Everyone should have basic writing skills. However, many People trip up on the same, common grammatical errors. This reference will help you to avoid the same on your next writing assignment.
1. Missing Comma Splices
Commas trip up many a writer. Many professors look over assignments only to see that there aren’t ass many comma splices as necessary.
For one, a comma should be added after interjections. Phrases like “for instance” or sentences starting with “first” should be followed with this punctuation. It’s also important to use them when connecting independent clauses.
2. Spelling Mistakes
This might seem simple, but it is very common. More often than simple misspellings, though, is the wrong spelling form. For instance, “your” instead of “you’re” or “there” instead of “their.” It’s also rather frequent that spellcheck systems replace misspelled words with the wrong correction – particularly if the word is far from correct initially.
Make sure to carefully proofread work before turning it in. It can also be helpful to reach out for the second pair of eyes. If you need help on editing or writing essay types such as reflective essays, on-campus writing centers and online writing services can be a helpful tool.
3. Not Being Concise
This is a point that isn’t always an accident. It’s something that some students use to meet a required word or page count. For example;
She went to the store and while she was there she bought apples.
A more concise version would be;
She went to the store and bought apples.
When writing formally, less is more. Don’t use ten words when five will do. This only serves to make the main argument hard to follow.
4. Not Being Specific with Pronouns
Pronouns are often used and crucial. Passages such as this aren’t a great idea:
Micheal went to the library. After that, Micheal went to get coffee and met with Micheal’s friends.
See the problem? This can be simplified with pronouns like this;
Micheal went to the library. After that, he went to get coffee and met with his friends.
However, there is a problem if only pronouns are used. If that passage never said Micheal’s name, how would the audience know who he was? Utilize a careful mix of proper nouns and pronouns.
5. Quotation Errors
Quotation missteps are also common. This might include capitalization or punctuation misuse. Here’s an erroneous example:
He said, “I want to go home”.
The correct way to express this would be;
He said, “I want to go home.”
6. Shifts in Verb Tense
Any writing needs to be consistent. A basic rule that is often missed is to keep verbs tensed the same throughout. Compare the following:
He ran many races throughout his career. To do so, he trains every day.
This makes it difficult to follow the timeline. When does he train? Now or then? This phrasing is much clearer:
He ran many races throughout his career. To do so, he trained every day.
7. Title and Heading Capitalization
The first thing someone sees when flipping through a piece of writing is the title and headings. If these sections aren’t correctly formatted, it hurts your credibility right away. Make sure to follow these rules:
- Capitalize the initial and final word;
- Capitalize nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and conjunctions;
- Keep articles lowercase;
- Keep “to” lowercase.
8. “You and I” and “You and Me”
An initially confusing topic is the use of “you and me” vs. “you and I.” An easy trick to keep things straight, though, is to remove the word “you” out of the sentence and see if it still works.
For example, the sentence, “She and I went to the concert,” is correct. You can tell because if the sentence, “I went to the concert,” makes sense. If you were to say, “Me went to the concert,” it becomes immediately clear what’s wrong.
9. Double Negatives
Using double negatives make things hard to understand. Instead of a phrase like, “I can’t get no satisfaction,” use “I can’t get satisfaction.”
10. Split Infinitives
The final mistake isn’t a hard and fast standard, but it’s generally agreed upon. An infinitive is “to” and then a verb. Putting an adverb between those words splits the infinitive which is frowned upon. To compare;
Incorrect: He tried to quickly run to class.
Correct: He tried to run to class quickly.