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Common Student Errors Essay

794 words - 4 pages

1. Inconsistent tense
When writing about events in a novel, you must first make the decision whether to use the present or past tense. Generally speaking, either is acceptable, but once you make the choice, you need it be consistent.
--Incorrect
John decides to go to bed, but then he drank too much coffee and could not fall asleep. He watches television for half an hour, then he finally felt sleepy.
--Correct
John decided to go to bed, but then he drank too much coffee and could not fall asleep. He watched television for half an hour, then he finally felt sleepy.

2. Plot summaries instead of analysis
Although it is often necessary to recount some of the plot to make your point, ...view middle of the document...

Here are some examples, with names removed to protect the guilty.
--Incorrect
The modernization could not have happened if first of all the social changes and then the political consolidation from an imperial state to a democracy.
[Where’s the verb in the conditional clause?]
While the soldiers who actually assaulted the woman, never acknowledges [sic] their guilt. [The “while” means “although,” but there is not clause to finish the though]

5. Single spacing and indenting
When you quote something which is more than sentence long, the quote should be Single-Spaced and indented from the rest of the text. Also, in this no need for quotation marks around the quote. A foot note or similar citation, however, is necessary.

6. Contractions
Unless you are directly quoting another text, avoid using contractions such as don’t, won’t, can’t, isn’t, and its. Instead, use do not, will not, cannot, is not, etc.

7. Second Person
Avoid using the second person pronoun you. In its place use the pronoun one.
--Incorrect
If you don’t understand the meaning of book, you shouldn’t feel stupid. You won’t always see everything the author wants you to see.
--Correct
If one does not...

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