paid cards company. It uses the CTA button to encourage people to load money on their card.

4. With our company’s smart lead generation forms you can collect your readers information as they read through your content.

Rule: Use an apostrophe when you need to indicate possessive. And this looks like a plural possessive (because of the “they”).

Rule: Dependent clause + comma + independent clause.

Corrected: With our company’s smart lead generation forms, you can collect your readers’ information as they read through your content.

5. See the example below- this was one of our most successful newsletters with an open rate of almost 30% and Click-through rate of over 25%.

Rule: “Click-through” is not a proper noun. It’s “click-through.”

Rule: that business about the open rate and click-through looks parenthetical to me, so I’d do a comma before “with.”

Rule: That hyphen is absolutely a mistake. I would take out the “See the example below” and leave the rest. Add a colon at the end, like so

This was one of our most successful newsletters, with an open rate of almost 30% and click-through rate of over 25%:

6. My website is designed as an online service comparison engine, providing online expert reviews, side-by side comparison tables and advanced comparison features.

Where’s that second hyphen in side-by-side?

And I do like a serial comma! There are three items in this list, and each should be separated from the others.

Corrected: My website is designed as an online service comparison engine, providing online expert reviews, side-by side comparison tables, and advanced comparison features.

7. By sharing interesting, stimulating content on this site , including content originally posted by yours truly on my site, my website posts gain exposure and every visitor who views any of my site’s pages on XYZ is counted by Google as a site visitor, thus bolstering traffic volume to my website, as well as brand awareness.

Whoops, what happened to that comma after “site”? Plus, in my opinion, that sentence is a bit too long. The “yours truly” makes it sound pretentious.

I’m not a fan of the common practice of larding up content with a bunch of synonyms, and—in my opinion—interesting and stimulating are just too close in meaning to be helpful. I’d use one word, but not both.

8. Here, Cloudyn posted one of their webpages to increase their blog’s exposure on facebook.

Same problem as before: a company is singular and is an it.

Facebook is a proper noun, and so must be capitalized.

Corrected: Here, Cloudyn posted one of its webpages to increase its blog’s exposure on Facebook.

And then, more content from my absolutely favorite can’t-edit-its-way-out-of-a-paper-sack content company:

9. To sell something, you have to convince a buyer that they not only want your offering, they need it.

Wow! A buyer is singular. You can say “buyers” and “they,” but if you say “a buyer” then you must say “he or she” or “his or her.” Plus, “that they not only” is kind of awkward. Let’s try this instead:

To sell something, you have to convince buyers that not only do they want your offering, they need it.