Have you ever had a teacher mark comma splice on your paper? Have you ever turned in your essay only to realize later that spell check “fixed” your word so that it reads defiantly when you meant to write definitely? Well, if these things have happened to you, you are not alone. These are among the most common errors beginning writers make.
Thanks to some excellent research from Andrea Lunsford and her colleagues, every few years, we get a list of the “20 Most Common Errors” beginning writers in the United States make. Every few years, Lunsford and her team of researchers examine thousands of student essays and survey hundreds of writing teachers in order to give us this list.
The good news is that most of the errors on this list are mistakes that we make when we are tired, in a hurry, and just not being good editors. So, they are easy fixes.
Let’s look at the list, so you can see if you have had similar errors in your writing. Once you understand the problem, you are well on your way to correcting it.