Effective Writing – 7 Grammar Tips

17 Aug 2017


English Corner(March)

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.

1.Subject-verb agreement

✗ 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.

Example a:

✗ 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!

Example a:

✗ 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.

Example b:

✗ 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.

Example a:

✗ 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.

Example b:

✗ 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.

5.Parallel structure

✗ 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.

7.Word choice

There are a variety of words that are commonly confused and mis used.

Example a:

✗ It was a breathe of fresh air to meet someone so genuine.

✓ It was a breath of fresh air to meet someone so genuine.

Example b:

✗ 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

https://e-myum.co.umac.mo/engcorner_mar2017/?lang=en

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