Grammar and Punctuation Errors to Watch for While Proofreading

Punctuation, Writing

10th October 2023

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Proofreading is a critical step in the writing process. It ensures that your work is polished, professional, and error-free. While proofreading software can be a valuable tool, there’s no substitute for a careful review by a human editor. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most common grammar and punctuation errors to watch for while proofreading.

Grammar Errors

1. Subject-Verb Agreement

Ensure that the subject and verb in a sentence agree in number and person. For example, “The cat and the dog is hungry” should be “The cat and the dog are hungry.”

2. Misplaced Modifiers

Modifiers should be placed as close as possible to the word they are modifying. For instance, “He almost drove his kids to school every day” should be “He drove his kids to school almost every day.”

3. Incorrect Verb Tense

Use the appropriate verb tense to convey the correct meaning and timeline. For example, “I wish I would have known” should be “I wish I had known.”

4. Double Negatives

Avoid using two negative words in the same clause, as this can create confusion. For example, “I don’t need no help” should be “I don’t need any help.”

Punctuation Errors

1. Comma Splices

A comma splice occurs when two independent clauses are joined with only a comma. This can be corrected by adding a coordinating conjunction or by using a semicolon. For instance, “He was tired, he went to bed” should be “He was tired, so he went to bed.”

2. Misuse of Apostrophes

Apostrophes are used to indicate possession or contraction, not pluralisation. For example, “Its raining” should be “It’s raining,” and “The cats toys” should be “The cat’s toys.”

3. Run-on Sentences

Run-on sentences occur when two or more independent clauses are joined without appropriate punctuation or conjunctions. These can be corrected by adding a period, a semicolon, or a conjunction. For instance, “She went to the store she bought some bread” should be “She went to the store. She bought some bread.”

4. Incorrect Capitalisation

Use capital letters to start sentences, for proper nouns, and for the first word in a direct quote. Avoid unnecessary capitalisation. For example, “She said, thank you” should be “She said, ‘Thank you.'”

5. Missing or Incorrect Quotation Marks

Ensure that direct quotes are enclosed in quotation marks and that punctuation is placed correctly. For example, “She said Thank you” should be “She said, ‘Thank you.'”

Take Your Writing to the Next Level

By paying careful attention to these common issues, you can ensure that your writing is polished, precise, and ready for publication. But why stop there? Our proofreading service can help you take your writing to the next level. Let our team of experienced editors, with a keen eye for detail, review and refine your project to perfection. Contact us now to get started!