Everyone makes mistakes! Here are five common grammatical errors and ways you can fix them. Don’t lose sight of why you write: to clarify your ideas. You do not want your sentences to be confusing or wordy.
#1 Shifting Tenses
This is a common problem. Stick with one tense and double check to make sure you’re being consistent with your verbs.
Incorrect: I went to the movies last night and enjoys the exciting ending.
Correct: I went to the movies last night and enjoyed the exciting ending.
#2 Run-on Sentence
This one is possibly the worst offence, because run-ons are painful to read and are confusing. The longer the run-on, the less clear your ideas will become. To fix this problem, you may have to reconstruct your sentence and delete multiple words. When in doubt, cross out the run-ons and start from scratch!
Incorrect: I went to play basketball with my friends because they were bored and wanted to go outside because we are full of energy so we are busy bodies and always have to be moving around and releasing energy.
Correct: I went to play basketball with my friends because we were bored and wanted to get out of the house. We are an energetic bunch and have to be in motion.
#3 Comma Splice
The dreaded comma splice happens a lot. The comma splice is the incorrect use of a comma to combine two independent clauses aka sentences. For a quick fix, you can just use a semicolon (;). You could also just write two short sentences or combine the two ideas with words like “and” or “because”.
Incorrect: I love my pink sweater, it’s so cute.
Correct: I love my pink sweater. It’s so cute.
Also correct: I love my pink sweater because it’s so cute.
#4 Subject/Verb Disagreement
This common mistake is easy to spot. Usually, the sentence will sound kind of funny. Make sure you use the correct form of the verb for the subject. Also make sure you pay attention to whether the noun is singular or plural! To learn more, google “subject verb agreement” and learn what goes together!
Incorrect: The dogs chases the cat.
Correct: The dogs chase the cat.
Also Correct: The dogs are chasing the cat.
#5 Pronoun Victims
In everyday speech, faulty pronouns are not as noticeable. “It” especially gets thrown out a lot in everyday conversations. Sometimes we use them grammatically correctly and other times we don’t. It happens! When faulty pronouns are used in writing, however, they are more noticeable. To fix this offense, make sure your pronouns are clearly connected.
Incorrect: Take the clothes and hats out of the drawer and then fix it.
Ask yourself: What is “it”? The clothes, the hats or the drawer?
Correct: Take the clothes and hats out before your fix the drawer.
Suggested reading: For a fun read for all ages, check out “Super Grammar” http://www.supergrammar.com/ Available at your local library and bookstore!
Struggling with grammar? Call us at 410-421-8080 to learn about our one-of-a-kind writing program!