Thursday, October 4, 2012

Top Student Grammar Mistakes

Top Grammar Mistakes (Or if Mrs. Wiener had a dime for every time she saw one of these doozies, she'd be retired and living in Rome by now)

t – error in tense shift
       For literature, we use simple present tense (Dorian does not age; Daniel Sempere seeks the identity of Lain Courbet).
       For history, we use past tense (The causes of the American Revolution were . . .).

ref – reference error
       The pronoun doesn’t refer to a noun or the correct noun (the pronoun’s antecedent).

mm/dm – misplaced modifier/dangling modifier
       A group of words describing a noun in the sentence are not near the noun or are not describing a noun that even appears in the sentence.
Misplaced modifier: Flying overhead, the audience in the stadium watched the plane.
Dangling modifier: Walking down the street, my wallet fell out of my pocket.

agr – agreement
       Pronoun and antecedent don’t agree in number or subject and pronoun don’t agree in number (student errors are usually the former).
Example: The writer shows that a person has to mend their ways.

ss – sentence structure
This one is tricky, I’ll grant you that, because what ss means is that the sentence is written poorly, and it could have been done so in many ways. You could have been writing as you would speak, you could have a run-on with a fragment (I’ve seen this!), you could simply have no control of the language. You have to begin to notice when your writing sounds awful and when it sounds like something your teacher, not just the 472 people you text with, would agree is written in English.

d – diction, which means word choice
You’re not using a word correctly.

ww – wrong word
You’re using the wrong word: loose for lose, or two for too or to

wdy – wordy
More is not better. Actually, being brief and simple falls under the category of good grammar. Being brief doesn’t mean you should eschew the use of good vocabulary words (did you see what I just did there? I put a good vocabulary word into that sentence). It means you should be speaking in a clear, straightforward manner, making your points sharply and succinctly, including the details you need and omitting whatever you don’t.

coll – colloquialism
You should not use colloquialisms, words or expressions from everyday language. The word kid should never appear in a formal essay, for example.

r-o/frag – run-on sentence/fragment
Do you still have problems with these? See a grammar book immediately!

p – punctuation
Italicize (underline in handwritten works) names of books and plays. Put short story and poem titles in quotation marks.

Cite page numbers according to MLA standards (This information is easy to find on the internet).

cap – capitalization
Errors in capitalization are getting worse each year because of texting. Yes, texting isn’t only dangerous when you drive. It’s also dangerous to your essay writing. It’s making you oblivious to the rules of capitalization, for one.
Examples: 1) Capitalize all important words of a title. Always! Not just the first time you cite the title.
2) Why am I seeing random common nouns capitalized? Are you Emily Dickinson? (I don’t expect you to understand that reference. Maybe Wikipedia can help.) Unless you are a famous poet, please capitalize proper nouns and don’t capitalize common nouns. What are proper and common nouns? Dust off those notes from second grade and review.

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