Subject-Verb Agreement A singular subject must have a singular verb, and a plural subject must have a plural verb. Incorrect: The dogs is hungry. Correct: The dogs are hungry.
Verb Tense Verb tense must stay consistent. Otherwise, tense shift occurs. Incorrect: When I first started my job, I hate it. Correct: When I first started my job, I hated it.
Sentence Fragments A word group must contain a subject and a verb to be a complete sentence. Otherwise, if a subject or verb is missing, a sentence fragment occurs. Incorrect: I like pasta. Especially spaghetti and lasagna. Correct: I like pasta, especially spaghetti and lasagna.
Run-ons When two or more thoughts continue with no punctuation to divide them, a run-on occurs. To fix this, divide or combine thoughts with the appropriate punctuation or conjoining words. Incorrect: I hate math I love psychology. Correct: I hate math. I love psychology. Correct: I hate math, but I love psychology. Correct: I hate math; however, I love psychology.
Slang/ Word Choice Using sophisticated word choice and avoiding slang is necessary in college-level essays. Avoid words and phrases like: hang out, psyched, kid, teen, awesome, okay, psycho, pro. Incorrect: Tests make me freak. Correct: Tests make me nervous.
Spelling/ Wrong Word Make sure that words are spelled correctly, and that the correct words are being used (homonyms are words that sound alike but are spelled differently). Incorrect: Witch way should we go? Correct: Which way should we go?
Pronoun Problems A pronoun must refer to the proper antecedent. Incorrect: When he put the vase on the shelf, it broke. Correct: When he put the vase on the shelf, the shelf broke. Incorrect: She dropped out, for they did not teach very well. Correct: She dropped out, for the teachers did not teach very well.
Commas There are several uses for a comma. They are: to separate items in a series to set off introductory material before & after words that interrupt the flow of thought in a sentence before two complete thoughts connected by and, but, for, or, nor, so, yet to set off a direct quotation from the rest of a sentence.
Other Punctuation Apostrophe- Apostrophes have two uses: to show ownership/ possession, and to replace a missing letter in a contraction. Quotation Marks- Quotation marks are used to show a direct quotation.