Top Common Grammatical Mistakes to avoid in Your Paper
There’s nothing more gratifying for a researcher than to get their manuscript published. The opposite is also quite true when their manuscript gets rejected because of preventable grammatical errors. This article will explore the most common grammatical mistakes discovered in manuscripts. When researchers learn to avoid these mistakes by revising their work, they inevitably enhance their chances of manuscript publication.
Common Mistakes that Result in Manuscript Rejection
- Insufficient Literature Review: A section of researchers are generally ill-equipped to discover the literature that adds true value to their work. As manuscripts are often expected to have robust coverage, utilizing obsolete literature can result in rejection straight away.
- Research & Methodological Errors: Each research work has a distinct methodology that the author (researcher) is required to comply with. The complicated nature of research analysis, at times, causes certain authors to showcase deficient data analysis. Inadequate data instantly puts the genuineness of any manuscript in doubt.
- Plagiarism of Material & References: Though the consequences of plagiarism are always severe, it is still, oddly, widely prevalent in the academic community. This critical mistake includes manuscripts that have a ‘letter for letter’ text from a known literature source. In the majority of cases, plagiarized work gets instantly flagged for rejection.
Most Common Grammatical Mistakes
Typos surely affect the credibility of a manuscript. Certain grammatical mistakes can change the entire meaning of a statement. Avoid typos by investing time in editing your work attentively.
Generally, a list of items starts with a colon.
Wrong: I want to send these gifts to my cousins, Novels, Watches, and Perfumes.
Right: I want to send these gifts to my cousins: Novels, Watches, and Perfumes.
There is a rule for colon usage in lists. If the part of the sentence prior to the colon is incomplete without the part that comes after, then the colon must be avoided.
Wrong: My brother’s favorite outdoor activities are: Horseracing, Marathons & Hiking.
Right: My brother’s favorite outdoor activities are Horseracing, Marathons & Hiking.
Semicolons usually separate two sentences that are related directly. But, incorrect use of semicolons needs to be avoided.
Wrong: London is the world’s financial capital, it is also super expensive.
Right: London is the world’s financial capital; it is also super expensive.
Omitting or misplacing commas can change the entire meaning of a sentence. For instance,
Wrong: Anyhow I must book the cab now or I may miss my flight.
Right: Anyhow, I must book the cab now, or I may miss my flight.
Commas also follow abbreviations such as e.g., i.e., etc., though not compulsory, the majority of the style guides favor using a comma after these acronyms.
An incorrectly placed apostrophe can totally change the meaning of the sentence. Apostrophes signify contractions, possessive forms, etc. Plural forms must never have apostrophes.
Wrong: The ring is beautiful, but I cannot take it as its your’s
Right: The ring is beautiful, but I cannot take it as it’s yours
The words “its” and “it’s” have the same phonetic sound, but totally different meanings. “it’s” can mean either “it is” or “it has.” “Its” represents a possessive form.
Wrong: The tiger is losing it’s eyesight.
Right: The tiger is losing its eyesight.
Periods Before or After the Quotation Marks
Periods signify the completion of a sentence. Often, the writers forget to put the period due to oversight or hurry. Even more intriguing question is whether to put the period before or after the quotation marks. There’s no definite rule here as both options are correct, depending on the style guide. In British English, the period comes after the quotes – American English does it the other way round.
American English: She shouted, “Do not enter that old building; it’s haunted.”
British English: He said, “Do not enter that old building; it’s haunted.”
Overuse of Exclamation marks
Excessive use of exclamation marks diminishes the impact of each exclamation mark. They need to be utilized judiciously to ensure they do not lose their value and make the reader feel overwhelmed.
Hyphens, Em dash, and En dash
Punctuation marks such as hyphens, en dash and em dash appear similar but vary in length and usage. Hyphen is utilized to link two or more words serving as a single adjective prior to a noun, such as “73-year-old veteran.” En dash is shorter than the Em dash but longer than a hyphen. Here’s an example of Em dash & En Dash usage:
Em dash: The employees —who were on leave—serendipitously escaped the tragedy.
En dash: Anyone who is in the age range of 13-19 can audition for the lead role.
Lengthy & Complicated Sentence Structures
Long sentences that contain numerous ideas without punctuation are often difficult to understand. Shorter & crisper sentences can convey the exact message in a simpler way.
Wrong: The most remarkable aspect of Australia is its unmatched wildlife, and each year in December, thousands of tourists arrive to watch the Boxing Day test match in Melbourne, and tourists then go on to relish the fireworks & celebrations of the New Year on the legendary Sydney Harbor Bridge!
Right: The most remarkable aspect of Australia is its unmatched wildlife. Each year in December, thousands of tourists arrive to watch the Boxing Day test match in Melbourne. Tourists then go on to relish the fireworks & celebrations of the New Year on the legendary Sydney Harbor Bridge!
Academic writing demands time & meticulous effort, but it’s also more rewarding. Always look out for standard grammatical mistakes. Plagiarism is often accidental – that’s why it’s advisable to double-check to make sure your writing is 100% original. There’s plenty of merit in proofreading your work every time.
From a personal perspective, what are the grammatical mistakes you make frequently? Were some of them addressed & resolved in this post? Do let us know your views and recommendations in the comments section below. Thank you for reading & good luck with getting published.