Correct This (3 errors) I said to rob that I was gunna go to the shop’s. I said to Rob that I was going to go to the shops.
Informal language Do not use informal words such as “wanna” and “gunna”. Use “want to” and “going to” instead. Informal words can be used in direct speech only. Even then, use them rarely.
Profanity Adult fiction writers sometimes use profanity effectively in their writing. Profanity has no place in your school writing.
Correct This (2 errors) After the movie we went out for a couple of pizza’s. After the movie, we went out for a couple of pizzas.
Commas After a Dependant Clause When you start a sentence with a condition, you need a comma before the main clause. Generally, the comma goes before the subject. When in doubt, read it and listen for the pause.
Correct This (4 errors) After 2 years the police dog’s were fully trained After two years, the police dogs were fully trained.
Numbers Write numbers under 101 as words. I will be gone for 2 days. I will be gone for two days. Numerals can be used for scores and complex numbers. Pi is 3.14 We won the game, 80 – 62 points.
Finish Your Stories You should be writing a complete story in fifteen minutes. Have a strong opening sentence. Have a strong and clear concluding sentence.
Too Short All of you should be writing at least a page. You will need to write at this speed to complete either VCE or VCAL at Year 11.
Correct This (6 errors) I went down the street too see Jack james and peter, we were going to the movie’s. I went down the street to see Jack, James and Peter. We were going to the movies.
Capital Letters Start sentences with capital letters. All words in a name start with capital letters. Do not write in mixed caps. I went to the MoVieS. This is not cute. It makes you look illiterate.
Correct This (4 errors) We past there house alot on the way to School. We passed their house a lot on the way to school.
Commonly Confused Words Past – earlier in time Passed – past tense of “to pass” There – over there Their – belonging to them They’re – short for “they are” Alot – not a word. A lot – the two words you want to write.
Correct This (4 errors) Indiana went 2 the park, she loves it their. Indiana went to the park. She loves it there.
Comma Splice A comma is not used to join two sentences. Use a semi-colon, a comma and a conjunction, or just make it two sentences.
Correct This (5 errors) Vlad asked too borrow Ivans car but Ivans car was to broken to drive. Vlad asked to borrow Ivan’s car, but Ivan’s car was too broken to drive.
Missing Apostrophes When a noun is possessive, it needs an apostrophe. Sam’s tractor. Sally’s jet. Possessive pronouns are already possessive and don’t need an apostrophe. His tractor. Her jet.
Apostrophes and Words Finishing With S There is some disagreement here. Some people just put an apostrophe. Bess’ jet. Some put the S as well. Bess’s jet. As a rule, if you say it, there write it. Bess’s jet Next weeks’ work.
Correct This (6 errors) I went to the shop’s to by tomato’s, pears peaches and a bag of potatoe’s. I went to the shops to buy tomatoes, pears, peaches and a bag of potatoes.
Extra Apostrophes Most plurals do not need a apostrophe. It is optional for acronyms and where it would be confusing without one. I bought some DVD’s and CD’s. I had seven A’s in my Scrabble rack.
Correct This (4 errors) Before teaching I worked at Telstra and I really enjoyed it because it was well paid and I liked playing with all the gadgets. Before teaching, I worked at Telstra, and I really enjoyed it. It was well paid, and I liked playing with all the gadgets.
Run on sentences A main clause has a subject and a predicate. A predicate is what happened to the subject. You can join two of these together but not more. I went to the shops, then I had lunch, and I am really tired. (Three main clauses) I went to the shops, then I had lunch. I am really tired.
Correct This (4 errors) He’s going to say he didn’t wanna go and won’t change his mind. He is going to say that he did not want to go and will not change his mind.
Contractions In formal writing, do not use contractions like won’t and don’t. Use the full words, “will not” and “do not” instead. You can use contractions in direct speech, but don’t overdo it.
Spelling When it doubt, check a dictionary. Carry a dictionary. Paperback. iPod/iPhone. Mobile phone.