Grammar mistakes...we have all made them at one time or another-and for the most part when you make them while writing informally no one will ever hold them or count them against you, that is, unless you are a student. Unfortunately, all too often students make grammatical mistakes that can cost them points on the essay papers they write. When they will cost a student the most is when they are made on a college application or a scholarship essay because making them can really effect whether you are accepted or declined. Now... having a few grammatical mistakes in your essay can easily be overlooked but it when a student continually makes the same errors the reader starts to question your competency and knowledge in your ability to skillfully apply grammar rules to your writing; which by the way.... you should have learned in elementary school!
There are, however, a few common grammatical errors students seem to make when they are writing their papers. Learning what these common errors are can help you avoid making the same mistakes over and over again. Take a look at the most typical ones below and see if you can recognize any of the ones you make yourself. In reviewing the following errors perhaps next time you sit down to write your essay paper you will remember the rule and avoid making mistakes that can count against you.
- Incorrect Noun-verb agreement- In every sentence the noun and verb must agree in number-singular noun and singular verb/plural noun with plural verb- sounds easy but this is a very common mistake.
- Endings on past tense verbs- one of the most common errors that occurs without thinking- always use the ed ending when talking in the past tense.
- Apostrophe error- apostrophes are used in two instances- contractions and possession-misuse of apostrophes has become a common place in today's writing.
- Misuse of commas-commas are used as a pause before the rest of a sentence or when listing items. A very common error is forgetting the comma with lists-for instance: the apple, orange, and pear. Commas are typically forgotten after the second item before the and. They are also occasionally misused as a period and instead of a semi colon-where the second half of a sentence can stand on its own.
- Spelling errors- some of the common ones are there/their, two, too and to, then/than, it's/its, lose/loose, your/you're, affect/effect.
- Run on sentences- sentences that have too many main clauses that go on and on without any punctuation-this error tends to occur when writing quickly and the writer is not clear about what they are trying to convey.
Certainly everyone could benefit from a 'fresh pair of eyes' to proofreader their paper, but when that isn't possible you still can hand in a grammatically correct paper. Simply review the rules above prior to writing your paper and to ensure your success, you just might want to keep the list handy while you are writing.