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6 Common Grammatical Errors Every Writer Should Avoid (With Exercise) - Part 2

Arnaba is a professional content writer. She is here to share her experience in impressive and effective writing skills and strategies.

Grammatical Errors can be Fatal for a Content Writer.

Yes, it is harsh to say that, but unfortunately, it is a sad truth.

In this era of the "world wide web", people do form an impression about you, on the basis of your grammar and spelling in your articles, blogs, or even your social media feed; despite the fact, they have hardly met you or even had a conversation with you.

A writer is a human being. And human beings are prone to making mistakes. Thus, readers might ignore a spelling error (typographical) or two in your 2000 word blog or article. However, sloppy or silly grammatical errors can be damaging to your credibility and reputation as a writer.

Not to mention, your punctuation and grammatical mistakes will either mislead or confuse your reader. Your message will get diluted or misinterpreted by the same mistakes. Thus, editing and proofreading your article is of paramount importance.

In this hub, we will discuss the common punctuation errors (misuse of comma, semi-colon, and colon) and how to fix them.

Without any adieu, let us hop into the list of 6 Common Grammatical Errors Every Writer Should Avoid (With Exercise) - Part 2 that will help you identify and rectify your mistakes:

1. Missing Comma After Introductory Element

Pic 1 : Examples for Missing Comma After Introductory Element.

Pic 1 : Examples for Missing Comma After Introductory Element.

An introductory word, phrase, or clause should always be followed by a comma. This provides the readers with a slight pause after the introductory element. This comma often helps to avoid confusion at the reader’s end.

Simply put, if an introductory word or phrase can modify the entire sentence then put a comma. On the other hand, you can omit the comma if the introductory phrase modifies only a verb or a single element in a sentence.

Practice exercise for Missing Comma After Introductory Element

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Choose the correct sentence:
    • Usually, I am, done with my work by 7:30pm.
    • Usually, I am done with my work, by 7:30pm.
    • Usually, I am done with my work by 7:30pm.
    • Usually, I am done, with my work, by 7:30pm.
  2. Choose the correct sentence:
    • In order to get things done, we need to start today.
    • In order to, get things done, we need to start today.
    • In order to get things done we need, to start today.
    • In order to get things done, we need to start, today.
  3. Choose the correct sentence:
    • Before you leave can you, turn on the radio?
    • Before, you leave can you turn on the radio?
    • Before you leave, can you turn on, the radio?
    • Before you leave, can you turn on the radio?
  4. Choose the correct sentence:
    • Finally Amy, was able to achieve her goals.
    • Finally, Amy was able to achieve her goals.
    • Finally, Amy was able to achieve, her goals.
    • Finally Amy, was able to achieve, her goals.
  5. Choose the correct sentence:
    • Instead of going to London, Janice, decided to visit her relatives in Bath.
    • Instead of going to London, Janice decided to visit her relatives in Bath.
    • Instead of going to London, Janice decided, to visit her relatives in Bath.
    • Instead of going, to London, Janice decided to visit her relatives in Bath.

Answer Key

  1. Usually, I am done with my work by 7:30pm.
  2. In order to get things done, we need to start today.
  3. Before you leave, can you turn on the radio?
  4. Finally, Amy was able to achieve her goals.
  5. Instead of going to London, Janice decided to visit her relatives in Bath.

2. Superfluous Comma

Pic 2: Examples for Superfluous Comma.

Pic 2: Examples for Superfluous Comma.

A superfluous comma is a very common mistake made by the writers. Here, the commas are placed where they are not needed. A comma is used to join two separate yet related ideas in one sentence. However, if you are using any conjecture then the comma is not always required.

4 types of common comma errors:

  • Don’t place a comma in between a subject and a verb.
  • Don’t use a comma to separate a verb from its object or complement.
  • No comma is needed when two elements are joined by a conjuncture.
  • Don’t separate a dependant clause followed by an introductory independent (main) clause with a comma. However, a comma is used only when the dependent clause comes before the introductory independent clause.

See, examples in Pic, the examples for these comma errors are given respectively.

Practice exercise for Superfluous Comma

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Choose the correct sentence:
    • Shawn called Jean at breakfast, although, she was not be seen before supper.
    • Shawn called Jean, at breakfast, although, she was not be seen before supper.
    • Shawn called Jean at breakfast although, she was not be seen before supper.
    • Shawn called Jean at breakfast, although she was not be seen before supper.
  2. Choose the correct sentence:
    • The book on the center table, is mine.
    • The book, on the center table is mine.
    • The book, on the center table, is mine.
    • The book on the center table is mine.
  3. Choose the correct sentence:
    • “Don’t you know, my name anymore, Mr. Anderson?”
    • “Don’t you know my name, anymore, Mr. Anderson?”
    • “Don’t you, know my name anymore, Mr. Anderson?”
    • “Don’t you know my name anymore, Mr. Anderson?”
  4. Choose the correct sentence:
    • Marie seemed, unreliable candidate because of her actions, although she was quite popular, among the students.
    • Marie seemed unreliable candidate because of her actions, although she was quite popular among the students.
    • Marie seemed unreliable candidate, because of her actions, although, she was quite popular among the students.
    • Marie seemed unreliable candidate because of her actions, although, she was quite popular among the students.
  5. Choose the correct sentence:
    • James was surprised, when Rachael waved at him because he thought, he didn’t leave good impression on her.
    • James was surprised when Rachael waved at him, because he thought, he didn’t leave good impression on her.
    • James was surprised, when Rachael waved at him, because he thought he didn’t leave good impression on her.
    • James was surprised when Rachael waved at him because he thought he didn’t leave good impression on her.

Answer Key

  1. Shawn called Jean at breakfast, although she was not be seen before supper.
  2. The book on the center table, is mine.
  3. “Don’t you know my name anymore, Mr. Anderson?”
  4. Marie seemed unreliable candidate because of her actions, although she was quite popular among the students.
  5. James was surprised when Rachael waved at him because he thought he didn’t leave good impression on her.

3. Comma Splice

Pic 3: Examples for Comma Splice.

Pic 3: Examples for Comma Splice.

A comma splice is a sentence where two different ideas or clauses are joined together with a comma. On the contrary, an appropriate conjuncture, transitional words, or semicolon should have been used in place of a comma.

Comma, period, and semi-colon have their designated jobs to do. You cannot use them interchangeably.

There are three ways to fix a comma splice:

  • Add a conjunction
  • Change the comma to a semi-colon.
  • Make separate sentences.

Practice Exercise for Comma Splice

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Choose the correct sentence:
    • We went to the store together, and we bought some snacks.
    • We went to the store together, we bought some snacks.
    • We went to the store together; and we bought some snacks.
    • We went to the store together and we bought some snacks.
  2. Choose the correct sentence:
    • I think Rene is in love. Sometimes, she acts so weird now.
    • I think Rene is in love; sometimes, she acts so weird now.
    • I think Rene is in love. Sometimes, she acts so weird, now.
    • I think Rene is in love; as sometimes, she acts so weird now.
  3. Choose the correct sentence:
    • I went to the cafe, to meet Beth, but she was not there.
    • I went to the cafe to meet Beth, but she was not there.
    • I went to the cafe to meet Beth but she was, not there.
    • I went to the cafe, to meet Beth but she was, not there.
  4. Choose the correct sentence:
    • She opted out of the yoga sessions because the trainer gave her negative vibes.
    • She opted out of the yoga sessions, because the trainer gave her negative vibes.
    • She opted out of the yoga sessions, because the trainer, gave her negative vibes.
    • She opted out of the yoga sessions because the trainer, gave her negative vibes.
  5. Choose the correct sentence:
    • I think, I will bunk the History class; it is really boring.
    • I think, I will bunk the History class: it is really boring.
    • I think I will bunk the History class, it is really boring.
    • I think I will bunk the History class; it is really boring.

Answer Key

  1. We went to the store together and we bought some snacks.
  2. I think Rene is in love. Sometimes, she acts so weird now.
  3. I went to the cafe to meet Beth, but she was not there.
  4. She opted out of the yoga sessions because the trainer gave her negative vibes.
  5. I think I will bunk the History class; it is really boring.

A Complete Guide to English Grammar and Composition By Wren and Martin

4. Colon Mistakes

Pic 4 : Example for Colon Mistakes.

Pic 4 : Example for Colon Mistakes.

Colons are predominantly used after a complete sentence. You use a colon to signal that the words, phrases or clause proves the point of the complete sentence preceding the colon. Mostly, what follows the complete sentence is something that amplifies, explains, illustrates, or clarifies its idea, thought, or message.

In simple words, a colon is used to introduce a list.

Colons can also be used to separate two independent clauses. There are two conditions for using a colon in such a situation:

  • The second clause should be related to the first clause (without being vaguely related).
  • The emphasis should be on the second clause.

Practice Exercise for Colon Mistakes

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Choose the correct sentence:
    • He started writing a blog: he wanted to share his knowledge with the world.
    • He started writing a blog: as he wanted to share his knowledge with the world.
    • He started writing a blog: because he wanted to share his knowledge with the world.
    • He started writing a blog because: he wanted to share his knowledge with the world.
  2. Choose the correct sentence:
    • Her sponsors supported her business: and they gave her a platform and finance.
    • Her sponsors supported her business by: giving her a platform and finance.
    • Her sponsors supported her business: they gave her a platform and finance.
    • Her sponsors, supported her business by: giving her a platform and finance.
  3. Choose the correct sentence:
    • The expectation, she had from this marriage was: respect.
    • The expectation she had from this marriage was: respect.
    • She had expectation from this marriage was: respect.
    • She had only one expectation from this marriage: respect.
  4. Choose the correct sentence:
    • We need different tools to complete the task like: hammer, screw- driver, and drill.
    • We need different tools to complete the task: hammer, screw- driver, and drill.
    • We need different tools to complete the task such as: hammer, screw- driver, and drill.
    • The tools we need to complete the task are: hammer, screw- driver, and drill.
  5. Choose the correct sentence:
    • Michael had two stores in the city: one he had in the big mall and another in the downtown.
    • The two stores Michael had in the city are: one in the big mall and another in the downtown.
    • Michael had two stores in the city: one in the big mall and another he had is in the downtown.
    • Michael had two stores in the city: one in the big mall and another in the downtown.

Answer Key

  1. He started writing a blog: he wanted to share his knowledge with the world.
  2. Her sponsors supported her business: they gave her a platform and finance.
  3. She had only one expectation from this marriage: respect.
  4. We need different tools to complete the task: hammer, screw- driver, and drill.
  5. Michael had two stores in the city: one in the big mall and another in the downtown.

5. No Comma in a Compound Sentence

Pic 5: Examples for No Comma in a Compound Sentence.

Pic 5: Examples for No Comma in a Compound Sentence.

A comma is used to separate two or more independent clauses in a compound sentence, which is separated by a conjuncture. The sentences that have two or more independent clauses are called a compound sentence.

Some conjunctures you should look for in a compound sentence are as follows: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so.

Thus, you should use a comma after the first independent clause, followed by a coordinating conjuncture to separate the second independent clause in the compound sentence.

Practice Exercise for No Comma in a Compound Sentence

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Choose the correct sentence:
    • Life, was not easy at first, then something happened and everything, seems okay.
    • Life was not easy at first, then something happened, and everything seems okay.
    • Life, was not easy at first, then something happened, and everything seems okay.
    • Life was not easy at first, then something happened and everything seems okay.
  2. Choose the correct sentence:
    • I did not want to attend the class, nor did I want to write that assignment.
    • I did not want to attend the class, nor did I want to write that assignment.
    • I did not want to attend the class nor did I want to write that assignment.
    • I did not want to attend the class, nor, did I want to write, that assignment.
  3. Choose the correct sentence:
    • In reality Max answered the question easily but his answer was intricate and complex.
    • In reality, Max answered the question easily but his answer was intricate, and complex.
    • In reality, Max answered, the question easily, but his answer was intricate and complex.
    • In reality, Max answered the question easily, but his answer was intricate and complex.
  4. Choose the correct sentence:
    • She likes mayonnaise, or cheese but not both.
    • She likes mayonnaise or cheese, but not both.
    • She likes mayonnaise or cheese but not both.
    • She likes, mayonnaise or cheese but not both.
  5. Choose the correct sentence:
    • We cleaned up the baby, and then we cleaned up the messed he made.
    • We cleaned up the baby and then we cleaned up the messed he made.
    • We cleaned up the baby and then, we cleaned up the messed he made.
    • We cleaned up the baby, and then, we cleaned up the messed he made.

Answer Key

  1. Life was not easy at first, then something happened and everything seems okay.
  2. I did not want to attend the class, nor did I want to write that assignment.
  3. In reality, Max answered the question easily, but his answer was intricate and complex.
  4. She likes mayonnaise or cheese but not both.
  5. We cleaned up the baby, and then we cleaned up the messed he made.

6. Run-On Sentence

Pic 6: Examples for  Run-On Sentence.

Pic 6: Examples for Run-On Sentence.

When two independent clauses are joined together in a sentence without a coordinating conjuncture and/or proper punctuation, then the sentence is known as a run-on sentence (see example 1). The length of the sentence does not determine its validity. A short sentence can from a run-on sentence, while a long sentence does not necessarily be a run-on sentence.

A comma splice is a type of run-on sentence, where two independent clauses are joined with just a comma excluding the coordinating conjuncture see example 2.

A run-on sentence can be fixed by using a period or a semicolon followed by a transitional expression (see example 3).

Practice Exercise for Run-On Sentence

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Choose the correct sentence:
    • When Monica saw her mother after two years, she cried, and hugged her.
    • When Monica, saw her mother after two years she cried and hugged her.
    • When Monica saw her mother after two years, she cried and hugged her.
    • When Monica, saw her mother after two years she cried, and hugged her.
  2. Choose the correct sentence:
    • My teacher read my assignment and she said, it was good.
    • My teacher, read my assignment, and she said it was good.
    • My teacher, read my assignment and she said, it was good.
    • My teacher read my assignment, and she said it was good.
  3. Choose the correct sentence:
    • John Milton, an English poet, wrote the epic poem Paradise Lost in the year 1667.
    • John Milton, an English poet, wrote the epic poem, Paradise Lost, in the year 1667.
    • John Milton an English poet, wrote the epic poem Paradise Lost, in the year 1667.
    • John Milton, an English poet wrote the epic poem, Paradise Lost in the year 1667.
  4. Choose the correct sentence:
    • Jake loves dog he has a, German shepherd.
    • Jake loves dog, he has a German shepherd.
    • Jake loves dog. He has a German shepherd.
    • Jake loves dog. He has a, German shepherd.
  5. Choose the correct sentence:
    • My mother looked irritably, I knew did something wrong.
    • My mother looked irritably: I knew, did something wrong.
    • My mother, looked irritably, I knew, did something wrong.
    • My mother looked irritably: I knew did something wrong.

Answer Key

  1. When Monica saw her mother after two years, she cried and hugged her.
  2. My teacher read my assignment, and she said it was good.
  3. John Milton, an English poet, wrote the epic poem Paradise Lost in the year 1667.
  4. Jake loves dog. He has a German shepherd.
  5. My mother looked irritably: I knew did something wrong.

Conclusion

These common grammatical errors have the potential to change the meaning and connotation of your write-up leaving your readers confused. Try to avoid these mistakes by reading about them. You can take help of various online practice exercise to nurture you grammatical sense and skills.

There is a saying: “No one is perfect.”

On the other hand, there is another saying: “Practice makes a man perfect.”

Personally speaking, I had only one take away from both the saying: practice might make you perfect, but it will let you make fewer mistakes.

On that note, I admit, even I am not perfect. Henceforth, please feel free to point out any grammatical or spelling mistakes you encounter in this hub.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Arnaba Saha

Comments

Arnaba Saha (author) from New Delhi on May 28, 2020:

Hi Risha,

I am glad you enjoyed the exercises. Yes, it is true. "Practice makes a man (woman in your case) perfect".

Learning is a crucial part of life. The day we stop learning, we will stop growing. So, learn and keep growing; as a writer and a human being as well. All the best Risha.

And thanks for your time and appreciation.

Risha Khan from Bhilai, Chhattisgarh on May 28, 2020:

I really enjoyed doing the exercises,Arnaba. I noticed I need to work more on comma splices. Comma has a significant impact on readability of the sentences as it can make or spoil the impression of an author. Your hubs help us to write quality content. With practice, we can minimize common and minor grammatical errors.

Arnaba Saha (author) from New Delhi on May 20, 2020:

Thank you Muralikrishna Ji, for such kind words. I am glad you enjoyed the practical exercise and participated like an online game. Your appreciation helps to stay positively motivated and come up with interesting ways to present my content. Thanks again.

Halemane Muralikrishna from South India on May 18, 2020:

Your article was knowledge sharing and gave me a lot of interesting exercise like online games. Your keen interest to make the article comprehensive gives us an opportunity to learn a lot, which will not be available in conventional classrooms. Thank you Ms Arnaba for such a helpful exercise inclusive learning.

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