As a small business owner, sometimes all you have is your word.

But if your words have a ton of grammatical errors, you haven’t got much. If you’re using “it’s” when you should be using “its,” your old English teacher isn’t the only one who’ll be cringing. Avoid making embarrassing mistakes with this quick guide:

When to use a Semicolon

Semicolons are generally used to separate two clauses that could act as individual sentences and are closely related to each other.

Example: They moved the deadline to today; I have a lot of work to do.

Another common reason to use a semicolon is when separating items in lists that already have commas.

Example: New York, NY; Los Angeles, CA; Austin, TX; Chicago, IL

“It’s vs. “Its”

This one’s easy to get wrong, since an apostrophe is generally used to indicate possession. However, when it comes to “it’s” and “its,” that isn’t the case. To show possession, you use “its.”

Example: The fruit is in its own container.

An apostrophe is only used when it can be replaced by “it is”

Example: It’s really cold out.

Professional Titles

To avoid accidentally offending clients, it’s important to know how to properly capitalize job titles. The general rule of thumb is when it comes before the name, it’s (it is) considered a job title and is capitalized. If it comes after the name, it’s considered an identifier and is lowercase.

Example:  Vice President of Sales John Smith & John Smith, vice president of sales

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