Top Ten Common Grammar Mistakes


For the list of the first five common grammar mistakes, click here.

Remember everyone makes mistakes. I hope that by providing you with this list of common grammar mistakes, that you will avoid making the same mistakes in your writing.

6. Unnecessary tense shift

Whenever you are writing or speaking, it is important to keep the tense consistent. If you are referring to an event in the past, you use past tense. If you are referring to an event in the future, you use future tense, etc. If you switch back and forth inappropriately, it can cause confusion to your readers. Always be consistent.

Example: Yesterday Sara went ice skating up the hill, and she slips and falls. [Incorrect- The sentence starts in the past tense (yesterday) but inappropriately shifts to the present tense. It is obvious that she slipped and fell yesterday.]

Example: Yesterday Sara went ice skating up the hill, and she slipped and fell.

7. Sentence fragments

Sentence fragments are probably one of the most common grammar mistakes I have seen. They are not complete sentences and do not express a complete thought. They are usually pieces of information that have disconnected from the main clause. Don't worry they are easy to fix. See the examples below.

Example: Since I went to the gym late.

[This sentence is a fragment because it does not express a complete thought. It is an introductory phrase, also known as a dependent clause. I cover dependent clauses on my independent and dependent clauses page.]

To fix a fragment, simply remove the period and complete the thought.

Example: Since I went to the gym late, all of the treadmills were occupied.

For a more in-depth lesson on sentence fragments, click here.

8. Lack of subject-verb agreement

Many people are confused when it comes to subject-verb agreement. A simple way to understand this grammar concept is to note that singluar subjects take a singluar verb, and plural subjects take a plural verb.

That sounds easy enough right?

The part that confuses most is determining if the subject is singular or plural and applying the correct verb (which is also singluar of verb).

Example: She writes. NOT She write.

In the above example writes is singular.

Example: They write. NOT They writes.

In the above example write is plural.

You see how these can be tricky? For a better understanding, click here to learn more about subject-verb agreements.

9. Fused sentence (run-on sentence)

Now, we have all written a run-on sentence. You know those sentences that never seem to stop? What you probably haven't realized is that the length of the sentence does not determine if it is a fused sentence.

Example: I ate an apple it was good.

The above sentence is a fused sentence, and it is only 7 words! Don't judge a fused sentence by its length.

A fused/run-on sentence is basically two sentences that express a complete thought joined together without the proper puncuation.

See the examples below on how to fix fused sentences.

Example: I ate an apple. It was good.

Example: I ate an apple, and it was good.

To learn more about fused sentences and how to fix them, click here to go to my grammar lessons page.

10. Went vs Gone

These two words are often confused. Take a look at the examples below.

Example: I should have went to the store yesterday. [Incorrect]

The above sentence should have the the verb should + have + past participle.

Example: I should have gone to the store yesterday. [Correct]

Well there you have it. The above is a list of the most common grammar mistakes that I have seen writers make.

What grammar mistakes annoy you the most? E-mail me and I will add them to the list. Now that you have the top ten most common grammar mistakes, make sure you don't make these same mistakes!

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