Keeping grammar mistakes under control can sometimes be to much trouble.
Whoops, we meant “too” of course. That’s how easy it is for something to slip through. So you need to be both vigilant and informed to catch grammar errors.
Don’t worry, it’s not impossible. Here are five common grammar mistakes and how to avoid them.
#1 Overusing Commas
Commas are a key building block of basic grammar, but using too many of them can make your text hard to read.
Commas are where the reader should pause to breathe. Use them to separate ideas, items in a list, or as a way of nesting a clause. Yet if you use them every few words, your writing will become choppy and difficult to follow.
Think of commas as the spice in your sentences. A little can enhance the flavor, but too much will make your reader nauseous.
#2 Misusing Apostrophes
Apostrophes are used to indicate possession or contraction, but misusing them can change the meaning of your sentence.
One tricky customer is the possessive “its”, which doesn’t have an apostrophe, even though it’s tempting to add one. With the proper grammar, “it’s” is a contraction. Otherwise, “its” is the possessive form of “it”. It may not be the dog’s day, but every dog has its day.
#3 Mixing Homophones
Homophones are words that sound the same but have different meanings, such as “they’re” and “their.” Be careful not to mix these up in your writing, or you could change the meaning of what you’re trying to say.
This is one of the most difficult mistakes to avoid because it’s not always a case of lacking the education and know-how. Sometimes these can just slip through. If you proofread your work carefully, you can catch these mistakes before they’re published.
By far one of the most common homophone mix-ups is the misuse of “affect” and “effect”. Check out this resource to keep those scamps in line.
#4 Using Run-On Sentences
Run-on sentences occur when two independent clauses are joined together without proper punctuation. This can make your writing difficult to understand, so use proper punctuation when joining two independent clauses.
As a rule of thumb, the longer you go without using any kind of punctuation, the more likely you are to have a run-on sentence. Try using commas, periods, or (if you’re into some more advanced grammar) a semi-colon to break up your writing.
#5 Mixing Your Tenses
Tense is the form a verb takes to indicate when an action occurs. Mixing tenses within a sentence or paragraph can be confusing for the reader, so it’s vital to stay consistent.
If you’re telling a story, make sure the tense is consistent throughout. If you’re writing about something that happened in the past, don’t switch to present tense partway through. It’s confusing and can jar the reader out of your story.
Avoiding These Common Grammar Mistakes
These grammar mistakes might be common, but they don’t have to be universal. With a little forethought, you can avoid these common grammar mistakes and make your writing shine.
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