Top Ten Grammar Mistakes

Top Ten Grammar Mistakes

An independent clause is a group of words that contains a subject and verb and expresses a complete thought. Independent clauses can stand alone as complete sentences. For example: I enjoy sitting by the fireplace listening to music. Because the sentence expresses a complete thought and makes sense on its own, it is an independent clause. The complete thought is “I enjoy sitting by the fireplace listening to music.” This sentence contains a subject and a verb and is providing a complete idea of what I enjoy. Although independent clauses are closely related to run-on sentences, it is important to remember that not all run-on sentences contain two independent clauses. If you have only one independent clause and no dependent clauses, your sentence is not a run-on, no matter how long it is. An example of a run-on sentence that does not contain two independent clauses: She enjoyed the movie, however, she did not like the popcorn. This sentence is a run-on because there are two complete thoughts, “She enjoyed the movie” and “she did not like the popcorn,” which are connected improperly. If we look closely, only the second part of the sentence cannot stand alone. This part of the sentence is a dependent clause used for joining the two independent clauses with the help of a comma and a conjunction word “however”. She enjoyed the movie and she still talks about it. There are two independent clauses in this sentence. The first one is “She enjoyed the movie” which tells us a complete idea about someone’s feeling for that movie. And the second one is “she still talks about it” which is also providing a separate idea that she is talking about the same movie. To encourage the ability of writing reciprocal teaching, I would teach the students to create the reciprocal questions in their small groups and when they write they will be able to use this knowledge to correct each other’s mistakes. I would allow my students to choose some of the texts we will use in class. By doing this, it will empower the student to take control of their learning but will also guard against the ineffective text selections which will not facilitate students’ learning experiences. Students can choose based on their previous knowledge. Also, they have the opportunity to learn how to select texts that will help them achieve meaningful responses. Students can identify and develop authentic questions for an author. So when working in a group, they will do very well as they already know which of the questions will help problem-solving. We will read the same section and then decide the most important question together. It is my goal that my students develop expertise in asking important questions of their own. This way, they can engage sensibly with their questions, note their thinking, and develop evidence based on their explanations.

Understanding Independent Clauses

An independent clause is a clause that can stand alone as a sentence, with a subject and a predicate. This means that the clause expresses a complete thought. Understanding this concept is important because we use independent clauses as the building blocks in forming compound sentences. A compound sentence is basically a sentence that has two or more independent clauses and joins them with a comma and a coordinating conjunction. In this guide, “Common Grammatical Mistakes and How to Avoid Them,” independent clauses (and how to use them properly) is one of the many topics for discussion. Semicolons can also be used to join independent clauses without a coordinating conjunction. If a semicolon is used to join these clauses, then the punctuation mark following the first independent clause immediately follows the last word of that clause. Kindergarteners love to sing the alphabet song; they can sing it repeatedly for hours. On the other hand, the comma falls before the coordinating conjunction, and just like with the use of a semicolon, the punctuation mark following the first independent clause will be placed immediately after the last word of that clause. Joey and his brother love to eat cookies, but they had none left at the end of the party. If you notice, both mooted examples demonstrate how dependent clauses cannot form sentences on their own because they only (partially) provide descriptions – leaving readers hanging and wanting. It is a common mistake to use a semicolon to separate a dependent clause from an independent clause. A semicolon is used to separate two independent clauses, not an independent clause and a dependent one. Simply put, a dependent clause does not express a complete thought; it is only a piece of a sentence, like a phrase. However, such an error can be easily fixed by replacing the semicolon with a comma. Also, dependent clauses are introduced by subordinating conjunctions, while independent clauses produce sentences that are clear and familiar to readers. When students start college, they often have a lot of concerns because the new environment feels foreign; however, staff members try their best to help students to adapt. Every writer has his or her own style, but it is important to recognize and choose the proper sentence structure that is grammatically correct. Many people do not know the meaning of an independent clause; it is quite possible that person does not know the meaning of a dependent clause either!

Identifying and Correcting Run-on Sentences

Another common mistake is the run-on sentence. A run-on sentence occurs when two independent clauses are not joined with the proper conjunction or punctuation. For instance, in the sentence “I was feeling ill, I decided to take the day off,” the author needs to either place a semicolon where the comma is, or place a period where the semicolon is and begin a new sentence. There are a couple of ways to identify run-on sentences. First, one can look at the length of the sentence. If a sentence is long and seems to have multiple ideas or thoughts, it may be a run-on sentence. Reading run-on sentences out loud slowly can also help identify them, as it becomes evident where the natural pauses should be. The most efficient way that I have found to identify run-on sentences in my own writing is to complete paragraph-long sentences. If I put a paragraph-long run-on sentence in an essay, I’ll go, go, and go until the sentence is done, just as the reader would. Then I’ll read back through it. I’ll realize that I’m out of breath and that there weren’t any breaks, and this lets me know that I have written a run-on sentence. One must also identify the complete thoughts and separate them with the appropriate conjunction or punctuation. Helping young writers develop clear topic sentences, details, and conclusions is important, as is teaching the development of sentences and the crafting of well-organized paragraphs. Close reading at every level, from sentence structure to paragraph development to section headings, is important for both developing and modeling good writing at all ages. After identifying run-on sentences and fragments, it’s time to use this information to teach students the importance of varying sentence structures and organizing paragraphs. Boring writing is usually the result of simple sentence after simple sentence and the same ideas and details repeated over and over. By teaching and encouraging variations in the length and structure of sentences and paragraphs, students can begin to feel the rhythm of different kinds of writing, as well as the importance of clarity and coherence in proper sentence and paragraph structure.

Proper Punctuation for Independent Clauses

Using one or the other formulating and correct any mistake. When two independent clauses are joined by any of the coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, yet, so, for), most writers find it easiest to first separate the clauses and then place a comma before the coordinating conjunction. However, it is not the addition of the comma that is key in the proper punctuation of independent clauses. The key is not to confuse an independent clause which can stand alone as a complete thought with a dependent clause which needs something else in the sentence to make it a complete thought. Never use a comma to separate an independent and dependent clause. A comma splice happens when a comma is used to separate two independent clauses without the benefit of a coordinating conjunction. Coordinating conjunctions may be used in pairs to further define the relationship between the independent clauses in a sentence. When using no coordinating conjunction and combining two independent clauses, a semicolon should be used to separate them. Proper use of the semicolon and the comma with a coordinating conjunction will make the ideas clear and the connections between them solid. Do not be misled by the fact that many people now use a comma in place of the semicolon in everyday casual writing. The reason for the comma or semicolon is dictated not by politics or convention but by clarity.

Passive Voice

Passive voice is a grammatical voice common in many languages. When a verb is used in the passive voice, the person or thing that performs the action is not the grammatical subject of the sentence. Instead, the person or thing that would be the object of an active sentence (if included) is put at the beginning of the clause and is said to be in the subject position. The person or thing that would be the subject of an active sentence (if included) is either not stated or is given after the verb. For example, “The novel was written by Hemingway.” This sentence is in the passive voice because the subject – the novel – is not doing anything. It is simply being acted upon by the person or thing named in the predicate – Hemingway. The same idea could be expressed in the active voice as follows: “Hemingway wrote the novel.” Here, the emphasis is on what Hemingway did. He is the subject of the sentence and is placed first. The verb is also in its active form. The direct object of the verb – the thing written, which is the novel – is placed at the end of the clause. This focus on showing who does what in a sentence – the active voice – is the principal and most important reason to avoid the excessive use of the passive voice. Many passages with numerous use of the passive voice will put the main idea in the background and make the writing less clear and direct. In general, to make your writing more engaging and concise, the most effective strategy is to position the main idea close to the beginning of a sentence in the subject position and in the form of the main verb of the clause.

Recognizing Passive Voice

The meaning of active voice is relatively straightforward. When a sentence is written with active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action in the sentence. In other words, the subject is doing the action of the sentence. This direct relationship between the subject and the verb is easier for most people to understand. Here are a few examples of sentences written in active voice: “I have eaten the meal.” “Timothy read the novel.” “The pilot is flying the airplane.” By contrast, the concept of passive voice is a bit more complex. When a sentence is written with passive voice, the subject of the sentence is being acted upon by some other agent or by something else in the sentence. In other words, the passive voice is useful when the writer wants to emphasize the person or thing receiving the action, rather than the person or thing performing the action. However, the result is often a more wordy and sometimes unclear sentence structure. Here are a few examples of sentences written in passive voice: “The meal has been eaten.” “The novel was read by Timothy.” “The airplane is being flown by the pilot.” So, when it comes to recognizing passive voice, it’s helpful to understand that the subject of the sentence is not an active participant in the sentence. In fact, the use of passive voice can often lead to unclear, wordy, and emotionally disengaged writing. As a general rule, essays and other written works tend to be stronger and more interesting in terms of content when they are written in active, rather than passive, voice.

Converting Passive Voice to Active Voice

In order to change a sentence from passive to active voice, students should follow these simple rules. The subject in a passive sentence is the ‘target’ of the action. Look for the person or thing doing the action in the sentence. The subject will become this person or thing when the sentence is made active. Transfer the subject of the passive sentence to the list of subjects performing the verb in the tense that is used in the passive sentence, i.e. find the equivalent active verb form. There is often an extra ‘helper’ verb in the passive sentence as well, e.g. is, are, was, were, has been, have been, had been, will be. This is the ‘be’ verb and is used to indicate that the sentence is passive. The helper verb is then changed from the passive ‘be’ form to match the tense of the verb when it becomes active. The original subject of the passive sentence is transferred to become the direct object of the active verb. Students may need to rearrange the words and sentence order depending on the particular sentence. Note also that there may not always be an exact match between the words and sentence structure of the passive and active forms. Students are advised to think about which is the best active noun or pronoun to replace the passive subject in order to maintain continuity of the sentence or paragraph. By following these rules, students can be confident that their rewritten sentences in the active voice still keep the original meaning of the sentences in the passive voice.

Benefits of Using Active Voice

The use of active voice in writing is an essential tool to make our language and speech effective and powerful. Such a construction makes your sentences stronger and more direct. Many experienced authors and writers advise against the use of the passive voice where you can. Using the active voice will make your speaking and writing more simple and dynamic. Students are often encouraged to use their sound systems in the classroom, in a small group of pairs or “pair work”. Using active voice encourages the programmer to write in a “do this” way. So instead of saying “click on the OK button!” students say “I will click on the OK button!” This can often reduce stress and confusion for students who are new to programming and are unfamiliar with the layout of the keyboard or struggle with fine motor skills.

Common Grammar Mistakes to Avoid

Common grammar mistakes to avoid. There are several common grammatical errors that are important to avoid. The first is not understanding the proper use of the apostrophe. It is used to show possession, as in the dog’s bone. It is also used in contractions to show where a letter or letters have been left out, such as in don’t or isn’t. It is not, however, used in the creation of plurals. The second common error is the misuse of the comma. A comma indicates a pause in a sentence, and if used incorrectly it can create confusion for readers. Commas are commonly used to separate items in a list, and to separate two complete thoughts that are joined by words such as and, or, but, or yet. Another common mistake is failing to properly reference quotes or not including them at all. In any essay or report, it is important to properly cite the sources that have been used. This requires including information such as the author’s name and the page number where the quote was found. This information can either be included within the quote itself, or it can be included in a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence. However, it is important that the correct format is followed and that any quotes used are referenced completely. This also includes quotes which may have been slightly altered, or paraphrased, as these require proper citations as well. Students also have a tendency to use the wrong tense and fail to conjugate verbs correctly. They switch between present and past tense, or plural and singular forms. It is important in academic writing to be mindful of tense and have an understanding of the various forms of the past, present, and future tense. In addition, all verbs need to be conjugated. It is important to pay attention to subject-verb agreement. Every singular noun requires a singular verb form, whereas every plural noun requires a plural verb form. Don’t assume that an s on the end of a verb means that the verb is in the plural form. Also, not every s-ending noun is plural. Pluralization does not always work the same way as it does in English. Students must be mindful of these differences, and pay attention to subject-verb agreement when writing in English. Next, students often experience common homophone errors, such as confusing to too and two, or there and their. It is important for students to take the time to learn the meanings of different homophones and their correct spelling. Also important is for students to take enough time to revise and proofread their work. Many times, the cause of an error could be that the student rushed to finish the writing, and so they did not take the care necessary to revise and edit it properly. This includes not only checking for grammar and proper usage errors, but also reviewing the paper’s organization and argument formation. All of these mistakes are different, but they have one common theme: they are all avoidable. With some practice, students can learn to produce strong, detailed writing which is written accurately and appropriately; it will just take a little time and patience.

Correcting Subject-Verb Agreement Errors

Making a subject and a verb agree with each other is a common stumbling block for many writers. It is important to identify the subject in a sentence before narrowing in on the verb. A good rule to follow is that singular subjects need singular verbs; plural subjects need plural verbs. However, the presence of interrupting phrases or clauses that separate the subject from the verb can make this task quite complex. There is no shortcut to correcting this type of grammatical error. The only way to avoid it is for writers to familiarize themselves with the different types of sentence structure. In other words, they need to be aware that subjects can be accompanied by any number of phrases or clauses: prepositional phrases, relative clauses, appositives, etc. By doing so, writers will have an easier time pinpointing the true subject of the sentence and, in turn, choosing the right verb form. Like we did for complex sentences, work on identifying the subject within the independent clause of a compound sentence. Remember that each clause has to contain its own subject and cannot share the same one. Be mindful that it is easy to overlook the true subject of the sentence when that subject intervenes between the subject and verb. This can be problematic, especially with longer sentences where such intervening phrases can distance the writer from proper subject-verb agreement.

Avoiding Sentence Fragments

A sentence fragment is an incomplete thought. It could be a dependent clause that has been punctuated like a complete sentence or another incomplete thought that is incorrectly punctuated. Sentence fragments often occur because of missing subjects or verbs, poorly punctuated dependent clauses, or because a writer has used a subordinating word with no independent clause. One way to eliminate sentence fragments is to use the list of rules displayed earlier in this guide. Another strategy is to make sure that every sentence you write either has a subject or a main verb. If one of your sentences is missing one of these important elements, you should either add the missing part to complete the sentence or combine it with another sentence that contains the missing piece. Remember that not every rule or guideline will work every time. Even experienced writers sometimes use sentence fragments. The key is to remember that they must be used intentionally and should not be the result of an error or misunderstanding. With practice, it will become easier to recognize when you have created a sentence fragment and to identify how to correctly punctuate or structure your writing. Overall, it is important to always be on the lookout for sentence fragments in your writing so that you can eliminate them and be left with clear, complete sentences that express your thoughts effectively.

Fixing Dangling Modifiers

When you modify a word, you should place your modifier directly before the word it is meant to describe. Words such as “having” or phrases such as “which was” can create what we call a “dangling modifier,” which is a modifier that is modifying the wrong word in a sentence. For example, saying “Having finished my work, the TV was turned on” does not make sense because “having finished my work” is meant to describe “I” and not “the TV.” To fix this sentence, you would write “Having finished my work, I turned on the TV.” You can also change it to “I turned on the TV having finished my work.” This is a common mistake and it is an issue often overlooked by writers, even native English speakers. However, once you realize how to properly use modifying phrases and which words or phrases in a modifier should be placed to the adjacent, it becomes so much easier to avoid creating one. Remembering this and observing this rule, you will have one less problem to worry about when developing your writing skill.

Coordinating Conjunctions and Plural Nouns

The conjunction part is fine, but when it comes to items in a series, simple conjunctions will not work. In these cases, you will need to use a comma with an “and” right before the last item in this series. The reason to use a comma for this purpose is that it will eliminate any chances of confusing the reader as to whether certain items go together to form a single element in the series. In addition, the use of a conjunction between these items will help to improve the connection between them. Many students learn that “fanboys” is a term that is used to refer to the words “for”, “and”, “nor”, “but”, “or”, “yet”, “so”. These are the seven coordinating conjunctions. However, it is not a rule that you have to write a long sentence by using these conjunctions. In fact, many formal documents will frown on the use of long sentences due to the likelihood of creating a run-on sentence. It is also noteworthy that run-on sentences usually originate from simple conjunctions. This could, however, be fixed through the use of a semicolon, which may be a good solution for examples like the second one listed above. These sentences constitute two complete thoughts and as such, the use of the semicolon would be appropriate. For the first example, the two complete thoughts may be connected by a period or separated by a comma and a “fanboys” conjunction. So, just as with any other type of grammatical mistake, always take into account what exactly you would like to convey when it comes to the selection and use of conjunctions. Always favor shorter sentences over longer ones, as shorter sentences are less likely to be a run-on. Also, watch out for the connectors because these words, which often behave like simple conjunctions, are followed by something that should have been an independent clause but turns out to be a dependent one in this sentence. By paying attention to the nature and the desired outcomes of the sentence, you will find it easier to select a suitable conjunction that can best link the ideas you would like to express. And lastly, remember that writing rules are not numbers. They are designed to improve the paper’s readability. So, see and revise your own paper with an open and strategic mind, and you will be surprised by the progress you made!

Proper Usage of Coordinating Conjunctions

Always remember that a comma is needed before a coordinating conjunction when it joins two independent clauses. Unexpectedly, some people often put a comma before a coordinating conjunction in a list. This incorrect use of comma is called “serial comma error”. The serial comma is the comma right before the word “and” in a list. For example, the sentence “I like music, sport, and reading” is correct. Always do not forget to put a comma right before a coordinating conjunction, it is a very typical and crucial mistake that needs to be paid attention to.

– For: used to give a reason – And: used to add information – Nor: used to show a second negative clause – But: used to show contrast – Or: used to show an alternative – Yet: used to show a result – So: used to show a reason or a result.

Coordinating conjunctions connect two independent clauses, and they are often placed between the two clauses. There are seven coordinating conjunctions, and they can be remembered by the word “FANBOYS”: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. Each coordinating conjunction has a specific meaning, so it is important to use them correctly according to the meanings. Here are the meanings of these seven conjunctions:

Understanding Plural Nouns and Their Formation

Plural nouns are the plural forms of nouns and are used to indicate when there is more than one person, place, animal, or thing. In most cases, the plural form of a noun is created simply by adding an “s” to the end of that noun. For example, “dog” becomes “dogs” and “book” becomes “books.” However, there are some instances in which a plural noun does not follow this conventional rule. These include plural nouns that end in “s,” “ss,” “sh,” “ch,” “x,” or “z,” which require the plural form to be created by adding “es” to the end of the noun. For example, “bus” becomes “buses,” “dress” becomes “dresses,” and “box” becomes “boxes.” There are also plural nouns which undergo a spelling change, such as “man” becoming “men” and “woman” becoming “women.” It is important for language learners to familiarize themselves with common plural forms and irregular nouns, such as “child” becoming “children” and “foot” becoming “feet.” Students may find it helpful to use memorization techniques to remember these irregular forms. Incorrectly using plural forms and forgetting to switch a singular noun to its plural form in a sentence is a common mistake amongst English language learners. A trope example of this is seen in the phrase “the dog wag its tail.” This sentence is incorrect because the singular noun “dog” is incorrectly matched with the singular possessive “its.” In order to create a grammatically correct sentence, the singular possessive “its” should be switched to the plural possessive “its” so that the noun and its possessive form match.