Presentation on theme: "Edited American English: Common Errors. Avoid These Common Mistakes Or risk making your professors feel like this:"— Presentation transcript:
Edited American English: Common Errors
Avoid These Common Mistakes Or risk making your professors feel like this:
#1 Using an apostrophe to make a Noun Plural
Deep Fried Oreos
Wines for Valentines
CDs, DVDs, Games
In informal settings, apostrophes are used to indicate that the structure is missing letters (e.g. contractions) or numbers (years).
Actually, In Academic Writing: Apostrophes should NOT be used to Indicate Missing Letters or Numbers
To make a word plural add -s or -es. Jane Smith and John Smith=The Smiths book=books boss=bosses Use an ‘s to show ownership. John’s book The teacher’s chair To make a word both plural and possessive, make it plural first and then add the -‘s. The Smiths’ car
Something You Might Not Know If the word already ends in an –s, add an ‘s if the new form of the word is pronounced with an extra syllable. Kim Davis=Kim Davis’s car Only add an apostrophe without the -s if the new word does not take on an extra syllable when pronounced. Jenny Burns=Jenny Burns’ car
#2 Using of as a substitution for Have.
‘ve=have Incorrect Correct Could of Could have Should of Should have Would of Would have
#3 Using a semicolon (;) in place of a comma.
Commas separate words and phrases.
Semicolons separate two independent clauses An Independent Clause=a full sentence A Full Sentence=a complete thought
Therefore, semicolons indicate the end of a complete thought and the beginning of another complete thought
Try this one: Give me a cookie; Mom!
Give me a cookie. Give me a cookie is a complete thought
Mom! Mom! is not a complete thought.
Both sides of the semicolon MUST be complete thoughts So, the correct punctuation is a comma: Give me a cookie, Mom!
Semicolons are used for: Joining two independent clauses that are working together-- There is a huge difference between running a full and a half- marathon; it is a difference only marathoners can appreciate. Joining two independent clauses separated by a special conjunction.* The teacher’s assignment was unclear; however, I had to do my best and come up with something. *Special conjunctions=nevertheless, however, moreover, therefore, then, & thus
Remember, a semicolon is not a colon ; : A A Semi-colon Colon separates signals complete an upcoming thoughts definition or list
Why Should I Care?
Because Punctuation Affects Meaning
#4 Ending a Sentence with a Preposition or Linking Verb
Prepositions Prepositions are words in the pre-position of the noun and its modifiers. They show some type of relationship. at, into, on, for, to, of, in, to, with, from, about, beside, beneath, under, over, before, between, within, onto, inside, outside, out of etc.
Pre-Position means they MUST be followed by other words; they cannot END a sentence. Incorrect: They are the group the speech was given to. Correct: They are the group to whom the speech was given.
Linking Verbs Linking Verbs are verbs that link words and phrases to other words and phrases. any form of to be such as: is, are, am, was, were Because they link two parts together, they cannot be the last word of the sentence. Incorrect: The city is the place I want to be. Correct: The city is the place I want to be for life.
Remember: Because prepositions come in the PRE position and linking verbs link two structures together, They should NEVER be found at the end of a sentence.
#5 Forgetting to put a comma before the and when discussing a series of 3 or more items.
Like this: Houston is a large, multicultural, and powerful city.
This comma is known as The Serial Comma or The Oxford Comma
#6 Placing What or How in the middle of a sentence.
These Sentences are Vague The school is communicating what the parents need to know. The school is contemplating how the new system will benefit the students. In both cases, the use of interrogatives in place of nouns leads to a lack of specificity in the writing.
These Sentences are Clear & Specific The school is communicating the information that the parents need to know. The school is contemplating the ways in which the new system will benefit the students.
#7 Using non-parallel structures in the same sentence.
Sentences composed of unlike structures are Non-Parallel She likes to run, to rollerblade, and playing racquetball. “playing” is an –ing verb form, while the other two verbs are infinitive verb forms. Obama is a basketball player, a father, and runs the country. “runs the country” is a verb phrase; the other two structures are noun phrases.
She likes to run, to rollerblade, and to play racquetball. Obama is a basketball player, a father, and the head of this country.
#8 Using the object form of the pronoun in place of the subject form.
NominativeObjectivePossessive IMeMy/Mine You Your/Yours HeHimHis SheHerHer/Hers WeUsOur/Ours TheyThemTheir/Theirs WhoWhomWhose
Nominative vs. Objective Nominative (Subject) Objective (Object) Use when the pronoun Use when the pronoun is doing the action is receiving the action or is the object of a preposition He kicks the ball. Correct! He is the subject. The ball is kicked to him. Correct! Him is the object. Him and I kick the ball. Wrong! He is the subject. Her and me are a lot alike. WRONG! She and I are subjects.
#9 Using a non-matching or unclear pronoun
Pronoun/Antecedent Issue Someone called today; they hung up before leaving a message. Non-matching Someone called today; however, whoever called did not leave a message.
One=Singular but They=Plural Anyone Everyone Someone No One Nobody All of these are singular. They require a singular pronoun.
Colorado legalized marijuana; it has always been horrible. Unclear Colorado legalized marijuana; it has always been a horrible state.
#10 Confusing these words:
Figurative vs. Literal Literal=Actual or Real Figurative=Symbolic
Loose vs. Lose Loose is the opposite Lose is the opposite of tight. It is an adjective. of win. OR it means to misplace something. It is a verb.
Well vs. Good “How are you doing?” Incorrect Answer: “Good.” Correct Answer: “Well” Good is an adjective. Adjectives modify nouns. Well is an adverb. Adverbs modify verbs. Doing is a verb. Do NOT use an adjective to modify it. Also incorrect: He did good! She played good. He sings good.
Further vs. Farther Further is used for Farther is used for metaphorical distance. physical distance. Her ideas will take us The dog chased him farther further than we’ve ever been. than he’s ever run.
Their, They’re, There
Its vs. It’s Then vs. Than It’s = It is Then=Next Its= Possessive Than=Compared to Too, Two, & To Too=Also To=preposition Two=Number
Affect vs. Effect Affect: (verb) to make an impression The bank crisis severely affected the economy. Effect: (noun) a result of some type of change The effects of the bad economy were felt by everyone. Affect: (noun) a person’s outward appearance of mood Even though he had experienced a tragedy, his affect did not seem very sad or distraught. Effect: (verb) to cause a specific change/result Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and others in the Civil Rights Movement worked to effect change in discriminatory laws and behaviors.
Affect vs. Effect
Lie vs. Lay Lie: to be in the prone position Lay: to put something down Billy, lie down. Susie, lay your pencil down. He is lying down. She is laying down her thoughts. He will lie down. She will lay it down. He lay down. She laid it down. He has lain down. She has laid it down.
Remember: Use the correct conjugation of Lie when you are describing a person, place, idea, or object already existing in the prone position. Use the correct conjugation of Lay when you are describing putting a person, object, or idea onto/into something.