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10 Common Grammar Mistakes to Avoid in Your Writing

Updated: Jul 20, 2023


common grammar mistakes and how to avoid them by grammarly

Good writing skills are crucial for effective communication, whether you're crafting a professional email, a blog post, or an academic paper. However, even the most experienced writers can make grammar mistakes that can undermine the impact of their message. In this blog post, we'll highlight ten common grammar mistakes and provide tips on how to avoid them.

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Contents

  1. Subject-verb agreement

  2. Misplaced apostrophes

  3. Run-on sentences

  4. Comma splices

  5. Lack of parallelism

  6. Incorrect pronoun usage

  7. Dangling modifiers

  8. Confused homophones

  9. Incorrect capitalization

  10. Lack of consistency

1. Subject-Verb Agreement

One of the most common grammar errors occurs when the subject and verb in a sentence don't agree in number. Always ensure that a singular subject is paired with a singular verb and a plural subject with a plural verb. For example, "The team is working" (not "The team are working").


2. Misplaced Apostrophes

Apostrophes are often misused, especially when indicating possession or forming contractions. Remember that apostrophes should never be used to make a word plural. For instance, it's "The book belongs to Sarah" (not "The book belongs to Sarah's").


3. Run-on Sentences

Run-on sentences can make your writing confusing and difficult to follow. To avoid this mistake, ensure that each sentence expresses a complete thought. If necessary, use appropriate punctuation, such as periods or commas, to separate ideas.


4. Comma Splices

A comma splice occurs when two independent clauses are joined by a comma alone. To fix this error, use a coordinating conjunction (e.g., and, but, or) or separate the clauses into two distinct sentences.


5. Lack of Parallelism

Parallelism refers to using consistent grammatical structures within a sentence or a list. Ensure that items in a series or parallel elements share the same grammatical form. For instance, "She enjoys running, swimming, and hiking" (not "She enjoys running, to swim, and hiking").


6. Pronoun Usage

Using pronouns incorrectly can lead to confusion. Pay attention to pronoun antecedent agreement and make sure that pronouns match the gender and number of the nouns they replace. For example, "Everyone should bring their own books" (not "Everyone should bring his or her own books").


7. Dangling Modifiers

Dangling modifiers occur when the word or phrase being modified is not clearly stated in the sentence. To correct this mistake, ensure that the modifier is placed next to the word it is modifying. For instance, "After studying hard, the test was aced" can be revised to "After studying hard, she aced the test."


8. Confusing Homophones

Homophones are words that sound alike but have different meanings and spellings. Common examples include "their/they're/there" and "your/you're." Take extra care to use the correct homophone in your writing to avoid confusion.


9. Incorrect Capitalization

Improper capitalization can make your writing appear unprofessional. Remember to capitalize proper nouns, the first word of a sentence, and titles. Avoid excessive capitalization unless it is warranted.


10. Lack of Consistency

Consistency is key in maintaining a polished and professional writing style. Pay attention to consistent verb tenses, punctuation styles, and formatting throughout your document. Inconsistencies can distract readers and undermine your credibility.


Conclusion

By avoiding these common grammar mistakes, you can significantly improve the quality and impact of your writing. However, even the most vigilant writers can benefit from professional editing and proofreading.

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