Ace that Essay by Avoiding these 5 Typical Grammar Mistakes
5 Typical Grammar Mistakes – I woke up to a rather pleasant morning (until I saw my task list).I am held in a bind — 2 new assignments due next week and one paper that was sent back to me for revision due to grammatical errors in it.
So, I decided to run some errands quickly and get started with these right on.
As I stepped into a grocery store, I saw a placard that read, “Please satanize your hands!” Who am I to judge? Especially after receiving a revision suggestion for grammar and poor language. But all I knew was that the COVID-19 terror may have passed, but the grammar nazis will never stop to take a dig at us.
Now I know why is being grammatically correct important.
And as for academic writing, it helps to ensure that your argument is clear and easy to follow. Furthermore, it shows that you have a firm grasp of the language and can communicate clearly. Finally, it adds credibility to your argument by demonstrating that you can write correctly.
That was my sign to prioritize the revision of the paper and then move to the new papers, hoping to avoid making the same grammar mistakes again.
On returning home, I quickly opened the paper that was to be revised for the poor grammar and language. However, the comments read words like “subject-verb agreement,” “pronoun-antecedent agreement,” and so on. Absolutely clueless, I began browsing to know what these terms even meant.
And here are the 5 most common grammatical mistakes we make in writing academic essays. These helped me improve my academic writing skills and avoid receiving grammar corrections for any of my assignments thereafter.
Top 5 Most Common Grammar Mistakes and How to Avoid Them While Writing Essays
a. Ensure that the subject and verb in a sentence agree in number (singular or plural), i.e., singular subject with a singular verb and plural subject with a plural verb.
b. It is important to understand the basic rules for subject-verb agreement, including singular and plural subjects, compound subjects, and irregular verbs.
c. Some words, such as collective nouns and indefinite pronouns, can cause subject-verb agreement errors. Be aware of these exceptions, and make sure the verb agrees with the subject.
d. Try to limit the number of clauses in a single sentence to prevent confusing the subject and verb agreement.
e. As you become more aware of the importance of the subject-verb agreement, try practicing writing in clear and simple sentences to improve your writing skills.
Example of a subject-verb agreement
Incorrect: “The team of scientists are presenting their findings today.”
Correct: “The team of scientists is presenting their findings today.”
a. Make sure that pronouns refer clearly to their antecedents (something that logically precedes the other).
b. The pronouns should agree in number with the nouns they refer to, i.e., use “he” with “he” and “they” with “they.”
c. Ensure that the pronoun used in a sentence agrees with the antecedent in both number and person.
d. Avoid using indefinite antecedents, such as “everyone” or “someone,” that can cause pronoun-antecedent agreement errors.
e. If a sentence is getting complex, repeating the antecedent can help prevent agreement errors.
Examples of a pronoun-antecedent agreement
Incorrect: “If a researcher wants to succeed, they must work hard.”
Correct: “If a researcher wants to succeed, he or she must work hard.”
- Run-on Sentences and Fragments
a. Avoid run-on sentences (two independent clauses joined without proper punctuation) and sentence fragments (incomplete sentences). Long sentences can be difficult to read and understand. Instead, use clear and concise sentences.
b. Use proper punctuation; use periods, semicolons, or conjunctions to separate independent clauses into distinct sentences.
c. Avoid using too many clauses. Try to limit the number of clauses in a single sentence to prevent it from becoming too lengthy and complex.
d. Use subordinate clauses to help make long sentences more manageable and readable by breaking them into smaller parts.
e. If you have several short, related sentences, consider combining them into a single sentence to make your writing more concise and effective.
Example of a run-on sentence
Incorrect: “I was tired so I went to bed early, I slept well.”
Correct: “I was tired, so I went to bed early. I slept well.”
Example of a fragment
Incorrect: “Despite the bad weather.”
Correct: “Despite the bad weather, I went for a walk.”
- Misplaced Modifiers
a. Position adjectives and adverbs correctly to clearly convey the intended meaning.
b. Clearly state the subject of the sentence.
c. Writing in active voice makes it easier to avoid misplaced modifiers, as the subject is typically placed before the verb.
d. Place modifiers close to the words they modify. Ensure that descriptive words or phrases are positioned near the words they are modifying.
e. Avoid constructing sentences that could be interpreted in multiple ways by placing modifiers in clear and specific positions.
f. Proper use of commas, semicolons, and dashes can help clarify the intended meaning of a sentence and prevent misplaced modifiers.
Example of misplaced modifiers
Incorrect: “Zara fed the guinea pigs wearing her raincoat.”
Correct: “Wearing her raincoat, Zara fed the guinea pigs.”
- Incorrect Verb Tense
a. It is important to understand the basic verb tenses, including present simple, present continuous, past simple, past continuous, present perfect, and past perfect.
b. Use the appropriate tense for the context. Choose the correct verb tense based on the context of the sentence and the time frame being described.
c. Avoid switching verb tenses in the middle of a sentence or paragraph, as this can be confusing for the reader.
Example of incorrect verb tense
Incorrect: “Yesterday, I complete the experiment.”
Correct: “Yesterday, I completed the experiment.”
While these are the typical mistakes everyone makes in academic writing, one would wonder why these mistakes are so common.
Why Are These Grammar Mistakes So Common?
1. Lack of language proficiency: If English is not your first language, you are more likely to make grammatical mistakes.
2. Rush to meet deadlines: In the rush to complete an assignment or research paper, you may overlook grammatical errors.
3. Focus on content over form: Academicians may prioritize the content of their writing over its form, leading to grammatical errors.
4. Poor editing skills: You may not have the necessary editing skills to detect and correct grammatical mistakes in your writing. Thus taking the help of professional editing services proves beneficial in all cases.
5. Limited attention to detail: You may not pay enough attention to the details of your writing, which obviously leads to grammatical errors.
However, it’s worth noting that even highly educated and experienced academics can make grammatical errors, and these errors do not diminish the value of their research or insights.
It does seem like a daunting task, doesn’t it? But clear and accurate writing is important in essays as it helps you effectively communicate your ideas, establish credibility, and demonstrate your professionalism and attention to detail.
So don’t make the same mistakes again. Try making new ones.
And if you still can’t figure out what mistakes you are making, get grammar corrections from editing services! Get started now with that essay you left unfinished!
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