Top 10 Common Grammar Mistakes Writers Should Avoid in 2020

Common grammar mistakes are one of the things that people keep on committing even after years of learning. Since the human brain has limited learning capacity, it’s understandable that mistakes happen. Well, that is also the case with writing. 

common grammar mistakes

Writing may look easy to some; however, in reality, it’s complicated. With all the rules in grammar, perfecting your article is somehow difficult. You may read the Grammarly Review to learn more about to write efficiently. Also, we compiled the most common grammar mistakes and how you can avoid them. You will need this if you want to make writing a career and start your own blog.

In case you want to improve your writing, you may also check out our tips from our webpage, 501words.net. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at how you can refrain from making the same error on your writing. 

Common Grammar Mistakes to Avoid

We all know how difficult grammar rules are, especially to beginners. It’s confusing because of the general rules and the exception to such rules. While there are many proofreading tools out there like Grammarly and Pro Writing Aid that can help you correct your errors, it still helps to know the basics. It will also help you write faster. So, what are the common grammar mistakes that you should avoid?

Incorrect Use of Subject – Verb

confused on the subject-verb

Although Subject-Verb agreement is an elementary subject, it is too complicated. There are different general rules and specific rules, some of these have exceptions. So, it’s understandable that this can be overlooked while writing. Nevertheless, it is important to avoid silly writing mistakes.

However, it is important to make sure that your verb agrees with your subject.  The general rule is that a singular subject takes a singular verb. And you might be confused because a singular subject doesn’t have ‘s’ but a singular verb does. For instance, a pencil is a singular noun while ‘writes’ is a singular verb.

So, just keep in mind that whenever your common noun doesn’t have an ‘s’ with it, your verb should have. Note, however, that there are exceptions to this rule such as a proper noun with an s-ending (i.e. Mathematics).

If you’re unsure of the correct subject-verb agreement, you can search for the rules on the internet. There are many sites that offer a comprehensive and brief guide for the proper S-V agreement.

Understanding your subject-verb agreement at least puts you a step closer to writing content like a pro, and perhaps could allow you to start your own blog and hopefully monetize it and earn up to 6 figures a month from writing. Oh yes, this is possible!

Inconsistent Use of Verb Tenses

Another common mistake committed by writers is the verb tenses. Verb tense consistency is important so as not to let your readers get confused with your narrations. You might not want to tell a story with a present and past tense in one sentence.

For example, the sentence “he went to the sea and eat lunch in the seashore yesterday”. The word ‘went’ is in the past tense and your sentence pertains to what happened in the past. So, the verb ‘eat’ should be consistent with the sentence.  

Tenses will make your readers know if you’re describing past, present, or future events. Not using the right one will result in a misunderstanding between your true intention and meaning.

Furthermore, it will help in setting the clarity of your message. So, the next time you write, make sure that you address this issue.  Below are the basic tenses of a verb that you have to note while you are writing.

action words
  • Present Tenses 
  • Past Tenses
  • Future Tenses

These three basic tenses are further divided into four aspects: simple, progressive, perfect, and perfect progressive. These should also be used accordingly for it may affect the import of your text.

Overuse of Pronouns

Pronouns are words used in place of a noun. This is utilized so as not to overcrowd your write-ups with nouns. So, instead of using names, you can replace them with words like ‘she, he, it, we, you, they, and them.’

However, you should use them wisely in your article. Using too many pronouns in one sentence can cause confusion with your readers.

Furthermore, you should be clear with who are you pertaining to when you include pronouns in your sentence. Readers might be confused if you just suddenly add ‘him or her’ without any reference.

pronouns indication

Types of Pronouns

  1. Personal pronouns – he, she, I, you, them, they
  2. Possessive pronouns – her, him, your, their, our
  3. Absolute possessive pronouns – mine, hers, theirs
  4. Relative pronouns – which, whom, whose, whichever
  5. Reflexive pronouns -herself, himself, yourself, itself
  6. Indefinite pronouns – few, everyone, all, some, anyone, somebody
  7. Demonstrative pronouns – those, that, this, such
  8. Interrogative pronouns – Who, What, When, Where, When

Improper usage of punctuation

There are different punctuations that you can use. These are useful to convey proper emotions or feelings. So, if you used it improperly, your message might not be as effective as it should be.

Moreover, some types of sentences require the right punctuation to convey a message. For instance, interrogative sentences need a question mark. Absence of which would make it only a statement/declarative sentence. 

Consequently, you should also observe the proper use of punctuations within quotations. Oftentimes, writers put period or comma after the quotation mark. However, the right thing to do is to put it inside. So, revisit your write-ups and check if you commit silly writing mistakes.

punctuations

Punctuations for different sentences

  • Declarative/Statement – period (.)
  • Interrogative/Question – question mark (?)
  • Imperative/Command – period (.) or exclamation point (!)
  • Exclamatory/Exclamation – exclamation point (!)

Run-on Sentences

Writers are also fond of using run-on sentences. These are sentences that contain two or more independent clauses but are not properly separated by a period, semicolon or conjunction.

Generally, a sentence should contain only one independent clause. This is enough to deliver a message to your reader. Having concise and straight to the point sentences are good practice for a writer. 

However, sometimes, you have to vary your sentence structure. Therefore, it’s also recommendable to use sentences with two independent clauses.

The trick, however, is to use punctuation marks or conjunction. So, don’t forget! If you’re going to write two independent clauses, insert punctuation or any conjunctive words. 

Use of ‘your’ and ‘you’re’

Most of the time, we overlook the simplest thing while writing. And one example of which is the word ‘your’ and ‘you’re’. These two words have different usage but some used it interchangeably.

“Your” is used to describe something belonging to oneself. For instance, you have a bag, it’s ‘your bag’ then. 

Meanwhile, you’re is a contraction of two different words: you and are. The apostrophe separates the two.

The best way to know when to use it is when you can replace the word with ‘you are’ instead of ‘you’re’. If not, then ‘your’ is the right choice.

Wrong usage of semicolons

Semicolons (;) are powerful when used properly. It can make your sentences look natural and professional. 

Usually, semicolons are used to link two independent clauses that have related thoughts. And when two clauses are joined together with this punctuation mark, they are considered equally important. You can also use semicolon for a list or series with commas in between items.

So, when should you avoid semicolons? It’s unnecessary to use one when a comma can satisfy the sentence. For example, the sentence:

semicolon
	Since it is on Monday; I will go to the park.

The use of a semicolon in the above sentence is not proper. A comma is already sufficient to sustain your message. 

Writing tools would help you check such mistakes; you could add Grammarly to your Word if you want an easier time. Don’t worry, you can easily uninstall Grammarly if you feel like it. Besides, it would still help greatly if you can check mistakes yourself. What if you are writing free-hand?

Misplaced Apostrophes

The apostrophe (‘) is a punctuation mark widely used in the English alphabet. It has several functions so it might be confusing to some. However, if you know when to use it, it would be easy for you. An apostrophe is used:

  • To indicate contraction
  • To mark possessive nouns

Indicate contraction

do & don't

Included in this group are words like don’t, doesn’t, won’t, and shouldn’t. An apostrophe is used here to combine two words.

For instance, don’t is a contracted form of do + not. Observe that the apostrophe was put in place of the letter that has been removed. In this case, ‘o’ was replaced with an apostrophe. This is the proper way to use it, not don’t or d’ont. 

Possessive nouns

It can also be used to indicate that something belongs to a person/more than one person. In the case of a singular noun, an apostrophe is placed before the ‘s’ letter.

Meanwhile, if the noun is plural, it’s after the ‘s’ letter. For example, the boy’s hat means that a boy owns a hat. As compared to the boys’ hats which indicates that there are several boys who own a hat. 

Wrong Usage of i.e. and e.g.

If you have seen i.e. or e.g. in a sentence, you’re probably wondering what these are. Actually, these two are Latin abbreviations: i.e. stands for id est and e.g. means exempla gratia. Translated in English, i.e. means in other words and e.g. refers to for example.

Having said this, these two should be used in a different context. And it is still a puzzle how writers use these interchangeably or in a wrong manner.

When to use e.g.

The abbreviation e.g. is utilized when you want to provide a listing as an example of the word. You can use it in case you want to introduce examples. Take a look at the sentence below.

  • I love eating in fast food chains (e.g. Jollibee, McDonald’s, Wendy’s). 
  • There are different countries in Southeast Asia (e.g. Philippines, Vietnam) that produce rice. 

When to use i.e.

i love eating

For the proper usage of i.e., just associate it with the phrase ‘in other words.’ It is used when you want to specify the thing/s you’ve mentioned previously. For example:

  • I love eating in a fast-food chain (i.e. McDonalds)
  • I would love to export rice in Southeast Asia (i.e. The Philippines or Vietnam).

If you compare the sentences from e.g. and i.e., e.g. connotes examples while i.e. refers to specifications. So, whenever you want to incorporate these two in your article, check out first if you’re using it properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most common grammar mistakes?

The most common grammar mistakes would be subject-verb disagreement, verb tenses, pronoun-antecedent disagreement, mixed-up words (i.e. your and you’re), run-on sentences (missing punctuation between independent clauses), and many more that you can find in the article common grammar mistakes.

How to spot common grammar mistakes?

Spotting grammar mistakes on your own may be tough. You will need fresh eyes to do this. It is, therefore, best to have someone read your articles. If you don’t have anyone to help you out, then try using proofreading tools, like you can add Grammarly to your MS Word.

How to avoid common grammar mistakes?

While you are writing your article, whether you are already writing like a pro or someone who is just beginning a blog, it would be unavoidable that you may commit mistakes. No one is perfect. However, proofreading your work is the best way to avoid grammar mistakes. The only problem here is, how do you proofread your work if you are not familiar with basic rules in grammar? Hence, the best way to avoid grammar mistakes is to make sure you are familiar with basic grammar rules.

Conclusion

“Practice makes perfect.” This also holds true for writing. So, while you’re starting to get into writing, make sure that you already know these common grammar mistakes. In this manner, you will save yourself from negative feedback from your readers.

If this article helps you, kindly leave us a message at the comment box below. You may also drop us your questions or queries. We will make sure to get back to you the soonest time possible. 

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