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Home: Common Writing Mistakes

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Little Annoying Words

These little words are overused in writing. Please use more descriptive words to elevate your writing.

  • thing
  • ways
  • put
  • went
  • get/got
  • stuff
  • make/makes
  • good/great
  • go/goes
  • like
  • cool
  • it says
  • it's like
  • very
  • wicked
  • totally
  • really

Common Mistakes

Common Writing Mistakes:

  1. Capitalization errors:  Capitalize the first word in every sentence.  Capitalize proper names.  
  2. Do not use first or second person proper nouns in academic writing (you or I).
  3. Do not use contractions in academic writing (can’t, don’t, he’ll, etc.)
  4. Misspellings (Common ones: their, they’re, there).
  5. Run-on sentences: Use punctuation properly to break up sentences.
  6. Fragments: A sentence missing a verb or a phrase.
  7. Tone: Do not use a casual tone in academic writing.  For example, no exclamation points, slang, or language that sounds like you’re talking to your friend.
  8. Citation errors: You should have a citation after a paraphrase or quote.
  9. Don't start a sentence with BUT or AND.

Before and After Box

Before (Elephant Dentistry):

Cleaning a tusk is really tough! To clean a tusk, you put the elephant in a harness in the zoo’s medical room. their the dentist carefully cleans the hard and soft deposits around the gumline after flossin the tusks are polished with a Special Elephant Formula made by the famous dentist, dr. simmons.  X-rays for elephants like every two years.  And if the tusk’s beyond saving, you have to remove it for the good of the elephant.

Common Spelling Mistakes

your - you're
your is possessive: "your momma"
you're is a contraction for "you are"
there - their - they're
there is directional: "over there"
their is possessive: "their apples"
they're is a contraction for "they are"
its - it's 
its is possessive: "dog wagged its tail"
it's is a contraction for "it is"
affect - effect
affect is a verb: "affect my future"
effect is a noun "the effect of music"
to - too - two
to is a preposition: "to the store"
too means as well: "I'm going too."
two is plural: "there are two of us"
were - we're - where
were is a past tense verb: "they were upset"
which witch
weather - whether
because cause
know now
does dose
though through thorough threw
then than


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Jennifer Jourdain
Montachusett Regional Voc Tech School
1050 Westminster Street
Fitchburg, MA 01420
(978) 345-9200 x5125