Lesson 13: Common Grammar Mistakes

In this lesson, we will explore some of the most common grammar mistakes and how to avoid them. Recognizing and correcting these mistakes can significantly improve your writing.

Common Grammar Mistakes

  1. Subject-Verb Agreement

The subject and verb in a sentence must agree in number (singular or plural).


  • Incorrect: The list of items are on the desk.
  • Correct: The list of items is on the desk.

Tip: Identify the main subject and ensure the verb agrees with it.

  1. Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

A pronoun must agree with its antecedent in number, gender, and person.


  • Incorrect: Every student must bring their book.
  • Correct: Every student must bring his or her book.

Tip: Ensure the pronoun matches the noun it replaces.

  1. Misplaced Modifiers

Modifiers should be placed next to the word they modify to avoid confusion.


  • Incorrect: She almost drove her kids to school every day.
  • Correct: She drove her kids to school almost every day.

Tip: Place the modifier as close as possible to the word it modifies.

  1. Dangling Modifiers

A dangling modifier has no clear subject to modify, making the sentence unclear.


  • Incorrect: Running to the bus, the backpack was left behind.
  • Correct: Running to the bus, she left the backpack behind.

Tip: Ensure the modifier clearly refers to the correct subject in the sentence.

  1. Comma Splices

A comma splice occurs when two independent clauses are joined by a comma without a conjunction.


  • Incorrect: It’s raining, I will take an umbrella.
  • Correct: It’s raining, so I will take an umbrella.

Tip: Use a coordinating conjunction, a semicolon, or make two separate sentences.

  1. Run-on Sentences

Run-on sentences occur when two or more independent clauses are joined without proper punctuation or conjunctions.


  • Incorrect: She loves to read she has a lot of books.
  • Correct: She loves to read, and she has a lot of books.

Tip: Use proper punctuation to separate independent clauses.

  1. Confusing Homophones

Homophones are words that sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. Confusing them can lead to misunderstandings.


  • their (possessive) / there (location) / they’re (they are)
  • your (possessive) / you’re (you are)
  • it’s (it is) / its (possessive)

Tip: Learn the meanings and correct usage of commonly confused homophones.

  1. Incorrect Apostrophe Usage

Apostrophes are used to show possession or form contractions, not to make nouns plural.


  • Incorrect: The cat’s are playing outside.
  • Correct: The cats are playing outside.

Tip: Use apostrophes for possession (the cat’s toy) and contractions (it’s raining), but not for plurals.

  1. Incorrect Use of “Who” and “Whom”

“Who” is used as a subject, while “whom” is used as an object.


  • Incorrect: Whom is calling?
  • Correct: Who is calling?

Tip: Use “who” when referring to the subject of a clause and “whom” when referring to the object.

  1. Incorrect Comparatives and Superlatives

Comparatives compare two things, while superlatives compare three or more.


  • Incorrect: She is the more intelligent of the three.
  • Correct: She is the most intelligent of the three.

Tip: Use comparatives (-er or more) for two items and superlatives (-est or most) for three or more.

This lesson provided an overview of common grammar mistakes and how to avoid them. Recognizing these mistakes can help you improve your writing significantly. In the next lesson, we will explore advanced grammar topics to further enhance your understanding. Check out Lesson 14: Advanced Grammar Topics.