The routine of writing academic papers cannot be compared with the monotonous work of checking for common writing mistakes. Instructors get frustrated when thinking about correcting mistakes. The grammar level one has reflects one’s writing abilities and creative powers. We are going to speak about popular errors we can see not only in academic writing, but also newspapers, advertisements, journals, blogs, and other popular reading sources. Let’s start with the most common errors in English to avoid them in the future and not to be branded a noob.
Common Writing Mistakes Explained
- WHO or WHICH?
We use “who” when speaking about some people; “which” refers to animals and things only.
“The man who was always an early bird.”
- Empty adverbs.
Do not use these types of adverbs in your writing: incredibly, unfortunately, actually, hopefully, completely, really, etc. They do not add any meaning and do not support arguments.
- THERE, THEIR and THEY’RE
Millions of articles and rules were written to explain these words in order to show the significant difference between them. Just to remember:
They’re is a contraction form of “they are”.
Their is a possessive pronoun form of “they”.
There is an empty word to begin a sentence, or a word used to specify a place.
- Confusion of words like:
affect – effect
site – sight
farther – further
lay – lie
lose – loose
two – too – to
weather – whether
- The ellipse. These THREE consecutive dots mean a pause in an idea, or an omission of words. They are not just random symbols, therefore be attentive while using them in writing.
- The apostrophe. Two primary reasons to use this mark are:
1. To show a contraction – can’t instead of can not
2. To show possession – Peter’s book.
- Run-on sentences. Sentences connected with coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, yet, nor, so, or) can be separate sentences on their own. Before inserting the comma before a conjunction, make sure both sentences are independent.
- Capitalize “I”, names of languages, some nouns and national adjectives. The most common writing mistakes appear in the following examples:
Names of nations, national adjectives and nouns – English, Spain, Canadian, etc.
The first words of new sentences – He likes skiing.
Capitalize proper names of festivals, holidays, institutions, etc. – “I study at an university. My friend goes to the University of Arizona. “
- Texting and slang language.
One of the most common errors in English among young learners is the use of slang words and texting abbreviations. Idiomatic words and phrases can lead to many mistakes which are undesirable in academic writing. Leave this style of communication for blog posts and Facebook comments.
We’ve presented the most widespread mistakes in writing among college and university students. They are found practically in all types of academic papers, no matter what the topic and academic level is.
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