Six Writing Mistakes to Watch for When Editing

Six Writing Mistakes to Watch for When Editing

You did it! You wrote a thing. But, if you’re like most writers, that thing you wrote is not a thing of beauty. Yet.

Grammarly users proofread billions of words per month, so we analyzed our data to discover the top six most frequent grammar and punctuation mistakes our writing app helped them correct. Whether you’ve finished a novel for National Novel Writing Month or you’re digging in to edit any other draft, these examples and related articles will help you understand the most common writing errors so you can fix them now and avoid them in the future.

Top Grammar Mistakes

Using the wrong preposition

We discovered that these common words, used to describe relationships between words in a sentence, trip writers up most frequently.

He was living in the outskirts of town when it happened.

He was living on the outskirts of town when it happened.

She needed help connecting her laptop with the coffee house’s Wi-Fi.

She needed help connecting her laptop to the coffee house’s Wi-Fi.

More information: Prepositions—Definitions, Rules, and Examples

Trouble with conjunctions

Conjunctions—words that link other words, phrases, or clauses together—are a source of confusion for some writers. One frequent problem arises when writers connect phrases that aren’t parallel.

The gazelle ran swiftly and was graceful.

The gazelle ran swiftly and gracefully.

More information: Conjunctions

E.g. vs. I.e

E.g. means “for example,” and i.e. means “in other words.” Confusing them in a query letter when you’re ready to seek publication could raise a red flag for an editor.

I think this story will fascinate your audience, e.g., young adult readers.

I think this story will fascinate your audience, i.e., young adult readers.

More information: E.g. vs. I.e.

Top Punctuation Mistakes

Appositives

Appositives are nouns or pronouns (or sometimes phrases) that clarify or add information about another noun. When the appositive is not necessary to understand the sentence, it should be enclosed with punctuation—usually commas, but sometimes em dashes or parentheses. When the appositive is necessary to understand the sentence, it doesn’t need to be surrounded by punctuation.

That woman, in the red hat, is a spy.

That woman in the red hat is a spy.

More information: Punctuation of Appositives

Semicolons

Semicolons, as it turns out, are for more than making winking emoji; they’re most often used to join related independent clauses. (See what we did there?) Just make sure you’re not using one where you should be using a comma or period. In the examples below, a semicolon works well, but a period is also an acceptable style choice. The comma, however, creates a comma splice.

My dog won an award at the pet show this weekend, he’s kind of a rock star!

My dog won an award at the pet show this weekend; he’s kind of a rock star!

My dog won an award at the pet show this weekend. He’s kind of a rock star!

More information: Semicolon

The Oxford comma

Who gives a fig about an Oxford comma? We do. The Oxford (or serial) comma is the comma that comes right before the final item in a list of things. Although the Oxford comma is the subject of some debate, it usually adds clarity.

I’m inspired by my grandparents, Marie Curie and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

I’m inspired by my grandparents, Marie Curie, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

The incorrect sentence implies that the author’s grandparents are Marie Curie and Neil deGrasse Tyson, an arguably cool but historically impossible pairing.

More information: What Is the Oxford Comma?

The post Six Writing Mistakes to Watch for When Editing appeared first on Grammarly Blog.

from Grammarly Blog https://www.grammarly.com/blog/writing-mistakes-to-watch-for/

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