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anomalously-written:

—Wrong Word
affect/effect, lay/lie, sit/set, who/whom, toward/towards, etc.

—Vague Pronoun Reference
Confusing: Bob annoyed Larry, but that didn’t stop him from asking for a meeting.
Clear: Bob annoyed Larry, but that didn’t stop Larry from asking for a meeting.

—Lack of Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Frequently Disparaged: Everyone withdrew their money.
Uncontroversial: Everyone withdrew his or her money.
Uncontroversial: People withdrew their money.

More about they and their as gender-neutral pronouns.

—Missing or Unnecessary Capitalization
Capitalize proper nouns: The names of things, such as the Golden Gate Bridge.
Lowercase common nouns: Descriptions, such as that famous bridge.

More about capitalization.

—Unnecessary Shift in Verb Tense
Wrong: John Wilkes Booth barricaded the door while Lincoln is watching the play.
Right: John Wilkes Booth barricaded the door while Lincoln watched the play.

More about mixing verb tenses and switching verb tense.

—Sentence Fragments
Sentence fragments aren’t always wrong, but don’t use them accidentally.

Fragments: Because she was late. And I held the door.

More about sentence fragments.

—Monotonous Sentence Structure
Monotonous: We were late. I called the office. Bob answered the phone. Bob told Sue. Sue stalled the investors.
Better: I called the office because we were late. Bob answered the phone and told Sue, who stalled the investors.

More about sentence structure.

—Adjective Drift
Confusing: The property has seasonal creeks and trail access.
Clear: The property has trail access and seasonal creeks.

—Unnecessary Adverbs and Prepositions
Bloated: I was very angry that Bob sat down on the wet paint.
Better: I was furious that Bob sat on the wet paint.

More on adverbs and prepositions.

—Parallelism Errors
Not Parallel: Kids like singing, chatting, and check their phones.
Parallel: Kids like singing, chatting, and checking their phones.

More about parallel construction.

—Passive Voice
Passive voice isn’t wrong, but active sentences are often better.

Passive: The bell was rung by zombies.
Active: Zombies rang the bell.

More about active voice and passive voice.

—“There Are” Sentences
You can often improve on sentences that start with There are.

Not great: There are usually 54 cards in a deck.
Better: A deck usually has 54 cards.

More about sentences that start with There are and There is.

—Jargon
Jargon: You can often improve on expletive sentences.
More Accessible: You can often improve on sentences that start with There are.

More about writing with jargon.

—Missing Comma After Introductory Element
Wrong: In the past we bought vinyl records.
Right: In the past, we bought vinyl records.

—Unnecessary Comma
Wrong: Bob likes pandas, and visits the zoo often.
Right: Bob likes pandas and visits the zoo often.

—Comma Splice
Wrong: I ate cake, I played games.
Right: I ate cake, and I played games.
Right: I ate cake and played games.

More about the comma splice.

—Run-On Sentences
Wrong: I ate cake I played games.
Right: I ate cake, and I played games.
Right: I ate cake and played games.

More about run-on sentences.

—Missing Comma in a Compound Sentence
Wrong: All my friends came over for my birthday Tuesday and Bobby visited me the next day.
Right: All my friends came over for my birthday Tuesday, and Bobby visited me the next day.

—Missing Comma with a Nonrestrictive Element
Wrong: Shoes which are worn on your feet come in many styles.
Right: Shoes, which are worn on your feet, come in many styles.

More about commas and nonrestrictive elements.

—Mechanical Problems with Quotations
In the U.S., periods and commas go inside the closing quotation mark. Semicolons, colons, and dashes go outside the closing quotation mark. The position of question marks and exclamation points varies: They stay with their question or exclamation.

Correct: She yelled, “Help!” I won a copy of “Wrecking Ball”! She asked, “Are you hungry?” Did he just ask, “Are we in Hungary?”

More about punctuating quotations.

—Quotation Marks for Emphasis
Wrong: “Free” soda on Saturdays.
Right: Free soda on Saturdays.

—Apostrophe Errors
Nouns take apostrophes to become possessive. Pronouns don’t. It’s means “it is” or “it has.” Its is the possessive form of it. Acronyms, initialisms, and years don’t take apostrophes to become plural (CDs, 1980s).

—Unnecessary or Missing Hyphen
Don’t hyphenate phrasal verbs.

Wrong: Log-in to your account.
Right: Log in to your account.

Do hyphenate compound adjectives. These mean different things: silver jewelry cart and silver-jewelry cart.

More about hyphens.

—Spelling Errors
Remember to run a spellcheck. It’s obvious but easy to forget.

—Search for these words and phrases to do a quick check: there are, it is, its, it’s, your, you’re, their, and they’re.

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