A document that has been edited by an individual

Student clients mean a lot of different things when they say, “Can you check my paper?” Read this article to pinpoint better what YOU mean.

If you’re worried about a troublesome element of your writing, chances are you’ll find an article about how to fix it here. Our Writing Center consultants have examined the most common grammatical and structural errors and came up with some examples and techniques on how to fix each of them. There are resources for both Content Development and Correctness Problems.

View these presentations on Common Correctness Problems

More on Correctness Problems

  • Apostrophes Possessive:  Apostrophes can be tricky, particularly possessive VS plural. See the presentation below.
  • Citations: See the presentation below. Also, go to OWL Purdue.
  • Commas: If you’ve been wondering where to put a comma, this is the place to look.
  • Easily-Confused Words: E.g., There is a problem. Too many people are mixing up their words, and they’re making their professors unhappy. See the presentation below.
  • Eliminating Wordiness: Forsooth! I daresay we’ve found another article, this time relating to the problem of having just a few too many words.
  • Run-ons and Comma-SplicesRun-ons don’t mean that your sentences are too long. Both run-ons and comma splices jam 2 or more sentences together AS IF they are one sentence. See the presentation below.
  • Sentence Variety Complex sentences are the secret to great flow!
  • Subject-Verb Agreement The problem is that it’s not always easy to identify the grammatical subject as opposed to the idea/semantic subject.
  • Using “I” I didn’t write this, and that’s appropriate to say. When else is it appropriate to use “I” in your papers?
  • Vague PronounsInstead of using ‘this’ alone, add the noun it refers to. E.g., This is not clear VS This wording is not clear.
  • Verb Tenses: Answers to questions about verb tense, sequence of tenses, and tense in literature papers.
  • Voice: Active vs. PassiveThis article was written by a former tutor, and it addresses how to use active instead of passive voice in your papers. See the presentation below.

Content Development Problems

  • Avoiding Plot Summary: In this four-page summary, you will learn what plot summary is, why professors dislike it, how to avoid it, and see some examples. See the presentation below.
  • Cohesion in Paragraphs: Do your paragraphs fall apart? Read how to glue them back together.
  • Concluding Paragraphs: What do you do when you’ve turned in your first paper and your professor has written “conclusion is weak” in terrible handwriting at the bottom of your page? Read this.
  • Quotations“Putting quotations into a paragraph is an easy way for you to show that you have supporting evidence to further back up your argument/thesis statement” (Streeter, 2005). However, you also need to integrate the quotation into your own paragraph. Integrate does not mean paraphrasing it. See the presentation below.
  • Thesis StatementsAdding a strong thesis statement to your paper can make the life of the reader far easier.

Article descriptions written by Justin Barnett, 2005. Presentations created by tutors, 2024.

Grammar Girl!

You can search just about any grammar issue with expert Mignon Fogarty, aka Grammar Girl, a great resource that covers in easy-to-read blog format all of the major issues we all experience with grammar and mechanics (and even the more obscure challenges as well)!

OWL at Purdue not only offers resources for citations, but it also offers resources for grammar challenges and common errors as well by topic.

What are the top 20 word choice mistakes people make? Well, according to John Gingerich at Lit Reactor, here they are!