5 Common Writing Mistakes: Understanding and Avoiding Them

Among productive communication skills, writing is as important as speaking. However, there are people who are not comfortable when writing for various reasons like making mistakes, writing in a formal register,

What Are the 5 Common Writing Mistakes?

Comma Usage Mistakes

Punctuation, especially comma, in English plays a major role in showing different words or phrases separately. Its flexibility displays its range of use, making it difficult to classify. The most common use of comma is its use to break two or more individual clauses to help give a clear meaning to the sentence written. This characteristic of comma leads to the cause of several comma usage mistakes. Here are some common writing mistakes made by researchers, especially students while writing a research paper.

  • A Comma Splice: Where two independent clauses or sentences are joined by a comma, you commit a comma splice mistake. For instance, “I have your project report, it is worth investing.”
  • A Serial Comma: It is a final comma used to separate the last element in the list. By leaving out a serial comma, you sometimes find it difficult to make out the last individual element in the series. For example, “I admire my teacher, Aristotle, and Albert Einstein.” If you omit the serial comma in the end, the sentence is wrongly interrupted as your teacher is Aristotle and Albert Einstein.
  • Introductory Comma: Writing mistakes also include missing out a comma after an introductory clause, phrase, words, and negation or affirmation expressions. For example, “As we were told, there will be a large gathering tomorrow.”

Well, it’s time to leave.”

  • Joining Comma: A typical compound sentence consists of two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction, with a comma used before the conjunction. College students mostly make mistakes in using this comma to join two complete sentences without a connecting word.

For example, “John has applied to join the army, Bob wants to work for a law firm.” 

Spelling Mistakes

For the writers of the English language, spelling mistakes are found to be inevitable. This is primarily due to variations in spelling rules. The one mistake that persists in most writers is the differences in the spelling of several words in American and British English. Depending on the audience who are your readers, you need to be consistent in spelling while submitting a professional paper like a project report, thesis, essay, marketing collateral, and so on.

For example, the spelling for the word ‘memorize’ is different in ‘AmE’ with ‘ize’, when it is ‘ise’ in ‘BrE’. Similarly, the word ‘odor’, without the silent consonant letter ‘u’ is ‘AmE’, and that with ‘u’ (odour) is ‘BrE’.


There are times when students mess up with the research paper by adding quotes, which for any good reason is rarely used in academic papers. Scholarly papers are written by expressing your own thoughts and not using any expressions, ideas, arguments or opinions from an original source and highlighting them with quotes. Direct quotations are typically used in history, literature, etc., and you use them in their original form, without paraphrasing or changing the words or phrases. In case you are permitted to use quotes, avoid overusing them.

Subject-Verb Agreement Errors

When it comes to errors in writing, those connected with subject-verb agreement are common. Students and researchers commit this error owing to the lack of proper understanding of the rules related to the use of appropriate subject and verb. Though the general rule is the verb should match the subject, there are several sub-rules that make subject-verb agreement a complicated one for students, even at the tertiary education level. By understanding the rules, even in special agreement situation, you can have the subject agree with the verb any time.

Word Choice Errors

Most students writing research papers have problems with the word usage. Several scientific papers are prone to word choice errors and they affect the author’s attempt to disseminate the findings. Avoiding such errors is critical. Here are some examples of words that can go wrong while used in writing.

  • Words having similar meanings but used in different contexts: “Alternate” and “Alternative”
  • Similar-sounding words: “Principal” and “principle”
  • Differences in pronunciation: “rock and lock”, “correct and collect”, etc.
  • Wrong collocations: “Heavy traffic”, “run a business”, “strong wind”, etc.

How to Avoid Common Mistakes When Writing College Papers?

A student paper, whether it is a research paper or an essay should be well-written with good grammar, which expresses the ideas clearly, without any misinterpretation. Moreover, the content should present valid information of your own with relevant facts and appropriate examples.

Writing Style

The research papers or any other written work presented by college students are generally marred by several writing style problems. Some of them include comma mistakes. Subject-verb agreement errors, poor word choice, colloquialism, wrong plural forms, etc. Professors grade such papers or work low. You can avoid stylistic issues by understanding and correcting them.

Use College Essay Grader Service

Writing a college paper for grades is difficult if your writing skills are hardly good. If you can research well and produce an assignment, you can try grading your essay online. The college essay grader helps you find the mistakes you have committed in terms of grammar, word usage and spelling, as well as the use of transitional words. The paper grader also assists you in formatting styles, where it checks for the American Psychological Association or APA style or Chicago Manual of Style or CMS style. Thus, by rating an essay, research paper, or journal article, you can avoid getting a failing grade.

Use Plagiarism Checker for Thesis or Research Paper

Plagiarism is another aspect that falls under common mistakes and when writing an academic paper, it mostly leads to unintentional plagiarism. Presenting an opinion or idea borrowed from somebody’s work without giving credit to him to her is unethical. To steer away duplicate content, you can use a plagiarism checker for thesis. Students can look for free plagiarism checkers, which are good enough to check an essay or paper for plagiarism.

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