Common Errors in Writing

  • Common Errors in Writing 

    1. Sentence fragments: A sentence fragment is not a complete sentence; it is only part of one and cannot express a complete thought on its own. Fragments occur when one or both of the two essential parts of sentence, a subject and/or verb, are missing. They also occur when a dependent or subordinate clause is treated as an independent clause. 
    2. Fused or run-on sentences: Fused sentences occur when two or more independent clauses (complete thoughts) have no punctuation separating them. To correct the error, divide them into separate sentences with a comma and appropriate coordinating conjunction showing their relationship (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so), a semicolon, or a period. Also, you can turn one sentence into a dependent clause to show its relationship with the independent clause. 
    3. Missing comma in a compound sentence: A compound sentence is made up of two or more independent clauses, and these clauses must be connected by a comma followed by a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) that clarifies the relationship between independent clauses. 
    4. Comma Splice: A comma splice occurs when two independent clauses are connected by only a comma or by a comma(s) plus a conjunctive adverb or transitional phrase (therefore, however, for example, etc.). To correct the error, use a comma plus a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so), a semicolon, a semicolon plus conjunctive adverb followed by a comma, or a period to create two sentences. 
    5. Missing comma after an introductory element: Introductory words, phrases, or clauses are set off from the rest of the sentence by a comma. When there is no chance of misreading, the comma can be omitted in the after very short phrases. 
    6. Missing comma(s) with a nonrestrictive element: A nonrestrictive element is a word, phrase, or clause that gives additional or optional information. This information is not essential to the meaning of the sentence and could be omitted. When such elements are embedded in a sentence, they are set off by a pair of commas; when they come at the beginning or end of a sentence, they are set off by a single comma. 
    7. Unnecessary comma(s) with a restrictive element: A restrictive element is a word, phrase, or clause that is essential to the meaning of the sentence; if it is deleted, the meaning of the sentence will change. A comma should not set off restrictive elements. 
    8. Missing comma in a series: a series consists of three or more parallel words, phrases, or clauses that appear consecutively in a sentence. Traditionally, all items in a series are separated by commas; however, some newspapers, magazines, and other professional media may leave out the final comma before and or or. Either way, be consistent. 
    9. Missing or misplaced possessive apostrophe: Use an –‘s, an –s’, or an –s’s to show a noun is possessive. If the noun does not end in an –s or is an indefinite pronoun (anybody, everyone, something), add an –‘s; if the noun is singular and has an –s ending, add –‘s. If the noun is plural and ends in –s, use only the apostrophe.