When writing grammatically correct sentences, there are four main problems you must focus on. When you are trying to write a sentence, there are many things to consider. Obviously you need to have something to write about. But you want to make sure that your reader understands what you are trying to say. Your sentence must be grammatically correct.
Often times when we are speaking, we say things that might not be correct, grammatically speaking. Usually as long as you correct your mistakes, your listener will not have a problem understanding you. However, when you are writing, you clearly have more time to think about what you want to say than if you were speaking. This is why your sentences need to be correct.
Your reader must be able to understand the point you want to get across and not have to translate if your sentences are not formed correctly.
So here are four common mistakes people make when writing, and the way to recognize when you have made a mistake.
1. Sentence Fragments
These are ways to make sure that your sentence is complete and understandable to your readers.
a. Find the Subject
The student felt nervous before the speech. Thought about leaving the room.
Thought about leaving the room is a sentence fragment because there is no Subject in it. The question you should ask yourself when writing a sentence like this, is “WHO thought about leaving the room?”
b. Find the Verb
Many scientists such as Einstein think in strange ways.
Many Scientists think in strange ways, Einstein for example.
c. Avoid “cliff hangers”/danger words
Here is the incorrect way first –
1. If you come home.
2. When the rain falls.
Now here they are correctly formed –
1. If you come home, remember to buy laundry soap
2. When the rain falls, it always floods the basement.
2. Run-on Sentences
A “run-on sentence” is 2 or more simple sentences that do not have the correct and appropriate punctuation.
Here is the incorrect way first –
1. John is a musician and he plays the guitar for a living.
2. There is a problem with the television however there is no one available to fix it.
Now these are correct –
1. John is a musician, and he plays the guitar for a living.
2. There is a problem with the television, however there is no one available to fix it.
What do you notice about the new sentences? That’s right. The punctuation has been added to separate the two sentences. This can only be done once though. If you were to add another sentence, even if you used another comma, it would be incorrect.
3. Subject Verb Agreement (She is / It jumps)
The group of students are complaining about grades.
The word “are” is singular and is incorrect when talking about more than one student.
A recipe with more than six ingredients IS too complicated.
Although we are talking about many ingredients, our subject is “A Recipe”. Therefore we should use the word “is” in this sentence.
Fill in the blank ………A manager should always be honest with ___________ employees.
You should have said “his” employees. We are speaking of only one manager. Therefore “his” is our only option. If our sentence had started with “Managers should….”, then we would have filled in the blank with “their”.
4. Parallel Structure
When constructing a sentence, all the adjectives should agree in form. You do not want contrasting adjectives (or adjectives that are not of the same meaning). Here are a couple examples so you can understand where and how to use the parallel structure for adjectives.
He is a strong and tough competitor.
The new coach is a smart strategist, an effective manager and he works hard.