Education.com
Try
Brainzy
Try
Plus

Proofreading for Grammatical Errors Help (page 2)

By
Updated on Aug 10, 2011

Proofreading for Grammar

Grammar refers to the hundreds of rules that govern sentences. Space confines limit this book's discussion of those rules to three of the most common errors:

  • confusing words (they're, there, their)
  • agreement (singular nouns with singular verbs, plural nouns with plural verbs)
  • run-ons and sentence fragments

Confusing Words

Often, words are confused because the writer is in a hurry. It's not a matter of needing to learn the meaning of the words, but rather taking the time to check for accuracy. However, certain groups of words are commonly confused because not only do they sound or look alike, but also their meanings may be close enough to cause hesitation. Check the following list for those you're unsure of, and commit that shorter list to memory.

Confusing Words

Agreement

Agreement refers to the balance of sentence elements such as subjects and verbs and pronouns and antecedents. (An antecedent is the noun a pronoun replaces.) To agree, singular subjects require singular verbs, and plural subjects require plural verbs. Likewise, singular nouns can be replaced only by singular pronouns, and plural nouns require plural pronouns.

Most of these errors are easy to spot. If you mistype "The scientists was working on an important experiment," you (or, possibly, your grammar-check program) will catch it. But problems arise when a phrase or phrases separate the subject and verb or noun and pronoun. Here's an example:

"Eat, drink, and be merry," is a label associated with Greek philosopher Epicurus, but like most catchy slogans, they simplify what is actually a rich and complex message.

Notice how the phrase like most catchy slogans can mislead you. If you assume slogans is the subject, then the pronoun they and the verb simplify seem correct—they agree with the plural subject. But look again at the sentence. Slogans isn't the subject of the verb simplify. What is simplifying? Not the slogans, but the label "Eat, Drink, and Be Merry"—a singular noun. Thus, the pronoun must be it and the verb must be simplifies to agree with the subject.

Run-ons and Sentence Fragments

Complete sentences require a noun and verb, and express a fully developed thought. Two common sentence errors are extremes. Sentence fragments stop too quickly; they are phrases that are not whole thoughts. Run-on sentences don't stop soon enough; they include two or more complete clauses or sentences.

Sentence fragments are often missing a subject or verb, and may be phrases or parts of other sentences. Be aware that fragments can sometimes be difficult to identify because even though they don't express complete thoughts, they can be long and appear correct. Here are a few examples, with corrections:

      Because she had to stop studying and go to lacrosse practice.
      Cried a lot.
      When we finished the game after the sun began setting.
      She had to stop studying and go to lacrosse practice.
      Sheu Ling cried a lot.
      We finished the game after the sun began setting.

Run-on sentences are made up of two or more independent clauses or complete sentences placed together into one sentence without proper punctuation. For example:

We were hungry and John was tired so we had to stop at the first rest area that we saw.

Kim studied hard for the test that's why he got an A.

Patty took flying lessons every Saturday so she couldn't go to the picnic and she couldn't go to the graduation party either but she has already signed up for another group of flying lessons because she likes it so much.

Here's how to fix run-on sentences:

  1. Separate the clauses with a period. Example: We are here. You are not.
  2. Connect the clauses with a comma and a conjunction (and, or, nor, for, but, so, yet). We are here, but you are not.
  3. Connect the clauses with a semicolon (and possibly an adverb such as however, therefore, or otherwise, making sure it expresses the right relationship between the two ideas). We are here; you are not.

The previous run-ons can be corrected as follows:

We were hungry and John was tired, so we had to stop at the first rest area that we saw.

Kim studied hard for the test; that's why he got an A.

Patty took flying lessons every Saturday, so she couldn't go to the picnic. She couldn't go to the graduation party either, but she has already signed up for another group of flying lessons because she likes it so much.

View Full Article
Add your own comment