Common Stupid Mistakes. Custom Essay Writing


Some Common Stupid Mistakes

A fellow teacher, James Stripes, begs me to include, if it is not already too late, the surprising news that when you use a plural noun, all of the referents to it must also be plural. Hence, "the children put their coats in the closet" and "the Pilgrim mothers cooked their turkeys in iron pots." Be sure you know what the subject of your sentence is. A colony of rats lives under the school, not "live." The colony is singular even if it has a million rats, except of course in England where a mob are plural.


These are probably underused. A hyphen in time can save you a great deal of embarrassment. Note that many of these technical problems are considered errors because they create confusion and ambiguity. They force the reader to stop and backtrack through the sentence to figure out what is being said. In a string of adjectives before a noun, each word is assumed to define the noun. Is a small dairy farmer a small person or a person who farms a small dairy? If you mean a farmer of small dairies, a hyphen between the two adjectives (small-dairy) makes your meaning clear. How about processed baby food? Yum!

English being at least part German allows the use of nouns as adjectives, but the abuse of this liberty, as any liberty, can become excessive. So too with the turning of nouns into verbs. Here, moderation is a virtue.

Note also at the end of the line that a hyphen can be used to separate a word too long to fit the space. Such a forced separation should occur only between syllables or if possible between a double consonant. Do this right. Show how intelligent you are.

Must of Alot of Attitude

I could of course go on forever, but let me leave this category with a lumpen collection of ugly errors. The verb form "must have" when contracted becomes "must've." To the ear, this sounds exactly like "must of." Writers who don't read don't know this and end up writing "must of" instead of "must've."

Though few have adopted the practice, I would like to leave as my legacy the introduction of the double contraction. We certainly say it, so we ought to be able to write it. It wouldn't've seemed so weird if we'd been doing it all along. I couldn't've made a better contribution if I'd solved the mind/body debate.

You lie down, but you lay an object down. Without an object of the verb, you lie alone. Although you lie down alone, you do lay your body down. The chicken lies down and then lays an egg. I have a magazine ad showing two bored guys and a girl watching TV. The caption underneath reads, "On January 1, you can lay around and watch football." Is that a stupid mistake? Or did the ad agency hope the readers would assume an unspoken object to lay?

A lot of students still think that "alot" is one word; it is not. And I despise the currently popular word "attitude" because it is so utterly meaningless. A student once wrote on a paper that in Uncle Tom's Cabin, Simon Legree "had an attitude problem." Surely, one can get more specific. A student complained once in class that my picking on her grammar showed that I had an attitude. I replied, "What kind of an attitude do you mean? Happy? Sad? Angry? Frustrated?" "Well," she said, putting her hand on her hip, "you certainly do have an attitude!"

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