All the little details of writing are difficult, and even published authors can struggle to get everything right. Thankfully, these writers have editors who clean up the writing to make authors look their best.
Macmillan Publishers’ editors ranked the most common errors they see and shared some of their advice for writers.
- Misplaced commas – commas make the sentence make sense; wrongly placed, or lack of, can really change the context, as well as impact on readability.
- Wordy sentences – often in writing, just like in life, ‘less is more’; clear, clean writing is the aim.
- Run-on sentences – a run-on sentence isn’t just a long sentence; it’s one with incorrect or missing punctuation.
- Passive voice – avoid writing in the passive voice. A sentence is in passive voice when the subject is the target of the verb’s action instead of doing the verb’s action.
- Lack of parallel structure – items in a list (usually separated by commas) should share the same grammatical structure.
- Wrong word choice – did you write loose when you meant lose, or their when you meant there? Remember, spell checkers won’t pick this up…that’s why proofreading is critical.
- Sentence fragments – you can sometimes get away with this; but generally, ensure all your sentences are complete.
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