Common Grammar Mistakes

As writers we all make mistakes. We're human, so it's a part of life. Below is a list of ten common grammar mistakes that I have noticed many writers make repeatedly. Use this list as a guide on what not to do. Learn from the mistakes of others.

  1. Missing or incorrect placement of comma after an introductory element/phrase

    A comma should always follow introductory phrases or words.

    Example: Since I woke up late I missed the bus. [Incorrect-no comma is present]

    Example: Since I woke up late, I missed the bus. [Correct]

  2. For a more in-depth explanation, visit my page on independent and dependent clauses. You may also want to review some comma rules.

  3. Vague pronoun reference

    A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun. It should refer clearly to one noun, which precedes the pronoun.

    Example: Take the radio out of the car and fix it. [Incorrect. Does the pronoun "it" refer to the noun "radio" or "car"?]

    Example: Take the radio out of the car and fix the radio. [Correct-Replace the pronoun with a noun if it adds clarity to the sentence]

  4. Wrong word choice

    The English language is full or words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings. These words are called Homonyms and are often used incorrectly when writing.

    Example: Their/there/they're

    Example: To/too/two

    Example: definitely/defiantly

    The misuse of these words are common grammar mistakes. For a full list of words and their meanings, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter.

  5. Comma Splice

    A comma splice is when two independent clauses are joined together with a comma instead of a period or semicolon. Two independent clauses cannot be joined together this way.

    Example: I went to the park, I bought a hot dog. [Incorrect-these are two independent clauses]

    Example: I went to the park. I bought a hot dog. [Correct]

    Example: I went to the part, and I bought a hot dog. [Correct]

    Click here to review, independent and dependent clauses.

  6. Missing or misplaced possessive apostrophe

    Apostrophes are used to show possessiveness. To form the possessive of a singular noun, simply add and apostrophe (') followed by "s". If a noun is not singular, the apostrophe is placed after the "s". Of course there are always exceptions to every rule-those irregular plural words! You treat irregular plural words that do not end with an "s" like regular singular nouns.

    Example: My boyfriends car was towed for being parked overnight at 7 Eleven. [Incorrect]

    Example: My boyfriend's car was towed for being parked overnight at 7 Eleven. [Correct]

    Example: My parent's excitement when I told them I was promoted was unexpected. [Incorrect]

    Example: My parents' excitement when I told them I was promoted was unexpected. [Correct]

    Example: The mens' locker room was empty. [Incorrect]

    Example: The men's locker room was empty. [Correct]

    Above is the first five common grammar mistakes. For the next five grammar mistakes, click here.



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