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How To Avoid 10 Common Grammar Mistakes

Watch more English Grammar Basics videos: Subscribe to Howcast's YouTube Channel - Learn how to avoid 10 common grammar mistakes with this guide. Howcast uploads the highest quality how-to videos daily! Be sure to check out our playlists for guides that interest you: Subscribe to Howcast's other YouTube Channels: Howcast Health Channel - Howcast Video Games Channel - Howcast Tech Channel - Howcast Food Channel - Howcast Arts & Recreation Channel - Howcast Sports & Fitness Channel - Howcast Personal Care & Style Channel - Howcast empowers people with engaging, useful how-to information wherever, whenever they need to know how. Emphasizing high-quality instructional videos, Howcast brings you experts who provide accurate information in easy-to-follow tutorials on everything from makeup, hairstyling, nail art design, and soccer to parkour, skateboarding, dancing, kissing, and much, much more. Step 1: Ensure verb tenses match Ensure your verb tenses always match, whether you are speaking about the past, present, or future. Tip For example, if Sally wears a dress, make sure she goes to the concert. If she wore the dress, make sure she went to the concert. Step 2: Watch for subject-verb agreement Be aware of subject-verb and subject-pronoun disagreement. Whether subject and verb or subject and pronoun, both must agree in number. Tip For example, say Jenny is going to the beach, not Jenny are going to the beach. Likewise, say Jenny is going to the beach and she will have fun, not they will have fun. Step 3: Do not use comma splices Do not incorrectly join two independent clauses with a comma, such as "Jen and I ate dinner, I enjoyed the chicken." This is called a comma splice. Instead use a period, conjunction, or semicolon. Tip A run-on sentence like "I'm not sad I'm happy" is also an incorrect way of joining two independent clauses. Separate the clauses with a period or semicolon. Step 4: Use commas correctly Use a comma to separate independent clauses joined by a conjunction, after an introductory independent clause, in a nonrestrictive clause, to separate three or more words or phrases, when setting off geographical names, when shifting between main discourse and quotations, and to avoid confusion. Step 5: Correctly use apostrophes Correctly use apostrophes to illustrate possession or when omitting letters, such as in contractions. Step 6: Beware of fragments Beware of sentence fragments, or an incomplete sentence missing a verb or subject. Tip For example, in "I am good at several things. Such as painting and cooking." the second sentence is incomplete because it's a dependent clause. Connect it to the independent clause by replacing the period with a comma after the word "things." Step 7: Correctly use relative pronouns Don't misuse your relative pronouns: that, who, whom, whose, which, where, when, and why. Relative pronouns join clauses to create complex sentences. Tip The most common misuse of a relative pronoun is between "that" and "which." Use "that" with restrictive, or defining, clauses, and "which" with nonrestrictive clauses. Surround "which" phrases with commas. Step 8: Don't misplace modifiers Don't let your modifiers dangle. A modifier describes a word or phrase. Put in the wrong place it can change your meaning. Tip For example, "At two, my sister taught me Spanish," is incorrect, unless I mean when my sister was two, she taught me Spanish. The correct way is, "When I was two, my sister taught me Spanish." Step 9: Use pronouns Don't be afraid to use pronouns. A common mistake is overuse of a proper name when a pronoun would suffice. Step 10: Proofread Proofread everything. This is your key to detecting unnecessary errors. If you check and double check your work, you will be a grammatical superstar in no time. Did You Know? June 2009 marked a milestone in the English language -- "Web 2.0" was officially added to the language, making it English's one millionth word.
Length: 03:26


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