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The Top Ten Errors

According to the results of a 2007 study by the Department of English and Humanities, the ten surface errors that appear most frequently in SSU student writing are:

1. Comma errors

Wrong: America's attention span, is zilch.
Correct: America's attention span is zilch.

2. Pronoun errors

Wrong: One may add their friends' screen names to their IM lists.
Correct: Users may add their friends' screen names to their IM lists.

Wrong: Her and my father have been married for 15 years.
Correct: She and my father have been married for 15 years.

3. Spelling errors (including homophone errors)

Wrong: We should screen officers before they leave the seen.
Correct: We should screen officers before they leave the scene.

4. Wrong-word errors

Wrong: The only antic dote was in the safe beside him.
Correct: The only antidote was in the safe beside him.

5. Capitalization errors

Wrong: These features include caller id, call waiting, and long distance.
Correct: These features include caller ID, call waiting, and long distance.

Wrong:Religion is Different than Science in many ways.
Correct: Religion is different than science in many ways.

6. Missing words

Wrong: Six percent of the people used to help control diarrhea.
Correct: Six percent of the people in one study used medical marijuana to help control diarrhea.

7. Sentence boundary errors

Wrong: Even less addictive than caffeine and nicotine.
Correct: Marijuana is even less addictive than caffeine and nicotine.

Wrong: I do not think that America's weight problem is something the government should be concerned about, they have bigger fish to fry.
Correct: I do not think that America's weight problem is something the government should be concerned about. They have bigger fish to fry.

Wrong: The employer is put into the middle of the situation because one or the other will request a transfer to another department if the workplace is big enough this may not be a problem.
Correct:The employer is put into the middle of the situation because one or the other will request a transfer to another department. If the workplace is big enough, this may not be a problem.

8. Unnecessary words

Wrong: I will tell you as where that I stand at this point.
Correct: I will tell you where I stand at this point.

9. Quotation mark errors

Wrong: Clinton added, "I believe we must respect this profound gift and resist the temptation to replicate ourselves (Cole-Turner 113)."

Correct:Clinton added, "I believe we must respect this profound gift and resist the temptation to replicate ourselves" (qtd. in Cole-Turner 113).

10. Inappropriate tense shifts

Wrong: Wallace set the museum on fire while they are both still in it. Jarrod tried to stop Wallace, but was unsuccessful.
Correct:Wallace set the museum on fire while they were both still in it. Jarrod tried to stop Wallace, but was unsuccessful.


Writing Center

Contact Information

Writing Center
Clark Memorial Library Room 120 

Shawnee State University
940 Second Street
Portsmouth, OH 45662

Phone: (740) 351-3488
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Monday-Thursday 10 am-6 pm
Friday 10 am-2 pm

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