Here are the final three common writing mistakes that you should avoid.
This post is a continuation of Six Terrible Writing Mistakes to Avoid – Part 1. We discussed the first three writing mistakes in that article.
The first three mistakes were related to word choice. They were as follows:
Common Word Choice Mistakes
1. Redundancy (repetition)
2. Using tired clichés
3. Synonym abuse
We hope you followed our tips from that post. Now, for some more mistakes frequently made by writers.
Common Writing Mistakes (4-6)
The next three mistakes involve grammar and punctuation. They are:
Common Grammar and Punctuation Mistakes
4. Being unclear with dangling modifiers
5. Poor grammar
6. Improper punctuation
“I might not use capital letters. But I would definitely use an apostrophe…and probably a period. I’m a huge fan of punctuation.” – Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park
Now, let’s elaborate on the last three writing mistakes that have to be avoided to become a good writer:
D – Dangling Modifiers
Modifiers describe a word or make its meaning more specific. A dangling modifier is a modifier that has nothing to modify.
Example: “Rotting in the refrigerator, our office manager threw the fruit in the garbage.”
This is not correct. The sentence is ambiguous and makes it appear as if the office manager was rotting in the refrigerator!
The correct version would be, “Our office manager threw the fruit that was rotting in the refrigerator in the garbage.”
Other examples of dangling modifiers are “Hiding under the floorboards, I’ve finally found you!” and “My brother saw a squirrel riding his bicycle.” and “Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.”
Make sure to place the modifying clause right next to the word or phrase it intends to describe. Have someone else read the sentence to see if it makes sense (you should have someone read your posts anyway). Also, writing what you intend to say in two clear sentences is better than cramming it into one confusing sentence.
E – Effective Grammar
Grammar and spelling are two crucial components of writing. If you have poor grammar or spelling, it is very possible that your words could confuse people or take on a different meaning.
Proper spelling and capitalization are absolutely necessary if you ever hope to become a good writer. With so many writing tools available at your disposal, there shouldn’t be an excuse for bad spelling.
Common Grammatical Errors to Avoid:
– Your and You’re
– i.e. and e.g.
– Me, Myself, and I
– Who and Whom
– It’s and Its
– There, Their, and They’re
– Lay and Lie
– To, Too, and Two
– May and Might
– Less and Fewer
– Which and That
– Between and Among
– Assure, Ensure, and Insure
– Then and Than
– Further and Farther
– Affect and Effect
F – Fix Your Punctuation
Take the sentence “A woman without her man is nothing.”
Now see the difference punctuation makes:
A woman, without her man, is nothing.
A woman: without her, man is nothing.
“Punctuation is one of the most important aspects of written English, and yet it is one that is taken the most lightly.” – Anis Siddiqi, the Write Corner.
Here’s an explanation of what all those punctuation symbols mean.
The apostrophe is used to form possessives (e.g., the school’s faculty, our family’s car) and certain contractions (e.g., it’s, I’ve, don’t), or for telling time (2 o’clock). If the word or name already ends with the letter s, don’t add another s at the end (Dickens’, boss’). The apostrophe is not used to form most plurals (e.g., she is looking at several schools, these shirts are on sale). The only exception: Plurals of lowercase letters (there are 3 c’s in succinct). Don’t use it for plurals of words used as words (do’s and don’ts) and plurals of certain abbreviations (the hospital had many M.D.s.). In these cases, however weird they might look, the correct terms are “dos and don’ts” and “the hospital had many M.D.s.”.
2. “Quotation Mark”
Quotations are used when someone is speaking or has said something, or when they are thinking of something. Periods and commas go inside quotation marks, even if they aren’t part of the material being quoted. All other punctuation marks go outside the quotation marks unless they are part of the material being quoted. Ex – Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”
The colon and the semicolon can both be used to connect two independent clauses. When the second clause expands on or explains the first, use a colon. Ex – The Three Musketeers: Athos, Porthos, Aramis.
When the clauses are merely related, but the second does not follow from the first, use a semicolon. Ex – I have a big test tomorrow; I can’t go out tonight.
When a parenthetical element is included at the end of a larger sentence, the terminal punctuation for the larger sentence goes outside the closing parenthesis. When a parenthetical sentence exists on its own, the terminal punctuation goes inside the closing parenthesis. Ex – Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
When two or more words collectively serve as an adjective before the word they are modifying, those words should normally be hyphenated. The major exception is when the first such word is an adverb ending in -ly.
Use commas to indicate nonessential information.
Incorrect: The actor, Ajith, seldom gives interviews.
Correct: The actor Ajith seldom gives interviews.
Incorrect: Don’t use commas, which aren’t necessary.
Avoiding these writing mistakes and practice will surely transform you into a great writer. Make sure you follow these tips the next time you write. Need more help improving your writing? Read our Business Blogging for Beginners series, updated monthly! Get the entire book on Amazon if interested.