Most frequent grammar problems:
1. The Comma Splice
* If only a comma appears between two independent clauses without a
coordinating conjunction, the error is called a comma splice.
Faulty: Salmon swim upstream, they leap over huge dams to reach their destination.
Revised: Salmon swim upstream, and then they leap over huge dams to reach their destination.
* A comma splice also occurs when a comma and a transitional expression join two independent clauses.
Faulty: Some parents support bilingual education, however, many oppose it vociferously.
Revised: Some parents support bilingual education; however, many oppose it vociferously.
2. The Abused Apostrophe
* ·Apostrophes indicate ownership or possession (Fred's books, the government's plan).
* They can also signal omitted letters (who's, can't).
3. Subject-verb Agreement
* When you use the present tense, subject and verb must agree in person and number.
* Two key points about Agreement:
- Generally, you can put an -s on a noun to make it plural,
- or you can put an -s on a verb to make it singular.
An -s on both is not standard English.
My friends comes over every Sunday.
My friend comes over every Sunday.
My friends come over every Sunday.
4. Coordinated & Subordinated Conjunctions
* Conjunctions indicate the relationship between words or groups of words.
* The two classes of conjunctions are coordinate and subordinate.
Coordinate conjunctions - indicate units of equal status (yet, and, but, or, for, so, nor).
Do you want cake or ice cream?
I graduated a semester early, but I had to go to work immediately.
Subordinate conjunctions - indicate that one unit is more important than the other (after, although, as, because, before, if, since, that, unless, until, when, where, while).
After the value of the NASDAQ dropped by over two thirds, some of the new
Dot-com millionaires found out the party was over.
5. Double Negatives
* Avoid using two negatives in one sentence, or you will end up saying the opposite of what you mean.
Faulty: Barely no one noticed that the pop star lip-synched during the whole
Revised: Barely anyone noticed that the pop star lip-synched during the whole
6. Disruptive & Misplaced Modifiers
Be wary of modifiers that sometimes seem to modify two things, or the wrong thing.
* Limiting Modifiers include words such as almost, hardly, even, just, merely, not, only, and simply.
* Limiting modifiers should always go before the word or words they modify in a work
Notice in this example that "just" is used in four places, and in each place it carries a different connotation.
Just twenty new people just volunteered just for the sea turtle rescue program
just for the spring.
More Modifier Models
7. Unclear Antecedents
* The antecedent is the noun that a pronoun refers to. The pronoun and antecedent must be in agreement.
* When pronouns and the nouns they replace are separated by several words, sometimes the agreement in number is lost.
Faulty: The band members collected his and her uniforms.
Revised: The band members collected their uniforms.
8. Preposition Overuse
Prepositions are words used before nouns and pronouns to form phrases
that convey relationships such as of time and space (in the poem,
throughout the day, behind her, without a doubt, for you). Prepositional
phrases are often idiomatic: on occasion, in love.
* Prepositions can pile information onto previous nouns:
The design of the apparatus with the tubing and the electrical wiring was
useful for diagnosis of the transmission of electrical impulses in the nerve
* Fragments are incomplete sentences that are punctuated to look like sentences.
* Fragments lack key elements-often a subject or verb-or else are a subordinate clause or phrase.
* How to turn fragments into sentences:
Incorporate the fragment into an adjoining sentence.
Faulty: She saw him coming. And looked away.
Revised: She saw him coming and looked away.
Add the missing element.
Faulty: When aiming for the highest returns, and also thinking about the
Revised: When aiming for the highest returns, investors also should think
about the possible losses.
* Run-ons jam together two or more sentences, failing to separate them with appropriate punctuation.
* The writer must be careful to determine where one main clause stops and the next begins.
Faulty: I do not recall what kind of printer it was all I remember is that it could
sort, staple, and print a packet at the same time.
Revised: I do not recall what kind of printer it was. All I remember is that it could
Sort, staple, and print a packet at the same time.