5 Common Grammatical Errors Every Writer Should Avoid (with Exercise) - Part 1
After years of formal training and education, people still tend to make the same mistakes while writing as ever. Be it grammar, spelling, parentheses, or syntax: these errors have enough potential to repel your readers from your write-ups.
At times, your sentences might sound fine in your head but it looks messed- up when written down. Mistakes are common when you are still editing your copy, not beyond that stage. Thus, editing and proofreading your write-ups is of paramount importance.
As there are countless grammar rules to follow, sometimes people get confused or completely forget some of the basics of grammar. Thus, we have come up with 5 common grammatical errors that writers should avoid.
Your writing should aim to help your readers find answers to their questions. Try not to confuse and irritate them with your grammatical errors.
Here are the 5 common grammatical errors writers should avoid along with some exercise to help you practice.
1. Subject-Verb Agreement Error.
The subject-verb agreement has always been a source of confusion for grammatical errors. The subject and verb should always agree on numbers. If the subject is singular then the verb has to be singular. On the other hand, if the subject is plural then the verb should also be plural.
Practice Exercise for Subject-Verb Agreement Error.view quiz statistics
2. Sentence Fragments.
Sentence fragments are incomplete sentences along with an incomplete idea. The sentence either lacks a subject or a complete verb or both. Usually, a fragment sentence occurs after a related idea has been expressed in the previous sentence.
A sentence fragment has nothing to do with the length of the sentence. Mostly, whether the idea in the sentence is complete or not is what matters. Try to check if your sentences have one complete idea. Moreover, try not to cramp two ideas together in one sentence with proper conjuncture or punctuation mark.
Practice Exercise for Sentence Fragments.view quiz statistics
3. Misusing the Apostrophe with “Its”.
An “it’s” with an apostrophe is a contraction of “it is” whereas an “its" without the apostrophe is a possession (something belonging to it). If you add or miss the apostrophe when not need, the meaning of the sentence becomes difficult to understand for the readers.
Are you still confused between a contraction and possession?
Then try to replace "it" with it is for a contraction (it's). See, if this makes or add sense to your sentence. If not, then replace "it" with his/her as a possession (its).
Practice Exercise for Misusing the Apostrophe with “Its”.view quiz statistics
4. Vague Pronoun Reference.
While using a pronoun (such as him, her, they, it, this, that, which, etc,), you should be clear about its antecedent to which the pronoun is referring. A vague or ambiguous pronoun can leave your readers confused about to whom or what the pronoun refers to.
If you are using one or more nouns in your sentence then the succeeding pronoun/s should clearly address one of the nouns. Moreover, do not add too many pronouns in one sentence; it will create confusion for the readers.
Practice Exercise for Vague Pronoun Reference.view quiz statistics
5. Misplaced or Dangling Modifier.
When a descriptive phrase, word or clause doesn’t comply with the noun it is intended to describe, then it is called a misplaced or dangling modifier. This error can make a sentence sound ridiculous, confusing, and awkward.
Be careful of your adverb usage. Misplacement of adverbs can drastically change the meaning or connotation of the sentence.
See Pic 5, the first example: here the adverb "sparkly" is placed before the "girl". How can a girl be "sparkly"? In the real sense, the writer wanted to describe the bracelet as sparkly.
Practice Exercise for Misplaced or Dangling Modifier.view quiz statistics
Grammar is the foundation of any language. If the foundation is weak then the building or structure will collapse. If your grammar is weak then you won't be able to properly communicate your ideas and messages to your reader.
Your entire purpose of writing will fail.
Try to work on your grammar and it will reflect in your writings. If you think your grammar is strong yet you are making the mistakes, then focus on editing and proofreading. Always check your rules of grammar when in doubt.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Arnaba Saha