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Common Writing Errors and Corrections

Page history last edited by Don Pogreba 11 years, 9 months ago


Correction Symbols

  • -- start a new paragraph
  • r-o -- run-on (two complete thoughts run together)
  • /\ -- insert a word or a letter
  • c-s -- comma splice (two sentences connected by a comma)
  • sp -- check spelling
  • frag -- fragment
  • a /b -- transpose these letters
  • || -- parallelism issue
  • agr -- agreement
  • pv -- passive voice
  • P -- check for punctuation
  • w-c -- word choice
  • h -- capitalize this letter
  • inc -- incomplete
  • / -- make lower case
  • ---- -- wordy -- delete text
  • check mark -- something well-done



Do Not

  • conclude your papers with The End
  • use you (second person) in place of 1st or 3rd person
  • use get in place of become, receive, obtain
  • use a lot in place of often, many, several, frequently
  • use should of in place of should have
  • use like in place of just as, as, as if, as though
  • use thing or stuff in place of the specific object or concept
  • use all of the sudden in place of all of a sudden or suddenly
  • use this without placing a noun directly after This _ belongs to me.


  • clichés, dangling or misplaced modifiers
  • slang, redundancy
  • passive verbs, vagueness, and sweeping generalities
  • wordiness, shifts in construction (number, tense, person, voice)
  • intensifiers such as very, totally, really – these vampire words suck the life from your writing

Be careful with

  • affect/effect, real/really, accept/except
  • among/between, that/which, your/you’re
  • imply/infer, then/than, quotation/quote
  • its/it’s, there/their/they’re, lie/lay
  • to/too/two, alright/all right


The Twenty Most Common Errors

  1. Missing comma after an introductory element
  2. Vague pronoun reference
  3. Missing comma in a compound sentence
  4. Wrong word
  5. Missing comma(s) with a nonrestrictive element
  6. Wrong or missing verb ending
  7. Wrong or missing preposition
  8. Comma splice
  9. Missing or misplaced possessive apostrophe
  10. Unnecessary shift in tense
  11. Unnecessary shift in pronoun
  12. Sentence fragment
  13. Wrong tense or verb form
  14. Lack of subject-verb agreement
  15. Missing comma in a series
  16. Lack of agreement between pronoun and antecedent
  17. Unnecessary comma(s) with a restrictive element
  18. Fused sentence
  19. Misplaced or dangling modifier
  20. Its/It's confusion



Additional Resources

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