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Top 5 common errors in academic writing

Common Writing Errors

While writing an answer, the student has to multi-task; thinking about the content to write and structuring the sentences at the same time. This leads to making some silly mistakes while writing which could cost them many scores in the written exam. So, here is a list of most common writing errors for you to look out for and a achieve higher score;

  1. Wrong punctuation use:

Punctuations (like: semi-colon, comma, full stop, etc.) hold the power of making a sentence impressive yet comprehensive. But using apostrophes incorrectly can lead to changing the meaning of the sentence or making it senseless.

For example:

The lion is playing that man .over there is catching fishes (wrong punctuation makes the sentence senseless)

The correct sentence would be:

The lion is playing. That man over there is catching fishes (correct punctuations)

The correct way to use comma:

Always put a comma after linking words (example: Therefore, furthermore, however, thus, hence, on one hand, moving on, to sum it all up, etc.). Remember to leave no space before the comma and one space after the comma.

For illustration: However, it can also be said……

Also, use full stops mindfully.


2. Incorrect usage of apostrophes:

An apostrophe generally represents possession but it is also used for showing abbreviations. Thus, differentiating among those can be difficult if you don’t know about all the usage of an apostrophe.

For example:

The word He’s represents the abbreviation for “he is” and “he has” both.

While in Let’s the apostrophe s represents “us”

Another very common mistake related to apostrophe is the difference between:

  1. Its and it’s, and

  2. Let’s and lets

Explanation:

  1. ‘Its’ is used to show possession of something possessed by ‘it’

Example: Her ring is gorgeous; its shine is so bright. Here ‘its’ shows that shine that is possessed by the ring

While, ‘it’s’ is the short form of ‘it is’


  1. The word ‘Lets’ can be decoded as Let + does = Lets which can be translated to ‘does allow’

For example: ‘It lets us’ = ‘it allows us’

While, Let’s is an abbreviation for ‘Let us’


  • Using apostrophe to show multiplicity:

Some students use apostrophes to show multiplicity( children’s) because they know that using an ‘s’ with words like women, children, or people is grammatically incorrect. This changes the entire meaning of the sentence they want to write and hence, they lose scores for wrong grammar. Students should avoid making this mistake because words like ‘women’, ‘children’, ‘men’ and ‘people’ are already plural.


3. Subject-verb agreement errors:

We have seen sentences in which the verbs end with an extra‘s’ (like: lets, keeps, walks, runs, etc.) while other sentences have no‘s’ in their verbs. Why does it happen? And is it even correct?

Well, yes it is correct. The reason we find verbs having an extra ‘s’ in the end is:

Verb + s = verb + does

For example: Runs = Run + does Walks = Walk + does

And since ‘does’ is a singular helping verb, verb+s form is only used with singular subjects.

Using verb+s form with a plural subject leads to subject-verb agreement error.

For plural subjects, we use the verb alone ( verb + do = verb, hence, only verb for plural subjects)


4. Skipping words while writing:

While writing a paragraph, we generally think of a complete sentence and we think of the next sentence as we write the first one. And we write with speed in order not to write the next sentence before we forget it. This fast pace leads us to skip a few words along the way. These skipped words can be a preposition, an article, or even a verb. This could leave the sentence incomplete and senseless.

To avoid skipping such words, students should proofread their writing in the end.

Reading the text from end to the beginning (right to left) generally works well for most.


5. Capital letters amidst the sentences:

This mistake is commonly made by everyone. We, sometimes, use capital letters in between the sentences which is grammatically wrong and it costs us scores.

For example: I have a big House by the River Han

Correction: I have a big house by the river Han.



6. Repetition:

In English tests, the students are assessed for their ability to write about the given topic and we are mostly given limited space and number count to write about it. Thus, repeating the same information or using the same words multiple times makes the article/essay less effective and it also consumes space. So, make sure not to repeat any point twice and use synonyms to avoid word repetition.



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