Common Writing Mistakes

Common Writing Mistakes

If you’ve been following our blog, you’ll remember that we recently posted some tips for getting an ‘A’ on your next paper. As a follow up to that post, this month’s post is about common writing mistakes. Hopefully, by becoming more aware of these mistakes, you will be less likely to make them when you write a paper. If you think looking at examples of papers might help you, feel free to look at some of our top-quality research papers, analytical papers, term papers, etc. If you have questions about a particular paper, feel free to contact our customer support for assistance too.
So, below is a brief list of mistakes that students most frequently make in their papers. The list is by no means exhaustive, but it can act as a starting point for making you more aware of your writing.
1. Spelling errors: First and foremost, avoid spelling mistakes. Yes – this is obvious, but students still hand in papers with spelling mistakes and really, with spell checkers and proper proofreading, there’s no excuse for papers with spelling errors.
2. Incorrect word usage: If a word is correctly spelled but incorrectly used, spell checkers won’t see it as an error. This is where proofreading becomes especially important. As you proofread, be on the lookout for the following types of incorrect word usage: affect vs. effect, principal vs. principle, ensure vs. insure or assure, epic vs. epoch, adopt vs. adapt, they’re vs. their or there, who’s vs. whose
3. Capitalization errors: Most errors in capitalization are caused by using capital letters when they aren’t necessary. For example ‘north’, ‘east’, ‘south’ and ‘west’ should be capitalized when used as a reference to sections of the country but not when used as directions. Also, holidays, days, months etc., should be capitalized, but names of seasons should not be. Similarly, names of events and periods should be capitalized, but names of numbered centuries should not.
4. Punctuation errors: Punctuation errors seem to cause the most problems – even simple punctuation. Here are some of the more common problems: missing commas in compound sentences (e.g., before a coordinating conjunction such as ‘and’,’ but’, ‘so’, ‘or’, etc.), lack of agreement between pronoun and antecedent (e.g., My friend lent me several books, but it wasn’t the one I wanted), a missing comma in a series of three or more.
5. Insufficient use of transition words and phrases. Examples of transition words are therefore, because of, consequently, as a result, in addition, furthermore, nevertheless. Transition words and phrases let you join thoughts and sentences in a logical manner. Without them, a paper does not flow smoothly.
6. Insufficient or improper citation: Improperly citing a source is nearly as bad as not citing it at all. Teachers want to see that you know how to properly cite sources. If you need help with this, there are Internet sites such as BibMe and EasyBib that can help you.
So, remember this list for your next writing assignment. It may mean the difference in the grade you get. And, remember to check back here next month for more writing tips and AcaDemon updates!

Published on Feb 13, 2010