Grammatical Horrors. Custom Essay Writing

 

Grammatical Horrors

Getting pronouns to agree with their nouns seems to be one of the hardest English writing skills to learn. All day long you can read and hear people say, "Everyone likes their cocoa with a shot of booze." But "everyone" is a one, and "their" refers to more than one. Everyone likes his, or his and her, not their (cocoa or whatever). Do not say, "A person likes their hair to be clean." A =/= they. I heard an ad on TV one day in which the announcer said in a very serious voice, "Once every six seconds a GM owner puts their stamp of approval on a new car." Stamp out that ad agency. Here is a quotation from a high school teacher commenting on a deadly car wreck: "I never had a student who totaled a car when they were alone." She was not, I pray, an English teacher.

We paper graders use AWK when a sentence is so confusing that we cannot or do not have the time or patience to try to straighten it out. If you cannot tell that something sounds wrong, read the sentence out loud or have someone else read it to you. Most native English speakers will recognize when something is wrong. It is usually better to start all over again with such sentences than to try to straighten them out. Sometimes if a sentence seems truly hopeless, the best and easiest cure is to put it out of its misery. They shoot horses, don't they?

"OOG" is an unpleasant gut reaction to a combination of disastrous AWKs.

These errors are rare. Most college writers have learned to avoid them, but they do appear on occasion. They involve placing the same words or phrases at the end of one sentence and the beginning of the next. Clearly, when this occurs, there is some way to combine the two sentences smoothly into one. Hence, BB errors are a subset of ONW. Example: "I saw the dog. The dog was running away." Easily fixed: "I saw the dog running away."

It isn't necessary for me to say that typos are to be avoided. You know that. But it is necessary for me to stress the importance of proofreading your paper before you hand it in. The reason is as much political as grammatical. A paper you did not bother to proofread even once for obvious mistakes is clearly one you don't care about. And if you don't care about it, why should I? On the other hand, a typo corrected by pen, however messy, at least shows you cared enough to look for errors and correct them. If many such corrections turn the page into visual chaos, perhaps you should seriously consider retyping that page.

Word processing introduces its own dangers. For example, even using a spell-check program does not tell you if you spelled "your" as "you" or "sea" as "see." Most programs cannot tell if in erasing some mistake you accidentally left in three words of the original sentence. Do not rely on technology to do your scud-busting for you. You must reread every blessed word yourself carefully. Typos are like rocks in a New England garden. No matter how many you find and remove, the next time you look a big one will be staring you in the face. Nevertheless, keep looking and find as many as you can.

 
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