Thursday, February 16, 2017

Common Grammar Mistakes You Should Avoid (Part 1)

How many times have you received a school paper full of red marks? What does your teacher always indicate in her comments? “Observe subject-verb agreement”? “Wrong pronoun”? “Inaccurate description”?

How about now, how do you assess your grammar skills? Do you think you will still receive a paper full of red marks when you come up with an essay?

ielts review

Takers of English proficiency aptitude tests (e.g., IELTS or TOEFL) join tutoring centers to have their language skills assessed and improved. Aside from speaking fluently, listening attentively, reading carefully and writing cohesively, IELTS review centers polish students’ grammar. They offer IELTS online reviews for test takers who could not take a day’s off from work.

It is important that you observe correct use of grammar as it forms part of the assessment of your English language proficiency, specifically in the Writing and Speaking subtests (Grammatical Range and Accuracy). It increases your chances of getting a high score not only in the IELTS exam but in other English language assessment tests as well. Moreover, it shows your ability to express yourself and convey messages clearly.

Here are some common grammar mistakes:

•    Subject-verb agreement – A lot of people get confused when it comes to the subject-verb agreement. As a general rule, a singular subject takes a singular verb. The same thing goes for a plural subject = plural verb.

Examples:
  • Incorrect: The two awesome things about the party was the theme and the venue.
  • Correct: The two awesome things about the party were the theme and the venue.
  • Incorrect: Physics are her favorite subject.
  • Correct: Physics is my favorite subject. (Physics, although plural in form, is singular in meaning.)
 •    Incomplete comparisons – Whenever people use adjectives in comparative degree, they forget to indicate to which they are comparing someone/something to.

Examples:

  • Incorrect: I like Carmina because she is smarter and more beautiful.
  • Correct: I like Carmina because she is smarter and more beautiful than Mary.
  • Incorrect: These blue jeans fit more like a glove.
  • Correct: These blue jeans fit more like a glove than those white jeans.
•    Sentence Fragments – A sentence fragment is an incomplete sentence. It does not have a subject, a verb or both.

Examples:

  • Incorrect: Show no progress in your condition.
  • Correct: The results show no progress in your condition.
  • Incorrect: Discovered the cause of the plague.
  • Correct: Scientists discovered the cause of the plague.
•    Misused/Missing Punctuations – Punctuations can change the meaning of the sentence and confuse readers.

Examples:
  • Incorrect: Without those reports they cannot proceed with the deliberation.
  • Correct: Without those reports, they cannot proceed with the deliberation.
  • Incorrect: I don’t think I should be the one to apologize to her; and I’m sure she feels the same way.
  • Correct 1: I don’t think I should be the one to apologize to her; I’m sure she feels the same way. (A semicolon can be used in place of coordinating conjunctions.)
  • Correct 2: I don’t think I should be the one to apologize to her, and I’m sure she feels the same way. (Use a comma to separate two independent clauses.)
•    Passive Voice – In a passive voice, the subject is the receiver of the action. Constructing sentences in a passive voice is not really a grammatical error. It is more of a stylistic issue than an error. However, it is encouraged to construct sentences in the active voice than in the passive voice.

Examples:

  • Incorrect: The presentation was created by Sam.
  • Correct: Sam created the presentation.
  • Incorrect: An experimental medical procedure was performed yesterday.
  • Correct: Surgeons performed an experimental medical procedure yesterday.
Are you guilty of any of these errors? Do not worry because it is not yet too late for you to learn and master the basic rules of grammar. Start reading books with simple wording, like those for kids (whether creative books or textbooks). Observe the subject-verb agreement, how comparisons are presented and if there are sentence fragments. Check these books use punctuations and if there are sentences constructed using the passive voice.

If you do not have much time to enroll in IELTS review centers for coaching, you may subscribe to IELTS online reviews, where instructors administer mock exams that are at par with the actual exam.

*Read on for more common grammar mistakes in Part 2.



References:
  • "Subject-Verb Agreement." GrammarBook.com. Accessed December 11, 2016. http://grammarbook.com/grammar/subjectVerbAgree.asp.
  • "14 Common Grammatical Mistakes in English - And How to Avoid Them." Oxford Royale Academy. Accessed December 11, 2016. https://www.oxford-royale.co.uk/articles/15-common-grammar-gripes-avoid.html.
  • "15 Common Grammar Mistakes That Kill Your Writing Credibility." Authority Pub. Accessed December 11, 2016. http://authority.pub/common-grammar-mistakes/.

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