Funny Misplaced Modifiers and Other Common Writing Mistakes

misplaced modifierIndies Unlimited has all kinds of editing resources for writers. We even have real-life editors who take a spot at the gruel pot.

Because I am not an editor, while I’m reading a novel that interests me, the occasional typo or misplaced modifier is likely to fly right past me. In spite of that, I’m a writing tutor for Pearson/Smarthinking. It’s okay. I can pay attention when I have to.

I tutor over 100 students per month on higher-level orders such as thesis statements, content development, and organization. I also coach them on lower-level issues such as noun-verb agreement, sentence structure, and misplaced modifiers.

Over time, I’ve come to see the same lower-level mistakes again and again. Some are so sneaky that we can read a passage, know something isn’t quite right, but have no idea what it is.

Here are some of the sneakiest errors I see: Continue reading “Funny Misplaced Modifiers and Other Common Writing Mistakes”

6 Tips for National Grammar Day

To celebrate National Grammar Day, we have an infographic on what some folks feel are advanced grammar mistakes. These grammar tips go beyond the basics because even the most seasoned writer can make a mistake. Highlights include the misuse of number and numeral and split infinitives. The English language has many obscure grammar rules that even the most veteran authors can miss.

We want to thank Instructional Solutions for working with us to create this infographic. Do you have a favorite grammar rule that is not on the list? Let us know in the comments section below.

Click to enlarge

Writing Tip: Word Order Creates Meaning

in writing, keep your DUCKS IN A ROWI am going to let you in on a well-guarded secret. Grammar was not invented to give your Grade 10 English teacher a chance to make your life miserable. It was created to ensure sentences say what we mean them to. And word order is one of the basic tools.

Here’s a rule you can bank on to solve 95% of your problems in this area. Sentence elements with relationships are closer to each other. Stands to reason. If a guy and a girl spend the whole party at opposite ends of the house, chances are they aren’t in a relationship. (Well, maybe a strange one…)

So if we take this sentence: Continue reading “Writing Tip: Word Order Creates Meaning”

Don’t Write “Instinctively”

for writers INSTINCTIVELYI may have mentioned in my post a couple of months ago that inept critics, academics and bloggers may create awareness of a certain usage simply to give themselves something to write about. That was me in my curmudgeonly mode. Now I hope to redeem myself by committing a like deed for positive reasons: creating awareness because I see overuse and misuse of a word.

And to show how much time good writers spend on choosing their words (or how obsessive certain people get about word choice), I’m going to spend this whole article on the usage of one word: instinctively.

Show and Tell

The first argument against using any adverb is when it is being used to prop up a dull verb. Showing an action or emotion is more effective than telling about it. Continue reading “Don’t Write “Instinctively””