Checking grammar, spelling and punctuation is an important final step before handing in. It's good to leave time for final proofreading, because small mistakes can give a marker a bad impression. Do use computer spelling and grammar checkers but don't rely on them. They don't find all mistakes - and sometimes they change words and punctuation that are in fact correct.
See below a list of common grammatical errors.
Recent discoveries about the weather reveal that several cycles are involved.
NOT: Recent discoveries about the weather reveals that several cycles are involved.
|Nouns and pronouns must agree in number
Children are encouraged to choose their activities freely.
NOT: Children are encouraged to choose his activities freely.
|Pronouns must agree with each other
Once you have decided to take the course, you must keep certain policies in mind
NOT: Once one has decided to take the course, you must keep certain policies in mind.
|Building parallel elements into a sentence adds clarity and emphasis
Eating huge meals, snacking between meals, and exercising too little can lead to obesity.
NOT: Eating huge meals, snacking between meals, and too little exercise can lead to obesity.
Wrong use of the word form can change the meaning of the sentences or wrong use of the verb form may give unclear sentence structure.
|It is difficult to choose the answer
NOT: It is difficult to choice the answer.
|It is important to have correct measurement of the water.
NOT: Measuring the water correctly is most important.
|Use a full stop or semicolon to separate two independent clauses, or join them with a coordinating conjunction.
We started to unpack our things, pretty soon we were ready for the beach.
OR: We started to unpack our things; pretty soon we were ready for the beach.
|Use a colon to introduce a list or a long or formal quotation after a complete sentence. Otherwise make the quotation part of the grammar of your sentence.
Strunk (1995) asserts that: "Too many programmes are already underfinanced" (p.87).
OR: Strunk's assertion (1995) "Too many programmes are already underfinanced" (p.87) is based on questionable assumptions.
Using Articles – (A, An, The), or No Article
It is important that the grammar, punctuation and spelling in your assignments are as correct as possible. One area that many students with English as an additional language find particularly difficult is using articles (for example a, an, the, or no article) because they may not have them in their language.
However, it is useful to remember that if you use the wrong article in your assignments, it usually doesn’t change the meaning. The content of your assignment and whether you have answered the question are much more important than correct grammar. Most of the time, only 10% of the total grade is given for correct grammar, spelling and punctuation.
Here is a brief list of the main rules for using a, an, the, and no article with examples for you to refer to.
Use of the, (the definite article)
Use of a/an (the indefinite article)
This flow chart may help you to choose the correct article. Go through the flow chart and ask yourself all the questions to find the most accurate answer.
Remember, use of articles is closely related to the context and the shared knowledge and understanding between the reader and writer. Therefore, it is most important to think about article use and practice in this way.
Some further points for you to remember