Common+writing+errors - COMMON WRITING ERRORS(AVOID THEM...

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COMMON WRITING ERRORS (AVOID THEM AND EARN A HIGHER GRADE!) 1. Past versus present tense. Typically, when writing about the past, it is best to use the past tense. When making reference to a source, the present tense is preferred. EXAMPLE : Fidel Castro met Che Guevara in Mexico City. Paterson notes that Castro and Guevara differed in their approach to socialism. This can be tricky. Remember that novelists have more latitude to play with past and present tenses, while the goal of expository prose is clarity. Until you are extremely confident in your writing, stick with the conventional approach. If it happened in the past (yesterday or 500 years ago) describe it in the past tense. (i.e. “Aristotle argued that politics was the most noble of human activities,” is safer than “Aristotle argues that politics is the most noble of human activities.” Why? Both are technically correct, but Aristotle has been dead for a long time and the meaning of “politics” has changed over the centuries.) 2. Subject/verb agreement. Singular subjects need singular verbs; plural subjects need plural verbs. EXAMPLE: My aunt is a doctor. Both of my uncles are engineers. (Since subject/verb agreement CAN be confusing, especially when pronouns are involved, if you are in doubt and need guidance, check the following website: 3. Plural/possessive, contractions and the devilish apostrophe. Joan's dog is badly behaved (possessive) It's a bad idea. (It is a bad idea - contraction) Its GDP fell by 23% (possessive and does not require the apostrophe) One way to be safe - AVOID contractions in formal writing. EXAMPLE: Instead of writing "They're a bunch of jerks." substitute "They are a bunch of jerks." "I've decided to quit my job." No - "I have decided to quit my job." 4.
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This note was uploaded on 03/08/2012 for the course ECON 155 taught by Professor Klein during the Spring '12 term at Berkeley.

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Common+writing+errors - COMMON WRITING ERRORS(AVOID THEM...

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