I’m not sure I can argue for a single worst writing mistake. I have a pet peeve or two, but overall, I’m simply on a mission to educate my readers. From popular blogs to tweets and Facebook comments, the web is littered with bad grammar and punctuation. In schools and workplaces, student and employee writing skills are called into question every day. Errors are pervasive enough to inspire articles and websites intent upon shedding light on grammar, writing, and punctuation.
Today, let’s go on a little Internet scavenger hunt to see what others claim are the most common errors to avoid in writing. At each stop, take time to read about those errors and their solutions. While you’re there, look for the answers to the five questions or problems below.
1. Maniacal Rage
Maniacal Rage lists eight common errors. For example:
He reminds us not to ____________ after periods.
2. Pasnau’s Top Ten
Robert Pasnau, PhD (Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado) brings us Pasnau’s Top Ten. Almost every paper he receives has at least one grammatical error from his list.
Dr. Pasnau says: “You will be judged, for your entire life, on the basis of ___________________.”
3. Grammatical Errors That Make You Look Dumb
Brian Clark at Copyblogger gives us Five Grammatical Errors That Make You Look Dumb. Among them, Brian includes four pairs of words writers often confuse.
Name one pair: _______ vs. _______
4. Common Punctuation Errors
Even though this article is called Six Common Punctuation Errors That Bedevil Bloggers, it’s not just bloggers who have trouble with punctuation. According to the article, which one of these sentences is correctly punctuated?
a. On Friday, Sam is coming home from boot camp!!!
b. Kayla said, “Put it in the small box.”
c. Grandma will serve “breakfast” on the patio.
d. None of the above is punctuated correctly.
e. All of the above are punctuated correctly.
5. The Comma Splice
The comma splice is a common punctuation error. According to this article, which of the following solutions will not fix a comma splice?
a. Replacing the comma with a period
b. Replacing the comma with a semicolon
c. Removing the comma
d. Following the comma with a conjunction
If you’re serious about brushing up on your grammar, here are a few other articles you can explore:
- Apostrophes and Plural Family Names
- Grammar Tips: Is It I or Me?
- Do You Misuse or Misspell These 5 Words or Phrases?
Answers: (1) double-space; (2) how well you write; (3) answers will vary; (4) b; (5) c