Beware of Common Grammatical Errors

When writing you must watch for errors in grammar punctuation mechanics and word choice. That’s a lot too think about but their all important topics you can’t let any of them slip through the cracks. Its not enough to rely on your word processor’s spell-checker either. Everyone have to proof his or her work to achieve the best affect. Failure to use proper writing techniques can be detrimental to your career, as you may not be taken seriously if you’re righting is full of errors. Tips, which we hope you will find useful, have been provided by us below. A corrected version. Of this paragraph was found at the bottom of this article.

1.       Hunt for Homonyms

Homonyms are words that sound similar but have different spellings and meanings. Spell-checkers are particularly bad at finding these for you since the incorrect words are, in fact, still words.  Examples include led and lead (the metal); their (possessive), they’re (conjunction), and there (location); and for and fore.

2.       Sharpen Sentences

There are several kinds of problematic sentences you have to watch for. Run-ons often lack any kind of punctuation at all but mesh two or more independent clauses – complete thoughts – together.  Comma splices join multiple complete thoughts with a comma, but don’t include the requisite coordinating conjunction (such as “and”) that would make it correct. Fragments, which lack either a subject or a verb, are also incorrect and should be avoided.

3.       Choose the Right It’s (or Its)

It’s and its are technically homonyms – but confusing them is a common enough error that it merits a standalone entry. While it’s (it is) true that apostrophes usually denote possession (my dog’s bone, my mother’s ring), the apostrophe also represents missing words in contractions (the “no” of cannot in can’t). When you use either version, try out the contraction. If it is fits then use it’s. Example: My badge does not work; it’s broken.

4.       Make Sure Subjects and Verbs Agree

Singular nouns require singular verbs and plural nouns require plural verbs. That sounds easy – but it’s a very common error in writing. It gets tricky is when the subjects are separated from their verbs by lots of other words, or when the subjects seem plural even when they’re not.  Named groups (such as a committee) and words like “everyone” are singular, even though they might seem to be plural!

5.       Use Special Effects to Affect Your Writing Positively

A frequent grammar trap deals with knowing when to use affect or effect. Both words can be used as either a verb or as a noun – but they both have uses that are far more common. Affect is almost always used as a verb while effect is almost always used as a noun. Staring at my computer screen for too long affects my ability to concentrate. The effects of staring at my computer screen too long include dry eyes, short attention span, and lack of attention to detail.

6.       Don’t Vary Verb Tense

There are three verb tenses – past, present, and future. You want to be sure that you use the same one consistently throughout any given piece, or at least throughout any given section.

7.       Choose the Right To (or Two, or Too)

Too often, the words to, two, or too are confused. Two is a number. To, spelled with one o, is a preposition indicating a direction or destination, such as, “I am going to the store.” Too, with two Os, means also, or in addition to, as in, “there are too many rules!”

8.       Pass on Passive Language

In active language, the subject of the sentence is the thing that is doing the acting.  In a passive sentence, the OBJECT of the sentence – the thing that is being acted upon – is what is doing the acting.

Active: John sent an interoffice envelope containing the new top secret project to the CEO.

Passive: The inter-office envelope containing the new top secret project was sent to the CEO by John.

No matter how you feel about John using interoffice envelopes to send around top secret projects, unless your story is the riveting adventures of an interoffice envelope, the first version is better.

9.       Apply Commas Carefully

Like all punctuation, commas should be used to clarify mood, pacing, and meaning for readers.  Commas should be used to separate items in a list, before the coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence, and to set off descriptive phrases.  Commas should not generally separate a subject from its verb.

When writing, you must watch for errors in grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and word choice9. That’s a lot to7 think about,2 but they’re1 all important topics;2 you can’t let any of them slip through the cracks. It’s3 not enough to rely on your word processor’s spell-checker either. Everyone has4 to proof his or her work to achieve the best effect5. Failure to use proper writing techniques can be detrimental to your career, as you may not be taken seriously if your1 righting is full of errors. We’ve provided tips, which we hope you will find useful, below.8 Tips, which we hope you find useful, have been provided by us below. A corrected version of this paragraph can be6 found at the bottom of this article.

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