Post: Do you make these common grammar mistakes?


Is there really such a thing as perfect grammar? It seems logical to assume that the average person will make grammar mistakes now and then. Writers make them, too—heck, even editors make them. However, with a system of checks and balances in place (I.e., writers submitting their work to editors for review) such errors can be identified and revised. Publishers do not enjoy receiving manuscripts from would-be authors that obviously have not been properly edited. 

This type of thing wastes everyone’s time. A surprising number of people do it anyway; they think their own editing skills are sufficient, and they send a manuscript in for consideration only to get it right back, along with a rejection letter and a recommendation to have it professionally edited before sending it to another publisher. There are several common grammar errors that seem to work their way into a lot of people’s writing. Make sure these mistakes don’t pop up in your work. 

Make sure you complete your comparisons

A common grammar mistake many writers make is incomplete comparisons. If you write, “He was a much faster runner,” your readers will be left wondering what the rest of the comparison might be. Is he a much faster runner than another person? He is much faster now that he has been training five days per week and lost 10 pounds? Always check your comparisons to make sure they are complete. For example: He was a much faster runner this season than he had been in previous years. 

Are you putting modifiers in the wrong places?

Look at this sentence: He almost ate the entire pizza. This sentence is an example of another common grammar error many writers make known as a “misplaced modifier.” The way it is currently written, readers will think the person didn’t eat anything at all. He “almost” ate. The revised sentence should look like this: He ate almost the entire pizza. 

In addition to misplacing a modifier, you might leave one dangling. A dangling modifier might confuse your readers. For instance, if you write that “A gold girl’s necklace was lying under the tree,” your readers might envision a human being who has been painted gold rather than a piece of gold jewelry.

Avoid your/you’re and their/they’re/there mistakes

A surprising number of writers confuse these words. “Their going to the store,” or “Your the best friend I’ve ever had.” Try to remember when to use which, and, if you can’t, ask someone to review your work to check for errors. Also, remember that words with an apostrophe followed by an ‘r’ and an ‘e’ are contractions, not possessive pronouns. 

Grammar errors occur often in writing, which is why it’s always best to seek a professional review before sending your work to a publisher. It’s also a good idea to keep a few resources on-hand, in case you encounter grammar challenges while writing.