August 1, 2016

Grammar and Mechanics

If you’re worried about a troublesome element of your writing, chances are you’ll find an article about how to fix it here. Our Writing Center consultants have examined the most common grammatical and structural errors and came up with some examples and techniques on how to fix each of them. At the bottom of this article are also a number of resources that might be handy if you are struggling with common errors.

  • Apostrophes_Possessive: So, you add an apostrophe after every word that ends with an “s,” right? Nope. Confusing? Apostrophes can be tricky. If you’re not certain how to use them, look here.
  • Avoiding Plot Summary: In this four-page summary, you will learn what plot summary is, why professors dislike it, how to avoid it, and see some examples.
  • Cohesion in Paragraphs: Do your paragraphs fall apart? Read how to glue them back together.
  • Commas: If you’ve been wondering where to put a comma, this is the place to look.
  • Concluding Paragraphs: What do you do when you’ve turned in your first paper and your professor has written “conclusion is weak” in terrible handwriting at the bottom of your page? Read this.
  • Easily-Confused Words: There is a problem. Too many people are mixing up their words, and they’re making their professors unhappy.
  • Eliminating Wordiness: Forsooth! I daresay we’ve found another article, this time relating to the problem of having just a few too many words.
  • Quotations: “Putting quotations into a paragraph is an easy way for you to show that you have supporting evidence to further back up your argument/thesis statement” (Streeter, 2005).
  • Run-ons and Comma-SplicesSo there was this time once when I was writing a paper for my professor, and he told me that my sentences just went on and on and on and on. Seriously I don’t know what’s up with that!
  • Sentence Variety
  • Subject-Verb AgreementHow to make your subject and verb match. It’s like basic addition, for writing.
  • Thesis Statements: Adding a strong thesis statement to your paper can make the life of the reader far easier.
  • Using “I” I didn’t write this, and that’s appropriate to say. When else is it appropriate to use “I” in your papers?.
  • Vague PronounsWhen you’re writing about that and not sure what “that” refers to, this is the stop.
  • Verb Tenses: Answers to questions about verb tense, sequence of tenses, and tense in literature papers.
  • Voice: Active vs. Passive: This article was written by a former tutor, and it addresses how to use active instead of passive voice in your papers.

Article descriptions written by Justin Barnett, 2005.


RESOURCES

Grammar GirlGrammar Girl! 

You can search just about any grammar issue with expert Mignon Fogarty, aka Grammar Girl, a great resource that covers in easy-to-read blog format all of the major issues we all experience with grammar and mechanics (and even the more obscure challenges as well)!

 

OWL at Purdue not only offers resources for Citations, but it also offers resources for Grammar challenges and common errors as well by topic.

What are the top 20 Grammar Mistakes people make? Well, according to John Gingerich at Lit Reactor, here they are!