When you think “I have to write my paper”, you most likely realize it is no easy job. Nonetheless, it is one of the most important skills that a scholar or a student will have to acquire throughout their academic life. There are many things to consider when writing an essay: the topic of the essay, its structure, the brainstorming and researching part, formulating the arguments, supporting them with good examples and the list can go one.
But one mistake that is often overlooked by students and that can make or break an essay is the grammar. Here is a list of some of the most common grammar mistakes that you want to avoid if you want to look and sound like a pro at writing essays.
Know the Right Noun Form
It might seem obvious, but many people still struggle to distinguish countable from uncountable nouns. You cannot ask someone for informations but information. Uncountable nouns, just like their names say it, are nouns that cannot be counted, are treated as singular, are not used with a definite article (a money VS some money) and use a singular verb.
You should also pay attention to the irregular nouns. Unlike regular nouns (cat-cats), irregular nouns form their plural form differently (man-men). These nouns should be learned by heart.
Watch Out for Spelling Mistakes!
Spelling mistakes are some of the most encountered grammar mistakes. One of the most common examples: your VS you’re. This mistake resulted from a similarity in pronunciation for both words. Nonetheless, they mean two very different things. Another example would be the bussines VS bussiness VS business example, where a letter is doubled, without making a difference in pronunciation.
Using a spell checker program might not be enough, as some of them might be spelled correctly but used incorrectly (Am I write? VS Am I right?).
The Subject-Verb Agreement
Another thing you should pay special attention to is the subject-verb agreement. One of the basic things you are thought about the subject is that it has to agree in number with the verb it determines.
- His two favorite things about studying abroad is language acquisition and job opportunities.
- His two favorite things about studying abroad are language acquisition and job opportunities.
Not Enough Commas
Commas, although small in size, carry tremendous grammar value. They can make a text easy to read and understand when placed correctly, and difficult to impossible to decipher when misplaced.
You want to always check for commas after an introductory phrase. You might not notice, but a comma placed after an introductory phrase can save the reader from a lot of confusion.
- Before she even managed to say something Sally jumped into the water.
- Before she even managed to say something, Sally jumped into the water.
The same mistake can appear inside compound sentences. Here, the comma helps to separate two or more independent clauses, which are connected with the help of a conjunction, inside a compound sentence.
- He was tall and he was handsome and he was always happy.
- He was tall, and he was handsome, and he was always happy.
Too Many Commas
Just like the case where there were not enough commas, there can be instances were too many commas were used. This happens mainly as a result of the fear of missing some. Which results in an excess of commas.
- He can either wait there for one hour, or come back in the morning.
- He can either wait there for one hour or come back in the morning.
The Wrong Word Choice
Just like with checking that the spelling of the word you are using is correct, you want to make sure that the word you are using is correct. There are many instances of such words in English. The wrong word choice can drastically change the meaning of the sentence.
Some of the most commonly confused word pairs are: accept VS except, affect VS effect, altogether VS all together, advice VS advise, adverse VS averse and so on.
In English, when two negative words come together, they form a positive, rather than strengthen the negation. So, you want to make sure to check for such instances.
- He cannot hardly walk.
- He can hardly walk.
Its VS It’s
Another common mistake students make, is misplacing the contracted form of the pronoun it with the verb is or has, it’s, with the third person singular possessive pronoun its.
- Its been a long day.
- It’s (it has) been a long day.
In conclusion, writing an essay is no easy task but with the help of this article, you can now avoid some of the most common grammar mistakes if you want to look like a pro. But if this sounds like too much work for you, you can always ask someone to write my paper.