10 Common Grammatical Errors and How to Avoid Them

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While there are a plethora of issues when it comes to writing, like inspiration, motivation and the good old writer’s block, it is even more difficult to form a coherent and grammatically correct literary piece. All of us knowingly or unknowingly do commit grammatical errors while writing and it is in fact the most common error that we make. 

Here’s a list of 5 such grammatical errors that writers tend to make while writing and the ways to avoid such mistakes in the future. I hope you find it helpful. 

1. Pronoun Disagreement - One of the most common mistakes that people make while writing, is the wrong usage of pronouns with respect to the nouns they are referring to in a sentence. Pronoun disagreement occurs when the pronouns do not agree in terms of number with the nouns to which they refer. If the noun is singular, the pronoun must also be singular and if the noun is plural, the pronoun used must also be plural. 

For Example:

Every child must go to the park with their own guardian. (Incorrect)

Every child must go to the park with his/her own guardian. (Correct)

2. Subject-Verb Agreement - For a sentence to be intelligible, it is crucial that the subject agrees with the verb. The subject must always agree with the verb used next to it. For instance, while writing in the present tense, the subject and the verb must always agree in number. If the subject is singular the verb must always be singular. Same goes for plural subjects. 

For Example:

These techniques is important for a good start. (Incorrect)

These techniques are important for a good start. (Correct)

3. Apostrophe Usage - Incorrect use of apostrophe is one of the most common grammatical errors ever. While using the apostrophe, it is important to remember that apostrophes are used to indicate possession but they are not used next to possessive pronouns such as my,mine,yours,hers,his,theirs, etc. 

For Example:

That bookcase looks a lot like mine’s. (Incorrect)

That bookcase looks a lot like mine. (Correct)

4. Proper Punctuation - Using proper punctuation is perhaps the most significant thing while writing. The tone and flow of a sentence depends on the way it is punctuated entirely. So, we need to use our commas, hyphens and full stops wisely. One important thing to remember is to always use a comma while writing a compound sentence. 

For Example:

Jim and Dwight work together but they do not get along. (Incorrect)

Jim and Dwight work together, but they do not get along. (Correct)

5. Ending a Sentence with a Preposition - This right here is something that we all indulge in. (Oops! I did it again.) Although acceptable, ending your sentences with a preposition is not the grammatically correct way to go and therefore I advise you to steer clear from this grammatical error. 

For Example:

What did he come here for? (Incorrect)

For what reason did he come here? (Correct)

6. Confusing Similar Words - Mixing up of similar words is a pretty common grammatical error, but it is one that is often inexcusable. Here’s a list of commonly mixed up words and what they mean. 

Affect and Effect- Affect is a verb as in “to affect” and means to have an impact on or to influence, while effect is a noun. An effect is the consequence of being affected by something. 

For Example:

The flood affected the crops this year.

The flood had an effect on the crops this year.

Accept and Except- Accept means to agree with something or someone or to receive something while except is used to exclude something from say a list. 

For Example:

The Prime Minister accepted the invitation.

Everyone except the Prime Minister accepted the invitation.

7. Incomplete Comparisons - When we use a word in its comparative degree, it is important and is expected to put in the sentence that you’re comparing it to something. These grammatical errors, although common in advertisements, are not acceptable in papers or other writing. 

For Example-

Aryan is a better employee. (Incorrect)

Aryan is a better employee than Vishal. (Correct)

8. Title Capitalization - It can often be very confusing knowing when to capitalize titles and how to go about doing that. One general rule is to always capitalize the first letters of all the nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs and verbs in your title. 

For Example:

A room of one’s own by Virginia Woolf. (Incorrect)

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. (Correct)

9. Mixing up the Possessives with the Plurals - People often get confused while adding an “s” to the words. It is important to keep in mind that you only need an apostrophe before an “s” to show either possession or contraction and the rest are all plurals.

For Example:

Mihika's book had a lot of torn out page’s. (Incorrect)

Mihika’s book had a lot of torn out pages. (Correct)

10. Spelling Errors - The most common grammatical error and perhaps the most embarrassing one for all the writer folks out there are of course spelling mistakes. But sometimes while taking a dictation it is confusing when two words have the exact same sound. Thank God for auto correct!

For Example:

You’re and your

Weather and whether

There and their

These are a few of the grammatical errors that we generally make in our writing. While these errors are common they are definitely not inevitable. With proper knowledge on the basic grammatical rules and a control over basic vocabulary, anyone can write a grammatically correct piece of writing. 

For more suggestions on being a good writer visit - 7 Incredible Ways to be a Good Writer

Written By - Sakshi Singh


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