On the Write Track. Twenty Common Errors and Ways to Correct Them: A Guide to Better Writing. 1. Fragments are incomplete thoughts. Sentences must be complete thoughts. X My parents are strict. Like when they won’t let me stay out late.
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Twenty Common Errors and Ways to Correct Them: A Guide to Better Writing
X My parents are strict. Like when they won’t let me stay out late.
X The school has many rules. For example not chewing gum.
X We went to the mall. But didn’t see the movie.
e.g. The current was swift he could not swim.
e.g. I like her very much, she has a sense of humor.
Correct comma splices the way you would a run-on.
Use a comma before the words and, or, but, nor, for, yet, or so when these words join two independent clauses (sentences).
Remember the acronym “fanboys.”
e.g. He wanted to work, but no job was available.
No comma is used when joining a dependent clause or phrase.
e.g. He wanted to work if he could find a job.
e.g. He wanted to work but couldn’t find a job.
When the dependent clause comes first, a comma should be used.
e.g. Because the roads were icy, school was closed.
A comma is not necessary when the dependent clause follows.
e.g. School was closed because the roads were icy.
after in order that until
although once when
as since whenever
as if so that where
because than whereas
before that wherever
even though though while
X John flunked math, therefore he didn’t graduate.
Conjunctive adverbs work best at the front of a sentence.
X John flunked math. He did, however, graduate.
also likewise similarly
anyway meanwhile still
besides moreover then
certainly namely therefore
finally nevertheless thus
X One of my goals have been to go to law school.
X Neither of the children like spinach.
X The passenger, along with the driver, were injured.
X Here’s the keys you wanted.
X Someone forgot their keys.
X Every student should have their textbook.
X Jane looked at her mother as she opened the gift.
X She works hard but made little money.
Write formal essays about literature in the present tense.
e.g. Shakespeare characterizes Hamlet as a man of indecision. He cannot decide whether “to be or not to be.”
X Good writers make you want to read more.
X TV commercials try to make you buy products.
Passive voice verbs are weak and can obscure responsibility.
e.g. “Mistakes were made.” “Slaves were brought to America.”
passive: The ball was hit by Sally.
active: Sally hit the ball.
Writing is better when it contains active, strong, and precise verbs. Avoid the verb “seems.”
X There are many students in the room.
X It is difficult to understand the theme of the story.
It is OK to say, for example, “It’s raining.”
Rarely should a sentence begin with this, that, or it.
X I lost five dollars. That really made me mad.
X That was the worst movie I have ever seen.
X Elsinore castle is where Hamlet lives.
X Picking the right numbers is how to win the lottery.
X A touchdown is when the ball crosses the goal line.
X The reason I like to ski is because it’s a challenge.
X Rising over the hill, the men saw the bright red sun.
X He fell down the steps, breaking his leg.
X In winter we should wear tepid clothes.
How does sunlight effect/affect plants?
Will you lend/loan me a dollar?
I love you since/because you are kind.
She is taller then/than her brother.
Misspelled words may show laziness or carelessness.
posses/possesses alot/a lot
alright/all right can not/cannot
Its shows possession, e.g. The cat licked its fur.
It’s is a contraction meaning “it is.” e.g. It’s raining.
There is an adverb. e.g. Let’s go there after lunch.
Their shows possession. e.g. Let’s go to their house.
To is a preposition. e.g. Let’s go to the movie.
Two tells how many. e.g. Let’s see two movies.
Too means “very” or “also.” e.g. That cake is too sweet. Let’s invite her too.
Everyday is an adjective; every day is an adjective + noun.
An apostrophe (’) shows possession.
e.g. John’s coat is on the chair. That coat is John’s.
e.g. The coach’s advice helped the team win the game.
A semicolon (;) joins two independent clauses.
e.g. The bus will leave soon; students should be ready.
A colon (:) introduces a list or replaces “namely” in an explanation or example. Never use a colon after a verb.
X The seasons of the year are: winter, spring, summer, and fall.
X While we were eating the dog began to bark.
X Two years before the peace treaty had been signed.
20. Use quotes around the titles of articles, short stories, songs, and poems; use italics or underline for magazines, newspapers, movies, books, novels, record albums, or plays.
“The Raven” poem Macbeth play
“Eveline” short story Rebecca novel
“Teen Drug Use” article Newsweek
“When Doves Cry” song magazine
X The reason that we are meeting is that we need to consider revising the constitution.
Don’t be redundant.
X He didn’t return the book back to the library.
X As a rule, the hero usually triumphs over the villain.
X Prepay before pumping gas.