TutaPoint Online Education Blog
Posted By Ryan Duques
We’ve all seen those hilarious Internet memes featuring headlines made cringe-worthy by the simple omission of a letter or two. Surely most of us know how to clean up our writing enough to avoid a failure of that magnitude.
But what about those sneaky, less easily-spotted grammatical errors? How can students and writers avoid making those mistakes?
“It’s like eating healthy; you can’t change overnight. You have to slowly add new things in, use them until they become natural, then start to add something new, and then repeat the process over and over again,” she says.
Below are Brooke’s top tips for avoiding the most common—and the peskiest—grammar mistakes.
Paper Beats Computer Screen
“The first thing I tell my students is to print out their paper and have a red pen ready when they’re about to edit their essay.”
“You have to read your paper out loud to yourself. It’s amazing how smooth and connected your writing will sound when you read it on your computer and in your head. Also, you’re more likely to add in articles (a, an, and the) without even noticing they’re missing from your paper” when you read what you’ve written in your head.
“The rule is to keep the same tense in one sentence! If you start with past tense, all of your verbs in one sentence have to be in the past tense. A lot of students will mix and match, and that’s a no-no.”
Look for the Appositive
“An appositive is a noun or pronoun—often with modifiers—set beside another noun or pronoun to explain or identify it. For example, ‘Bill, my brother, is a very intelligent boy.’ The ‘my brother’ part is called the appositive because it’s added into the sentence to give more information about Bill (the appositive must be between two commas). The trick to making sure you use this correctly is if you can remove the appositive and you still have a complete sentence, then you are using it correctly. So in this case, ‘Bill is a very intelligent boy’ is still a complete sentence. This is a great way to check if you are using appositives correctly.”