Common Errors

Common Errors PDF

  1. Capitalization: majors, random
    1. English, Chinese, French = yes
    2. PR = yes, but public relations and advertising = no
    3. Capitalizing Words Does Not Make Them More Important
  2. Redundancy, repetition – read aloud to catch it, remedy it (remove or replace)
  3. Typos: proofread; use spellcheck
    1. Write in WORD, cut and paste to discussion board
  4. Learn AP Style
    1. States: know the difference between postal, abbreviation and when to write out in full
    2. Dates: May 1, 2017, not May 1st
    3. Times: 9 a.m., not 9am
    4. Numbers: 1-9 = words, 10 and above = numerals; look them up there are exceptions
    5. Titles: lower case when standing alone, or after a name. Uppercase when preceding a name
    6. Fractions: look up how they are handled.
    7. USA = no periods. U.S.= periods as noted
  5. Agreement
    1. Pronouns: who = people, that = things/situations
    2. Nouns/verbs (singular/plural) should agree
    3. Verb tense: present, past, or future. They should agree and be “parallel” in form.
  6. Toward/towards, regard, regards. Generally do not use “s” in USA
    1. Regards is for feelings: Best regards to you and your family.
  7. Beware of “that” – it can be a crutch and is often overused. CTRL F7 to find overused words.
  8. Proofreading: see typos. Are you reading your work aloud? Is someone else proofing for you?
  9. Understand the “corporate entity” and use of pronouns. The “corporate entity” McDonalds, DePaul University, the Village of Oak Park are ALL singular. When you refer to them as a pronoun, use “it” or “its”—not “they/their” Sounds dumb. You don’t want to sound dumb.
    1. Old Spice ran a clever campaign; its brand benefited from humor and use of social media.
    2. McDonalds today announced that it will begin paying its workers $15/hour.
  10. Choose precise, accurate words, such as
    1. A part/apart:
      1. a part = means to be “part of”
      2. apart = means to be separate
    2. a lot/”alot” is not a word.
    3. “Without” is one word
    4. complement/compliment = complement is to complete; compliment is to praise
    5. loose vs. lose
    6. It’s/its. Know the difference. And many more…
  11. Use “number” when you can count something, “amount” when you cannot and must estimate
  12. Paragraph structure: keep it short and focused. New idea = new paragraph
  13. Fact check!
    1. Look things up to confirm their accuracy; it’s so easy.
    2. Names, titles, regions, etc.
    3. Is something one word or two? Hyphenated? Look it up. Get in the habit of looking things up.
  14. Possessives: one little apostrophe can undermine your credibility. Is it possessive? Plural possessive? Look it up. Use it right. Know the difference. For dates: ‘90s not 90’s
  15. Lastly: please, please don’t use “lastly.” Good writers don’t say “lastly.” They say “Finally.”