9 rules to easily improve your writing now

There you are a little compilation of 9 of the most common errors that teachers come across when correcting their student’s writings. Keep them in mind when revising your papers and you will get rid instantaneously of many of them.

1. “To join two independent clauses, use a comma followed by a conjunction, a semicolon alone, or a semicolon followed by a sentence modifier.”


RULE 1 — EXAMPLES

Incorrect — Correct

The delivery boy knew he carried strange cargo, but still ventured off unafraid.
The delivery boy knew he carried strange cargo, but he still ventured off unafraid.

My math teacher doesn’t know how to lecture, she should have remained a student.
My math teacher doesn’t know how to lecture; she should have remained a student.

Gregor has not changed physically; but has given himself an excuse to separate himself from the pain of previous experiences.
Gregor has not changed physically; however, he has given himself an excuse to hide from the pain of previous experiences.

2. “Use commas to bracket non-restrictive/non-defining phrases, which are not essential to the sentence’s meaning.”


RULE 2 — EXAMPLES

Incorrect — Correct

The bus driver with her ears tuned to the roar decided to take the grumbling bus on a detour across the football field.
The bus driver, her ears tuned to the roar, decided to take the grumbling bus on a detour across the football field.

My window as dirty as it is reveals the beauty of nature on a snowy morning.
My window, as dirty as it is, reveals the beauty of nature on a snowy morning.

King and Lucille, his customized black Gibson have electrified audiences all over the world.
King and Lucille, his customized black Gibson, have electrified audiences all over the world.

3.”Do not use commas to bracket phrases that are essential/defining to a sentence’s meaning.”


RULE 3 — EXAMPLES

Incorrect — Correct

The man, who has too many ties, has too few necks.
The man who has too many ties has too few necks.

The cats, with six toes, are a unique attraction of the tour of Hemingway’s house.
The cats with six toes are a unique attraction of the tour of Hemingway’s house.

4.”When beginning a sentence with an introductory phrase or an introductory (dependent) clause, include a comma.”


Incorrect — Correct

After buying the five pound jar of marshmallow spread he set off in search of a bulk portion of peanut butter.
After buying the five pound jar of marshmallow spread, he set off in search of a bulk portion of peanut butter.

With this he bestows the responsibility of his own happiness on his mother and father.
With this, he bestows the responsibility of his own happiness on his mother and father.

As she begins to gain independence it is natural for Grete to regard the idea of dependency as repugnant.
As she begins to gain independence, it is natural for Grete to regard the idea of dependency as repugnant.

5.”To indicate possession, end a singular noun with an apostrophe followed by an “s”. Otherwise, the noun’s form seems plural.”


Incorrect — Correct

Though the lobsters claws were bound, the creature made a threatening gesture as they dropped it in the pot.
Though the lobster’s claws were bound, the creature made a threatening gesture as they dropped it in the pot.

In a democracy, anyones vote counts as much as mine.
In a democracy, anyone’s vote counts as much as mine.

There is a vast age difference between Victors mother and father.
There is a vast age difference between Victor’s mother and father.

6.”Make the subject and verb agree with each other, not with a word that comes between them.”


Incorrect — Correct

The Thanksgiving dinner, right down to the beautiful centerpiece, were devoured by the escaped grizzly.
The Thanksgiving dinner, right down to the beautiful centerpiece, was devoured by the escaped grizzly.

The cart, as well as its contents, were gone.
The cart, as well as its contents, was gone.

The girl, along with her classmates, like the new teacher.
The girl, along with her classmates, likes the new teacher.

7.”Be sure that a pronoun, a participial phrase, or an appositive refers clearly to the proper subject.”


Incorrect — Correct

Its hump decorated in strings of flowers, the programmer rode the camel through the food court.
The programmer rode the camel, its hump decorated in strings of flowers, through the food court.

8.” Use parallel construction to make a strong point and create a smooth flow.”


Incorrect — Correct

I was glad to be departing for Australia but I was nervous when I left my apartment.
I was glad to be departing for Australia but nervous to be leaving my apartment.

The system excels at tasks such as communicating with other computers, processing records, and mathematical calculations.
The system excels at tasks such as communicating with other computers, processing records, and calculating mathematical equations.

9.”Use the active voice unless you specifically need to use the passive.”


Incorrect — Correct

A refund was given to him by the hair regeneration company.
The hair regeneration company gave him a refund.

A good score was achieved by the team.
The team achieved a good score.

A box of chocolates and a dozen roses were presented to the girl by her boyfriend.
The boyfriend presented a box of chocolates and a dozen roses to the girl.

10.”Omit unnecessary words.”


Incorrect — Correct

I would like to assert that the author should be considered to be a buffoon.
The author is a buffoon.

It would be safe to say that Gregor Samsa is not the only character in Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis to undergo drastic changes.
Gregor Samsa is not the only character in Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis to undergo drastic change.

Before going to the supermarket, we made a list of the groceries we needed in order to make the food that we intended to eat for dinner.
Before going to the supermarket, we made a list of groceries that we needed to prepare dinner.

Hope you find these 9 rules useful to improve your writing! To keep on boosting your writing skills, check here!

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