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Bookhooks Style Guide

Using our Word template, you can annotate student work, adding comments for the 30 Common Errors listed in this style guide. The template facilitates mark up by teachers, and generates comments with links to these resource pages!

   Wordiness

30 Common Writing Errors and Their Solutions

Sentence Fragment
Run On/Comma Splice

Parenthetic Expression
Series
Comma Before Independent Clause
Semi-Colon
Colon
Punctuation at end of Quotation
Single Quote Marks
Dialogue
Titles
Possession
Its/It's
Dangling Modifier
Misplaced Modifier
Vague Pronoun Reference
Me/Like
Number Agreement
Parallel Structure
Verb Tenses
Fused Words
Spelling
Passive Voice

Negative Form
Cliches
Choppy Sentences
Wordiness
Qualifiers and Intensifiers
Hedging
Vague, Stilted or Flowery Language

This listing of 30 common writing errors was compiled by The Pingry School and is used with permission.

Clutter debilitates prose. You need not adopt a clipped, Hemingwayesque style; your sentences, in fact, may be long and sinuous (like this one) provided you remember that every word that does not help communicate meaning or feeling is dead weight.

Sentences using there or the verb to be can be made more concise and lively by recasting with a stronger verb. Thus, change There were many fans in the arena to Fans crowded the arena.

Many wordy phrases are just silly. Time period — as opposed to a space period? I thought to myself — who else can you think to?

Deliberate padding (a majority of. . . ) is usually as obvious as it is ugly. If you need a longer paper, develop your ideas further.

in order to

due to the fact that

in spite of the fact that

the fact that she had arrived

comes to a realization that

the question as to whether or not

in many instances

red in color; square in shape

during this time period

I thought to myself

issues of a religious nature

Mr. Smith is a man who swims.

a majority of the population of the United States of America

to

because

although

her arrival

realizes that

whether

often

red; square

at this time or during this period

I thought

religious issues

Mr. Smith swims.

most Americans