TO ACCESS OTHER GUIDE PAGES, CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW:
1. Is this a sentence? The basic structure of an English sentence
2. Should I start a new sentence? Common errors with sentence structure
1. Is the tense correct? Verb tenses and their uses in academic writing
2. Agree with or agree on-is this the right preposition? Verbs followed by prepositions
1. How many are there? Singular, plural and uncountable nouns
2. A/an, the or no article? Choosing the right article
1. Not using I: Passive and active voice in academic writing
2. Expressing opinions: Tentativeness and certainty
If you prefer to consult the Proof Reading for Grammar Guide in a printable format, use the links below:
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
♦Problems with sentence structure (University of Hull) Brief explanations of common errors with sentence structure:
Each explanation is followed by a short quiz.
♦Run-on sentences (University of Bristol) Explanation followed by quiz.
All sentences have a topic, or a subject, and a verb. However, in your writing you may want to say something else about this subject or move on to another subject. Whenever the subject changes or is repeated, you can do either of the following:
Start a new sentence
Link the two parts together with a linking word
The following examples demonstrate some of the errors that can occur when we forget to consider our subjects.
This error is known as a run-on sentence, which means that two independent sentences have been merged into one. Each of these sentences has a subject (The class; we) and a verb (hired; made). Run-on sentences are confusing for readers and grammatically incorrect.
This example could be separated into two sentences. Short sentences like these are more common for stating facts:
⇒The class hired a live model. We made a sculpture of her.
Alternatively, a linking word could be used in the middle of the sentence:
⇒The class hired a live model and we made a sculpture of her.
Now consider the second example:
This error is known as a comma splice, which means that two independent sentences have been linked with a comma. Comma splices are grammatically incorrect.
Use a full stop instead of the comma to separate the two sentences:
⇒My sculpture was better than I had expected. I will use the same technique in the future.
Use a semicolon to separate the two sentences:
⇒My sculpture was better than I had expected; I will use the same technique in the future.
Use a linking word like ‘and’:
⇒My sculpture was better than I had expected and I will use the same technique in the future.
⇒ My sculpture was better than I had expected, so I will use the same technique in the future.
⇒My sculpture was better than I had expected. For this reason, I will use the same technique in the future.
Whether you start a new sentence or link two parts of a sentence together, think about whether the second idea is along the same lines as the ﬁrst or whether there is some contrast or limitation. The table below includes examples of linking words that can help highlight relationships between ideas:
To download your own copy of the Linking sentences checklist, click the link below: