Common grammar mistakes to avoid on your competition site

By Lex Haringman

It might not affect how your site functions, but good grammar and spelling for your prize competition and raffle website does a lot more than you think…

One of the main benefits of good grammar is better communication. For prize competitions, that means you can clearly describe the items you are raffling and express their full value to your customers. Written copy is great for showing off features which can’t always be captured in photos or by video. For example, if a prize is a limited edition item or has a highly experiential element (i.e. a holiday or other type of event).

For tips on writing descriptions for prizes, check out our blog post: Writing compelling prize descriptions for your competitions.

Whether it’s copy for your site or posted on your social media, you should also keep in mind that your writing represents you. It’s the voice people associate with your brand. It should be consistent with and work alongside other media where you are interacting with your audience, like your Live Draws.

For tips on how to stream a Facebook Live Draw, check out our blog post: How to run a successful Live Draw on Facebook.

Good grammar and spelling signals to anyone visiting your site for the first time that you’re a professional and trustworthy business. If you’re striving for success in the competition industry, building trust with your audience is a must. The written parts of your site works to support the visual. So if you’ve invested money into a great design and build, spelling mistakes and poor grammar becomes glaringly obvious.

A good understanding of grammar and spelling is also important for customer service… For tips on how to respond to and manage online reviews, check out our blog post: Facebook Recommendations: Get reviews on Facebook for your competitions.

A simple spell checking tool can pick and fix nearly all spelling mistakes, but grammar is often harder to get right. Here are some common grammar mistakes to avoid on your competition site…



Missing or misplaced apostrophes.

Apostrophes are used to show possession and mark missing letters in contractions (i.e. the shortened form of a word or group of words).

When talking about a single prize, showing possession is a simple case of adding ‘s to the end of the noun. For example:

Check out this car’s amazing features!

If you’re talking about more than one item (as may be the case for a competition which offers a bundle of prizes), the apostrophe will get shifted to the end of the word, like this:

Check out these cars’ amazing features!

For possessive pronouns (e.g. yours, hers, its, ours), an apostrophe isn’t needed. This often causes a mix up between the possessive its and it’s, which is a contraction of it is. For example:

Check out our latest competition – it’s amazing!

Its amazing features include 2.5 turbo engine, privacy glass and a full service history!

The first sentence is the shortened and more casual version of it is amazing. In the second sentence, we’re talking about the prizes features.


Replacing “have” with “of”.

This is common to see with the phrase “could of”. The grammatically correct way is “could have.”

The rule also applies to sentences which include should and might. They should be should have and might have.

As the contraction for could havecould’ve – sounds very similar to could of, it’s an easy mistake to make. In fact, many grammatical errors happen when we write like how we speak – as you’ll see in the two examples!



Run-on sentences.

Fusing two sentences together without using a coordinating conjunction (e.g. and, or, but) or proper punctuation, like a period or semicolon.

As we don’t speak in grammatically correct sentences, it’s easy to overlook punctuation if you’re new to writing copy.

Fixing run-on sentences is important for making your copy readable. It’s hard for people to understand text and follow along when sentences keep getting fused together. Here is an example of a run-on sentence and how to fix it:

Our last PS5 competition was so popular we’re giving away another enter now for just 99p.

Our last PS5 competition was so popular, we’re giving away another. Enter now for just 99p!

The bottom sentence fixes the grammar in the sentence above. Can you see how much easier it is to read the second sentence?


Mixing up spellings.

Words that sound the same or similar, but have different meanings.

Common ones to watch out for are…

  • Your / You’re
  • To / Too / Two
  • There / Their / They’re
  • Affect / Effect
  • Except / Accept


Plural mixups.

The verb changes when the subject becomes plural.

A common mistake is to forget to change is to are when referring to more than one prize. You’ll also need to replace this with these. For example:

This prize is amazing!

These prizes are amazing!



Good grammar goes a long way…

…But it’s fine to have a little fun with it!

Once you get to grips with grammar, you’ll have a better understanding of when to break or stick to the rules.

Because you are writing the copy for your competition website, your grammar doesn’t have to be perfect. Your language doesn’t need to be formal. The goal here is to make sure your copy is readable and engaging. That there aren’t any glaring errors which will get people to question the legitimacy of your business.

(Did you notice us having some fun with sentence structure there? Fragmented sentences just wouldn’t fly if this blog post was an academic report!)

A third party tool, like Grammarly, provides a basic and budget-friendly check for your grammar and spelling. This is useful for smaller pieces of copy, like social media posts or short email campaigns.

For your website, we recommend going the extra mile with help from a professional and experienced copywriter. Not only will they guarantee that your site’s copy is grammatically correct, they know how to write specifically for online audiences, match your brand voice and make sure the copy is search-engine friendly.


Looking to work with a digital agency who specialises in prize competition web design and marketing? Get in touch today.