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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.


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