Following grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and word choice rules can help you write more clearly, fluently, and persuasively.

Make sure to leave plenty of time for editing and proofreading in any type of writing. This article will walk you through some common blunders to avoid.

Punctuation

Punctuation marks indicate where each idea begins and ends, as well as how they relate to one another, in a text. A punctuation mark can be added, removed, or moved to correct some of the most common grammatical errors.

When should you use commas and when should you use a colon or semicolon instead?

Although dashes and hyphens look similar, they serve different purposes; avoid mixing them up and double-check your work.

It’s critical to avoid plagiarism in academic writing, so make sure to use quotation marks whenever you use someone else’s words. Check that you’ve utilized the necessary quotation marks, punctuation, and that the quote has been properly integrated into your own content.

When forming the possessive with singular and plural nouns, make sure you use apostrophes correctly.

Capitalization

Understanding the difference between common and proper nouns is necessary for capitalization rules in English. Some of the most common errors in academic writing involve capitalizing models, theories, and disciplines.

You should also make sure that your capitalization for titles and headings is consistent.

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Learn about proofreading and editing.

Structure of sentences

In English, basic word order principles dictate that a subject be followed by a verb. Learn how to prevent typical sentence construction errors including fragments and run-on sentences. Try to compose sentences with different lengths and structures.

Follow the laws of parallel structure to guarantee that the various aspects of your sentences are correctly balanced.

Learn how to correct dangling and misplaced modifiers to avoid confusingly formed statements.

Verbs

Verbs are the action words in a phrase that tell us what happens. To make it obvious who or what is performing an activity, subject-verb agreement is critical.

The tenses of verbs indicate when an action occurs. Make sure you’re using tenses consistently and accurately. Whether you’re stating facts, making generalizations, explaining the content of a text, reporting finished actions, or addressing events with ongoing significance determines the suitable tense.

Phrasal verbs are verbs that combine two or more words to produce a new meaning. Consider replacing them with one-word replacements because they can be challenging to employ and are occasionally too informal for academic writing.

Word selection

Some words are frequently misunderstood or confused by students.

Articles

In English, there are two sorts of articles: definite (the) and indefinite (a/an). It’s crucial to pick the proper one to go with a noun. Single, multiple, and uncountable nouns have various rules.

Prepositions

Prepositions express the relationships between sentence parts (e.g. in, on, to, by, of, since). They can be used to explain time, location, direction, and a variety of abstract and logical connections.

In English, there are many different prepositions, and many of them have many meanings. Reading and practice are the only ways to learn them all.

Pronouns

Pronouns are words that act as noun substitutes (e.g. they, it, him, this). Make it clear which noun you’re referring to at all times.

In academic writing, avoid using second-person pronouns (you, yours). Depending on the discipline and type of document, first-person pronouns (I, we) are sometimes appropriate.

Conjunctions

Conjunctions are words that link the pieces of a phrase together. There are various forms of conjunctions, each with its own set of functions and restrictions.

Frequently misunderstood terms

This/that, which/that, who/whom, affect/effect, and various variants of the term study are all widely mistaken or misused. Learn more about how to distinguish between them.