Lesson Sixteen

common mistakes


Here is a list of some of the most common writing mistakes:

1. Incorrect or inconsistent verb tenses. The paragraph started in the past tense and then in middle of, suddenly shifted to the present continuous tense. Of course, it is necessary to use more than one verb tense in some cases, but if you are telling a story about something that happened in the past, stick with the past tense. Don’t use the present continuous tense unless you are directly quoting someone. If you have trouble recognizing verb tenses, the first four levels on this website (Blue, Red, Yellow, and Green) can help you.

2. Incomplete sentences and fragments. Do you know when a sentence is complete? Does it have a subject and a verb, or is it just a very long phrase? Or is it a dependent clause without the main clause? If you are not sure about the formation of a sentence, go to the Orange Level.

3. Run-on sentences. These are sentences that are too long. The writer should have ended the sentence, but instead chose to keep going. There’s nothing wrong with a short sentence. In fact, a short sentence or question can be very effective when communicating an idea.

4. Misplaced modifiers. These are adjectives, phrases, or clauses that are in the wrong part of the sentence. Misplaced modifiers result in illogical or awkward sentences.

5. Spelling errors. Try not to worry about spelling errors. Good spelling is important because it shows you have some mastery over the language, but don’t allow a fear of bad spelling to prevent you from writing. You can always use a spell checker if you compose your work on a computer.

6. Punctuation. Failing to use commas and semi-colons properly is a common problem. Click here to practice punctuation.

Next: Lesson Seventeen