Thoughts from: “Cleaning Your Copy” (….to be completed!)

“Cleaning Your Copy” is an online workshop, with various writing related categories, that lets you search and learn about common errors writers make. Here is what I came away with, after using this website:


  • I learned how easy it is to confuse the words “lie” and “lay”. “Lay” is an action word, which means in needs to be in a sentence with an object. “Lie”, on the other hand, only needs a noun and verb and no object, since it simply means “to recline.” Oh, and as if you weren’t already confused on how to properly use these words, wrap your head around this: the past tense of “lie” is “lay”…..tricky words, indeed!
  • I was surprised that there were not more tabs with even more common grammar errors. I felt like the website hit on the big ones, but they could have extended the section. Maybe it will be made up for in the other categories? We’ll see…
  • I want to know more about what other words are commonly mistook for each other. The examples on the website were that/which, that/who, who/whom, and the previously mentioned lay/lie. As I read how each of these combination of words can be misused, I started to think of the possibility that I have made these very errors before. I want to know other common word combinations that I might be using wrong.


  • I learned that writing a simple address is a lot harder than you think! There are so many little rules to when its okay to use the number in front or the zip code, or even abbreviating a street name.
  • I was surprised that I am constantly forgetting when it is okay to type numbers like ‘3’, and when it is okay to write it out at as ‘three.’ I guess I am going to have to keep an eye out for this!
  • I would like to know where else I have been confused on how to properly use numbers, whether it it talking about money, highways, street addresses, or distances.


  • I learned that “when a modifier comes after a “to be” verb, keep the hyphen to avoid confusion.” The website used the example: “The man is well-known”
  • I was surprised of the examples the website gave about how to properly use colon’s. I usually only use them when listing, but the web gives an example of using a colon to combine to sentences. The example they give is, “The researchers expected to solve the puzzle of the disease: They found more questions.” I don’t know if it’s just me, but this just seemed like odd wording.
  • I would like to know more about semicolons! Even though I know how to use one properly (90% of the time), I would like to be able to know when it is most appropriate to actually use one, since more often than not, you see professors scratching them off student’s papers, instead of inserting them.


  • I learned that, after reading the “Confusing Word Pairs” section, that I have misused the words “Adverse” and “Averse” .
  • I was surprised that “diphtheria” was on the commonly misspelled list. How is this even a common word? And, of course we are going to spell it wrong- no one ever spells medical things correctly! (Only joking!)
  • I would like to know more about common words I misspell. I know that for a really long time as a young kid, I used to spell the word “maybe” as “maby”. I also used to spell “exactly” as the word “exsactly”. Oops!

~ by lowoodward on February 3, 2010.

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