Common Form Errors

Proper vs. Common Nouns

Common nouns refer to things in general and are not capitalized.

Proper nouns refer to specific things and are capitalized.

Problem

Assignments are due at 7:00 am friday morning.

i chose this city because i am a huge fan of country music.

Solution

Assignments are due at 7:00 am Friday morning.

I chose this city because I am a huge fan of country music.

Sentence Fragments

A sentence fragment is a part of a sentence punctuated as if it were a complete sentence. It is a group of words that begins with a capital letter and ends with a period, exclamation point, or a question mark, but does not express a complete thought.

Phrases, such as lists of items, that are not complete sentences should not have trailing punctuation, or they are considered sentence fragments.

Problem

Human, physical, and GIS.

Before 7am each Friday morning.

Statistical data relating to the population and particular groups within it.

Solution

Human, physical, and GIS

Friday morning at 7am is when assignments are due for this class.

Demographics are statistical data relating to the population and particular groups within it.

Comma Splices

A comma splice is two independent clauses connected with a comma.

Problem

The range of latitude is from -90 degrees, to +90 degrees, it can't be more than that.

Solution

The range of latitude is from -90 degrees, to +90 degrees. It can't be more than that.

Possessive vs. Plural

For most nouns, adding an apostrophe and an 's' makes it possessive meaning it becomes an adjective describing ownership of another noun: John's Manhattan apartment is tiny.

Simply adding an 's' with no apostrophe makes a singular noun plural, meaning that the noun represents multiple things: Manhattan apartments are usually tiny.

The exception to this general rule is its vs. it's:

  1. its is possessive: John's apartment building is new and its lobby is quite impressive.
  2. it's is a contraction for it is: It's hard to find a cheap apartment in Manhattan.

Problem

Assignments are due on Friday morning's at 7am.

Britains navy ruled the waves, so there was no need to waive it's rules.

Solution

Assignments are due on Friday mornings at 7am.

Britain's navy ruled the waves, so there was no need to waive its rules.

There vs. Their

There is an adverb indicating a location:

Their is an adjective indicating ownership of something.

Problem

Technically their is a test everyday. Their is no midterm or final.

It looks like their is a small farm and a golf course nearby.

There response was noncommittal.

Solution

Technically there is a test everyday. There is no midterm or final.

It looks like there is a small farm and a golf course nearby.

Their response was noncommittal.

Then vs. Than

Then has multiple uses involving time:

Than is a conjunction usually used to make comparisons: My car is more fuel-efficient than yours.

Problem

North Korea is focusing on other things like bombs rather then their economy.

I believe that Google Maps is a reference map because it mostly shows geographic areas rather then specific themes.

Solution

North Korea is focusing on other things like bombs rather than their economy.

I believe that Google Maps is a reference map because it mostly shows geographic areas rather than specific themes.

To vs. Too

To is a preposition that shows direction: She drove to work.

Too is an adverb that means also, as well, or additionally: She works too hard.

Problem

They will be to distracted to put their hands on the wheel and might hit my car.

Solution

They will be too distracted to put their hands on the wheel and might hit my car.

Would've/Should've/Could've vs. Would Of / Should Of / Could Of

This is a common confusion of a two words for a contraction.

Problem

I don't think that he was justified in his actions because it would of been better if he called the cops instead of shooting down the drone.

Solution

I don't think that he was justified in his actions because it would've been better if he called the cops instead of shooting down the drone.

Is vs. Are

Is is a singular linking verb: He is an officer.

Are is a plural linking verb: They are officers.

Problem

There is a lot of trees there because it is a creek.

Solution

There are a lot of trees there because it is a creek.

Cite vs. Quote

The word cite (short for citation) is commonly misheard and misspelled as site.

The word quote is often used as shorthand for enclosing in quotation marks, which confuses the idea of a quote as someone else's words that you enclose in quotation marks.

Problem

To avoid losing points for plagiarism, you should site and quote your copied text.

Solution

To avoid losing points for plagiarism, you should put the borrowed text in quotation marks and add a citation for the source of that text.

Number Agreement

Problem

We should prepare our responses in Word to have it as a backup in case the website loses our submission.

Some of my favorite artist who I enjoy listening to started from Atlanta.

Solution

We should prepare our responses in Word to have them as a backup in case the website loses our submissions.

Some of my favorite artists who I enjoy listening to started from Atlanta.

Acronyms

Acronyms are the first letters of a compound noun, capitalized and combined as a single word.

URL stands for universal resource locator.

Problem

Human, physical, and G.I.S.

Use quotation marks and post a url for where the information was found.

Solution

Human, physical, and GIS

Use quotation marks and post a URL for where the information was found.

Unclear Pronoun Reference

Problem

The concept of empirical separates correlation from causation because it is based off observations.

Smartphones have ability to use different cell phone towers, who have specific GPS coordinates and can trilaterate the strength of signals to estimate your location.

They will be too distracted to put their hands on the wheel and they might hit my car.

Long before her death, Jarvis' mom Ann Reeves Jarvis hoped someone would dedicate a day to honor mothers. When she died on May 9, 1905, Jarvis set out to do just that. She began campaigning not only for her mom but for moms everywhere (CNN).

Solution

The concept of empirical separates correlation from causation because correlation is based off observations while causation is based on ideas about relationships.

Cell phone towers have GPS coordinates, and smartphones can trilaterate the strength of those signals to estimate location.

They will be too distracted to put their hands on the wheel and might hit my car.

Long before her death, Jarvis' mom Ann Reeves Jarvis hoped someone would dedicate a day to honor mothers. When Jarvis' mother died on May 9, 1905, Jarvis set out to do just that. She began campaigning not only for her mom but for moms everywhere

Dangling Modifiers

A dangling modifier is a dependent clause that isn't clearly connected to the independent (or main) clause.

Problem

After robbing two banks, the police arrested the suspect.

Google Maps is a reference map because I believe it does not concentrate on one specific area or theme.

Glacier melting indirectly affects me because if the glaciers melt it may cause death to sea creatures which are used as a food source, as well as raise taxes to fund a solution.

Solution

After the suspect robbed two banks, the police arrested her.

I believe Google Maps is a reference map because it does not concentrate on one specific area or theme.

Glacier melting indirectly affects me because that may kill sea creatures we use as a food source, and governments may have to raise taxes to fund a solution.

Redundancy

Problem

Hands-free driving is an option now for us now.

Solution

Hands-free driving is an option for us now.

Compound Questions

Sentences containing multiple questions need only one question mark at the end.

Problem

What is where? , Why is it there? , Why do we care?

Solution

What is where, why is it there and why do we care?