Monday, August 23, 2004

Common Writing Mistakes


This is a sentence fragment, meaning it is missing either a subject, verb, or possibly a direct object. If you read this sentence aloud it will not make sense because it is incomplete.


This is a case where you have put more than one sentence into a one-sentence framework. Can you see how this could have been made into more than one sentence?

Awkward or dense writing.

This writing comes across as something confusing and unclear to the reader. How could you have written this in a fashion more clear to the reader?


A good dictionary is recommended and close proofreading.

Long paragraph.

This paragraph goes on longer than it should and has become unwieldy to the reader. How could you break this paragraph up into smaller paragraph units that would make the writing flow better?

Be specific.

Avoid generalities that do not specifically name or refer to your subject.

Incorrect format.

Please check the manuscript format sheet you were give to get your manuscript to the required specification.

Incorrect tense.

Watch your tenses (past, present, future) and make sure they are correct and consistent.


Possessive case is reflected by the appropriate apostrophe. Plural form does not use the apostrophe.


An essay or article should be in quotes. Book titles are underlined.

Indent. Always indent your paragraphs.

Misplaced comma.

Can you think where this comma may have gone to make the sentence better?

Quotation marks incorrect.

Check your Hacker book for the precise way to use quotes.

It's vs. Its.

It's always only stands for "it is." Its is always the possessive case.

Subject/Verb disagreement.

Check the subject then your verb to see why they do not agree.

Avoid beginning a sentence with the indefinite pronoun it.


Not an accurate paraphrase.

The meaning is different in your text from the author's meaning in the original text. Are you sure your properly understood the original text and its precise meaning? Many times a variety of source material is needed to understand difficult-to-understand writing.


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