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Some Common Problems . Eng. 111 Fall 2011. Get. “Get” is pedestrian. Using “get” is cheap; it says next to nothing. Try “have” or “became”: He got mad at the dog. She gets sick in the winter. You.

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Some common problems

Some Common Problems


Fall 2011


  • “Get” is pedestrian. Using “get” is cheap; it says next to nothing.

  • Try “have” or “became”:

  • He got mad at the dog.

  • She gets sick in the winter.


  • “You” is a problem. It alienates the audience by telling them what they are thinking, feeling or doing.

  • When you declare war on a country…

  • When you are black…

  • When you hate gay people…


  • This also alienates your audience by over-generalizing or being exclusive or too inclusive.

  • Try using degrees of speech or making a caveat.

  • Everyone knows all of Steinbeck’s writing is the best ever-written.

Indefinite stuff
Indefinite stuff

  • “This” is often empty unless accompanied by a defining statement. (Same goes for “that” and “these”/ “those”)

  • This means that I love ice cream.

  • That will lead to certain destruction.

Semi colons

  • Semi-colons tie two complete sentences together; however, they are difficult to use correctly. (Okay, that’s a little contrived; give me a break….)

  • Semi-colons tie two sentences together. They are difficult to use.

  • Semi-colons tie sentences together, and they are difficult to use.

  • Semi-colons are a difficult way to tie two sentences together.

You thought it was over but it s not
You thought it was over, but it’s not.

  • In most cases, you need a comma before “but.” This is especially true when the second clause of the sentence is in opposition to the first.

  • Dustin is a great guy but sometimes he acts like a jerk.