Don’t Get Caught Making These Grammar Mistakes

No matter what you’re writing about or who you’re writing to, you should always be using correct grammar. Use the tips below to elevate your writing & catch those small mistakes!

1. Verb tense shift

A common grammar mistake is the random shift of verb tenses in the same sentence. Be sure to use the same verb tense throughout your writing to avoid confusing the audience. Think about whether you need to be writing in past or present tense.

Incorrect: She waves at me and then I waved back and smiled.

Correct: She waved at me and then I waved back and smiled.

2. Comma Splice

A comma splice is basically using a comma when you don’t need one. If you are joining two independent sentences using a comma, stop and think again. Chances are, you should be using a conjunction or a period.

Incorrect: She ate a lot of candy, her stomach was aching.

Correct: She ate a lot of candy. Her stomach was aching.

Correct: She ate a lot of candy, so her stomach was aching.

3. Run-on sentences

A run-on sentence is when you join two complete sentences together without any coordinating conjunction or punctuation. If you ever notice you’ve been writing a sentence for 2 or 3 lines, consider if it’s a run-on sentence and can be broken into two shorter sentences.

Incorrect: Her colleague brought chocolate chip cookies to the office however she is on a diet.

Correct: Her colleague brought chocolate chip cookies to the office. However, she is on a diet.  

4. Excessive use of passive voice

Even though the use of passive voice is often taught in English classes and it is not grammatically incorrect, it can over complicate your writing and make it difficult for your readers to understand. Use active voice – it is simpler, and actually beneficial for personal pieces of writing, such as your letter of interest to a college!

Incorrect: Those postcards were collected by my father during his trip last summer.

Correct: My father collected those postcards during his trip last summer. 

These are just a few tips you should keep in mind to improve your writing. We may be unable to go into much detail in these blog posts, but remember, one of our writing tutors can help you work through these challenges and enhance your writing quality!

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