Lisa Li, MA Student, Department of English │ ISSUE66 MAR2017 MyUM
Effective Writing – 7 Grammar Tips
It’ll soon be term-paper time, again! The following tips may come in handy when writing academic papers.
✗ The girl with the black and white cats have a bike.
✓ The girl with the black and white cats has a bike.
2.Comma after introductory element
Remember to include a comma after an introductory word, phrase or clause. This often can help avoid causing confusion.
✗ In case you haven’t noticed you’re not the only one who has to meet deadlines.
✓ In case you haven’t noticed, you’re not the only one who has to meet deadlines.
3.Sentence fragments? No!
✗ I didn’t eat much at tea time. Because of a big lunch.
✓ I didn’t eat much at tea time because I had a big lunch.
✗ We can start our picnic. As soon as Lisa gets here.
✓ As soon as Lisa gets here, we can start our picnic.
Note: Each of the incorrect sentences contains an element, or a fragment, that does not express a complete thought.
4.Run-on Sentences? No!
A run-on sentence is a sentence in which two or more independent clauses (sentences that can stand on their own) are joined together improperly.
✗ Lisa went to the farm, she saw cows.
✓ Lisa went to the farm, and she saw cows.
✓ Lisa went to the farm; she saw cows.
✓ Lisa went to the farm. She saw cows.
✗ She tried to sneak out of the house her mother saw her leaving.
✓ She tried to sneak out of the house, but her mother saw her leaving.
Note: Coordinating conjunction (such as ‘for’, ‘and’, ‘so’, ‘nor’, ‘but’, ‘or’, ‘yet’) is needed to connect independent clauses. You can also do so by making use of punctuation marks; for example, a semicolon or a full stop, as shown above.
✗ The directives of his boss were clear: meet monthly sales quota, aggressive marketing techniques, reporting every day.
✓ The directives of his boss were clear: meet monthly sales goals, practise aggressive marketing techniques, report every day.
6.Clear pronoun reference
A vague pronoun reference can leave your reader confused!
✗ When Jonathan finally found his dog, he was so happy . (The dog, or Jonathan?)
✓ Jonathan was so happy when he finally found his dog.
There are a variety of words that are commonly confused and mis used.
✗ It was a breathe of fresh air to meet someone so genuine.
✓ It was a breath of fresh air to meet someone so genuine.
✗ I’ll join you latter at the cinema.
✓ I’ll join you later at the cinema.
Remember: the above are only SOME of the commonly seen errors.
Do go through your writing carefully before submission! Good luck with your writing assignments ☺
Contributions to this column are from the Department of English, Faculty of Arts and Humanities