10 Common Writing Mistakes You Should Look out For

10 Common Writing Mistakes You Should Look out For

As a writer you want your work to stand out, To shine above its contemporaries. But this is easier said than done. This is because writing is a very complex and multifaceted art form.

There are so many ways that you can make your work great. There are also so many ways that you can make a mistake.

And with writing this can be very unfortunate because readers are quite finicky about mistakes. And this could damage your chances of getting readers in the future.

Which is why it is very important that your work is free of any mistakes. Be they grammatical or story wise.

Here are 10 common writing mistakes that you should really look out for and how to correct them.

1. Unfocused sentence composition

One of the most common mistakes committed by some writers is that their work tends to lose focus as the sentence goes on. This is usually committed during the middle of the sentence.

The starting sentence is on track with the main topic then as the paragraph continues the focus tends to veer from the main topic and becomes jumbled and distorted.

This usually happens when the writer wants to put too much content but does not take the time to fully explain every aspect of the sentence.

How to correct this:

Make your writing quick and concise. Making your work too superfluous would only make your work look unprofessional and cause you to veer off track.

Be straight to the point and avoid overly complicated sentence compositions. Flowery prose will only muck up your work and confuse the reader.

2. Misspelled words

This is by far one of the most embarrassing mistakes for any writer. With a lot of writing software nowadays having spellcheck features it is a very embarrassing thing to go through as a writer.

Sadly though this still remains the most common writing mistake committed by writers. This is mostly due to carelessness and the work being rushed.

How to correct this:

This is by far the easiest to correct. You should just double check your work every time you finish writing a sentence.

Although it is tempting to rely mostly on spellcheck you should at least have a secondary reference to check from. This could be an old fashioned dictionary or you can run a spell check through the internet just to make sure.

3. Wrong usage of words

This can be anything. You could have used compliment instead of complement while writing a letter to your boss or used adverse instead of averse in a term paper.

Whatever word you may have used they still have the same effect of making your work sound unprofessional and poorly written.

How to correct this:

Usually the reason why this mistake is committed in the first place is the fact that they sound alike and are almost spelled alike.

Thus with these types of words you will have to be wary and double check which ones are which. You can check a dictionary or better yet check it through the internet.

4. Overly long sentences

The use of overly long sentences is another example of mistakes committed by writers. They usually consist of sentences that contain too much information and end up convoluted and confusing. This mistake can be due to two reasons.

One reason is that the writer is trying to convey too much information to the reader but lacks the proper writing skills to properly write about it.

And the other reason is that the writers work lacks content and the author is trying to make the sentences longer with just filler words to cover it up.

How to correct this:

You should remember that it does not matter how long your sentences are. If your work lacks substance no amount of filler sentences will change that. Practice your writing style any chance you get. Practice is truly the only way to remedy this shortcoming.

5. Use of weak qualifiers

Using halfhearted words such as a little and almost weakens your sentence composition. It lessens the message of your writing and gives off a halfhearted feel to it.

This is detrimental to the sentence prose because it unconsciously stains your prose with timidity and lowers your credibility.

How to correct this:

When you write always remember that you are trying to convince readers that your book is worth reading.

Thus you should avoid using weak qualifiers because this make your prose sound weak and unconvincing. Try to make your prose sound strong and sure. This will make readers believe in your work.

6. Use of run on sentences

A run on sentence occurs when two independent clauses are connected improperly. Run on sentences usually contain too many ideas without proper punctuation.

Some writers make this mistake because they tend to forget proper punctuation use.

How to correct this:

You can correct a run-on sentence by connecting or separating its parts correctly. You can do this by adding a period and splitting the run on sentence into smaller sentences.

A semi-colon can also be added to intersect between two independent clauses to make the sentence a correct one.

You can also use a comma paired with a coordinating conjunction and subordinating conjunctions to make the sentence more grammatically correct.

7. Sentence fragments

Sentence fragments are a string of words that do not form a complete sentence. The missing part may be a predicate or a subject or when a sentence does not express a complete idea.

How to correct this:

The key to correcting sentence fragments is through revision. The important part of revising a sentence fragment is by distinguishing what is missing from the sentence.

Is it missing a subject? A verb? Is it a leftover phrase? An abandoned clause? Once you have identified what is missing you can revise it by adding what is missing or rewrite the whole sentence to make it more grammatically correct.

8. Improper use of Apostrophes

Apostrophes can be the bane of some writers. What may seem simple and easy to do for some is excruciating for others. But this mistake is one of the easiest to correct.

How to correct this:

The first thing you should understand is that the apostrophe is used for a reason. It is to either indicate a possession or a contraction. The only time that you don’t use an apostrophe is when the word used is plural.

9. Incomplete comparisons

This mistake entails the writer creating a sentence that compares something to nothing. For example you say that a boxer is faster, stronger, and quicker. But you don’t specify who he is better than. This could really frustrate readers because the sentence just sounds incomplete and awkward.

How to correct this:

The solution to this problem is pretty easy. Always make sure when you are comparing something to something else always state what that something is. This will save you from a lot of confusion.

10. Awkward sentence construction

These types of sentences are sentences that are confusing and difficult to read. Awkward sentences can usually be identified by certain characteristics.

These characteristics usually range from being too wordy, repetitive or having dangling modifiers. These factors tend to make the sentence appear nonsensical and can cause readers to judge that the book is badly written.

How to correct this:

If you think your sentence composition is awkward you should try to read it aloud. It is well known that you are more likely to spot a grammatical error if you read it aloud to yourself.

Another method is to minimize the number of words used. This will make the sentence more quick and concise.

One thing you should always remember when you write is to slow down. It is better to do things slow and steady and get the job done right. Rather than doing it fast and making mistakes in the long run.

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6 thoughts on “10 Common Writing Mistakes You Should Look out For

  1. Asman Mukolwe

    I’m aspiring to write well but falling short of all the areas mentioned. Is there a possibility of getting help?

  2. Mary

    This is a great article. Thank you for your writing pointers. I am presently grammar checking my first book I wrote. My worst problem that I found in my writing is run-on sentences. When I write I sometimes have ideas come so fast it’s hard to slow down the flow of ideas. Ha ha.
    It is good to have a list of possible errors next to my computer.

  3. Sybilla Cook

    It also helps to use “find and replace” for habitual weak words. I use it to go through my manuscript looking for “very” and “fair”–two words I seem to use often. Once I see them I either delete them or find a stronger adjective.

    My other tip is how to skip over places where you can;tthink of the word or name or idea, instead of stopping to consult your dictionary. Where youwant to recheck, type TK in the place, and then later use the find and replace feature. I was told this came from newpaper work–there are no English words that put those two letters together, and the TK stood for “to come” so the editor knew you were aware of the missing whatever.

  4. Deborah Tolley

    Spell checkers and tools like Hemingway App help to solve many of the mentioned issues. Writing software evolved throughout the years. If you know how to search, you’ll find even tools for plagiarism prevention (e.g. Unplag https://unplag.com).

    Respectful authors would tell you that you the most important part of your writing progress is not to imitate great authors, but to find your own writing style.

    If you write blog posts, you need to keep your sentences sweet and concise. But what if you write fiction? Hope, you got the idea.


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