Common Grammatical Mistakes
By studying English grammar rules, you'll learn how to identify errors in your own writing. Some of the most common grammatical mistakes made by inexperienced writers include:
- Run on sentences that combine two or more complete thoughts without the proper punctuation between clauses
- Sentence fragments, incomplete thoughts that lack either a subject or verb
- Using two negatives in one sentence to mistakenly indicate the opposite of your true intention
- Using misplaced modifiers to unintentionally modify the wrong part of the sentence
- Confusing "it's" with "its" or making other possessive apostrophe errors
- Subject-verb disagreement
Online Guides for Grammar in Writing
For quick answers to your grammatical questions, you can turn to one of the many websites offering online guides for grammar in writing. For example:
- The Capital Community College Foundation has prepared a comprehensive guide to grammar and writing that will prove to be a valuable resource for anyone interested in mastering English grammar. Topics covered include parts of speech and paragraph structure, as well as how to write an essay or research paper. To test your knowledge, this site also provides interactive quizzes.
- Daily Grammar offers free e-mail grammar lessons Monday through Friday, with a quiz on Saturday. For additional convenience, previous lessons are archived online.
- Dr. Grammar provides a list of answers to the most frequently asked English grammar questions. Questions are listed alphabetically for easy searching.
- Grammar Monster has grammar lessons, online quizzes, and a forum for writers interested in developing their grammar skills. For small fee, you can even download a desktop version of the site's content.
- The Elements of Style: Written by William Strunk, Jr., this book remains one of the most popular guides to the English language. Although serious writers will want to invest in their own copy of this helpful reference, the entire text is available online for those in need of a quick refresher.
- An English Grammar: If you're appalled by the lack of good grammar in today's written work, this free e-book from the Project Gutenberg archives will prove quite informative. Written in 1895, it provides a comprehensive look at the fundamentals of English grammar.
- EnglishChick.com takes a humorous approach to teaching grammar in writing by preparing lessons that relate to the television show Xena: Warrior Princess. However, you don't need to be a fan of the show to benefit from these simple grammar tutorials.
- Grammar Girl: To improve your grammar skills while keeping up with your busy schedule, subscribe to the free Grammar Girl podcast. This informative short audio program provides quick, yet entertaining, grammar lessons on your iPod.
Using Microsoft Word as a Grammar Checker
If you're concerned about using proper grammar in your writing, you'll be pleased to learn that Microsoft Word's spell check feature is also able to find many of the most common grammatical mistakes. For additional information on how to use this handy feature, check out the following links:
Although Microsoft Word's grammar checking feature can prove very useful for when preparing written documents, it's important to be aware that the software may not catch all grammatical errors. For example, vague pronoun references, incorrect usage of the possessive apostrophe, and comma splices are unlikely to be caught by any computer grammar checker. Only careful study of English grammar rules will help you eliminate these errors in your writing.