Presentation on theme: "On the Write Track Twenty Common Errors and Ways to Correct Them: A Guide to Better Writing."— Presentation transcript:
On the Write Track Twenty Common Errors and Ways to Correct Them: A Guide to Better Writing
1. Fragments are incomplete thoughts. Sentences must be complete thoughts. X My parents are strict. Like when they wont let me stay out late. My parents are strict; they wont let me stay out late. X The school has many rules. For example not chewing gum. The school has many rules. For example, chewing gum is not allowed. X We went to the mall. But didnt see the movie. We went to the mall but didnt see the movie.
2. Run-ons = two sentences run together e.g. The current was swift he could not swim. The current was swift. He could not swim. The current was swift, and he could not swim. The current was swift; he could not swim.
3. Comma splices are two sentences spliced (joined) with a comma. e.g. I like her very much, she has a sense of humor. Correct comma splices the way you would a run-on. I like her very much. She has a sense of humor. I like her very much, and she has a sense of humor. I like her very much; she has a sense of humor.
4. Commas should precede coordinating conjunctions when joining sentences. Use a comma before the words and, or, but, nor, for, yet, or so when these words join two independent clauses (sentences). Remember the acronym fanboys. e.g. He wanted to work, but no job was available. No comma is used when joining a dependent clause or phrase. e.g. He wanted to work if he could find a job. e.g. He wanted to work but couldnt find a job.
5. Commas should be used correctly when joining independent and dependent clauses containing a subordinating conjunction. When the dependent clause comes first, a comma should be used. e.g. Because the roads were icy, school was closed. A comma is not necessary when the dependent clause follows. e.g. School was closed because the roads were icy.
Common Subordinating Conjunctions afterin order thatuntil althoughoncewhen assincewhenever as ifso thatwhere becausethanwhereas beforethatwherever even thoughthoughwhile ifunless
6. Sentences connected by a conjunctive adverb must be separated by a semicolon or period, not just a comma. X John flunked math, therefore he didnt graduate. John flunked math; therefore, he didnt graduate. John flunked math. Therefore, he didnt graduate. Conjunctive adverbs work best at the front of a sentence. X John flunked math. He did, however, graduate. John flunked math. However, he did graduate.
7. Subjects and verbs must agree in number. X One of my goals have been to go to law school. One of my goals has been to go to law school. X Neither of the children like spinach. Neither of the children likes spinach. X The passenger, along with the driver, were injured. The passenger, along with the driver, was injured. X Heres the keys you wanted. Here are the keys you wanted.
8. Pronouns and their antecedents must agree in gender and number. Pronoun references should be clear, not vague. X Someone forgot their keys. Someone forgot his or her keys. X Every student should have their textbook. Every student should have his or her textbook. All students should have their textbooks. X Jane looked at her mother as she opened the gift. Opening the gift, Jane looked at her mother. Jane looked at her mother opening the gift.
9. Do not shift or change the tenses of verbs. Choose a tense and stay with it. X She works hard but made little money. She works hard but makes little money. She worked hard but made little money. Write formal essays about literature in the present tense. e.g. Shakespeare characterizes Hamlet as a man of indecision. He cannot decide whether to be or not to be.
10. Do not use the 2 nd person pronoun you in formal writing. X Good writers make you want to read more. Good writers make one want to read more. X TV commercials try to make you buy products. TV commercials try to make viewers buy products.
11. Avoid using passive voice verbs. The subject of the sentence should do the verbing. Passive voice verbs are weak and can obscure responsibility. e.g. Mistakes were made. Slaves were brought to America. passive: The ball was hit by Sally. active: Sally hit the ball. Writing is better when it contains active, strong, and precise verbs. Avoid the verb seems.
12. Avoid there are, there is, and it is. Let the subject of the verb precede it. X There are many students in the room. Many students are in the room. X It is difficult to understand the theme of the story. Understanding the theme of the story is difficult. It is OK to say, for example, Its raining.
13. Avoid using this, that, these, and those as nouns. Try to use them as adjectives followed by nouns. Rarely should a sentence begin with this, that, or it. X I lost five dollars. That really made me mad. Losing five dollars really made me mad. I lost five dollars. That loss really made me mad. X That was the worst movie I have ever seen. That movie was the worst I have ever seen. I dont like that kind of movie.
14. Avoid these expressions: is where, is how, is when, is because, and is why. Especially avoid the reason… is because… X Elsinore castle is where Hamlet lives. Elsinore castle is the place where Hamlet lives. X Picking the right numbers is how to win the lottery. Picking the right numbers is the way to win the lottery. X A touchdown is when the ball crosses the goal line. A touchdown occurs when the ball crosses the goal line. X The reason I like to ski is because its a challenge. I like to ski because skiing is a challenge.
15. Avoid misplaced, dangling, or appended participial phrases. X Rising over the hill, the men saw the bright red sun. The men saw the bright red sun rising over the hill. X He fell down the steps, breaking his leg. Falling down the steps, he broke his leg. He fell down the steps and broke his leg.
16. Avoid thesaurus goofsuse the proper meaning of a word. Check spelling. X In winter we should wear tepid clothes. How does sunlight effect/affect plants? Will you lend/loan me a dollar? I love you since/because you are kind. She is taller then/than her brother. Misspelled words may show laziness or carelessness. definate/definiteseperate/separate posses/possessesalot/a lot alright/all rightcan not/cannot
17.Use the correct word. it/itsthere/theirto/two/too Its shows possession, e.g. The cat licked its fur. Its is a contraction meaning it is. e.g. Its raining. There is an adverb. e.g. Lets go there after lunch. Their shows possession. e.g. Lets go to their house. To is a preposition. e.g. Lets go to the movie. Two tells how many. e.g. Lets see two movies. Too means very or also. e.g. That cake is too sweet. Lets invite her too. Everyday is an adjective; every day is an adjective + noun.
18. Use apostrophes, semicolons, and colons correctly. An apostrophe () shows possession. e.g. Johns coat is on the chair. That coat is Johns. e.g. The coachs advice helped the team win the game. A semicolon (;) joins two independent clauses. e.g. The bus will leave soon; students should be ready. A colon (:) introduces a list or replaces namely in an explanation or example. Never use a colon after a verb. X The seasons of the year are: winter, spring, summer, and fall. The year has four seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall.
19. Use commas after an introductory word, expression, or phrase. Frankly my dear, I dont give a damn! To win the game, we needed luck. Gradually, he climbed the mountain. In fact, only you can decide. Frustrated, he quit the team. Trying his best to understand, John read slowly. X While we were eating the dog began to bark. X Two years before the peace treaty had been signed.
20. Use quotes around the titles of articles, short stories, songs, and poems; use italics or underline for magazines, newspapers, movies, books, novels, record albums, or plays. The Raven poemMacbeth play Eveline short storyRebecca novel Teen Drug Use articleNewsweek When Doves Cry songmagazine Purple Rain album
Be concise and direct in writing. X The reason that we are meeting is that we need to consider revising the constitution. We are meeting to consider revising the constitution. Dont be redundant. X He didnt return the book back to the library. X As a rule, the hero usually triumphs over the villain. X Prepay before pumping gas.