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Common Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling Mistakes With Examples

Academic writing requires students to engage in a rigorous process to deliver quality and flawless papers. Basically, common grammar mistakes tend to distract readers from having a constant flow of ideas. However, these errors do not distract the meaning. Then, punctuation errors force the audience to experience distracted reading, which leads to negative perceptions. However, these errors may not distort the intended meaning. Finally, spelling mistakes tend to alter the actual meaning of an essay. In this case, learners tend to use wrongly spelled words or antonyms during their writing. Also, this process distracts the intended meaning. Hence, students should engage in adequate preparation to avoid such common mistakes that discourage readers from understanding the intended message.

General Guidelines on Common Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling Mistakes

Succeeding in academics requires learners to strive for perfection. Basically, lecturers, professors, and tutors require students to submit quality papers to achieve intended knowledge and grades. In practice, grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes are common flaws that lower the quality of essays and other written assignments. Moreover, each learner must understand the difference between these common mistakes to avoid them during the writing process. Although writers may understand the basics of English, common grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes lower the quality of their works.

Common grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes

Common Grammar Mistakes

1. Article Misuse

An article misuse refers to a word that can modify a noun in English. In practice, there are three articles in English that tell readers more information about a noun. For example, two indefinite articles are a or an. Besides, there exists a definite article “the.” In turn, using a different article in a specific context changes the entire meaning of a sentence. Hence, examples of the wrong usage of articles in the context are:

  • This is the bomb – This statement means that something is awesome.
  • This is a bomb – This statement refers to an explosive.

Many non-native English speakers find it hard to use indefinite articles, such as an or a, correctly. Basically, the wrong usage of articles obstructs readers from understanding the intended message. In this case, the common grammar mistake that students make is using indefinite articles to discuss non-specific objects, things, or people in plural and for second and consecutive times in their work. As a rule, one should use indefinite articles with singular and countable nouns. Besides, writers should use these articles when mentioning the something for the first time. In turn, authors should choose between either of two articles, depending on grammatical use. Hence, relevant examples that show the correct usage of indefinite articles are:

  • Poor eating habit is a leading cause of cancer – This sentence implies that a poor feeding habit is one of the many several causes of cancer.
  • An interesting finding in my analysis – It is one of the many interesting outcomes of the research.
  • An analysis had determined the cause of blood pressure – Some non-specific analysis determined an important concept.

Some learners fail to understand that a definite article is specific and restricts the noun meaning. Also, other grammar mistakes are failure to use the definite article with all nouns, when mentioning something to readers for a second time. Hence, sentence samples of using the correct usage of a definite article are:

  • He received a vaccination. The vaccination had a lower effectiveness rate.
  • A study produced by the United States-based University revealed a correlation relationship. The study was used in this paper.

These two examples given above show the correct usage of a definite article. In this case, a definite article precedes a noun being mentioned for a second time. Moreover, one should not use a definite article when introducing a noun for the first time in a sentence.

2. Subject-Verb Disagreement

A subject presented in a sentence should agree with the verb. For example, students do wrong by combining a singular subject with a plural verb. In other instances, scholars use a subject-verb article that fails to agree in person. Moreover, the sentence “they is my favorite American author” has a subject and verb that disagree in number. In turn, the subject “they” refers to plural, while the verb “is” relates to singular. Hence, writers can avoid the wrong subject-verb combination by considering the following factors:

Separated subject and verb. Students make a grammar mistake of failing to find subjects and verbs that agree. Besides, learners fail to consider additional words in-between subjects and verbs that do not affect an initial agreement. In turn, scholars may avoid such grammar mistakes by bringing subjects and verbs together to ensure that they agree.

Compound subjects. Writers fail to consider whether compound subjects agree with verbs in number. For example, learners can eliminate such grammar mistakes by arguing that two subjects joined by “and” should combine with a plural verb. However, students should exempt cases when words like “every,” “no,” or “nothing” precedes joined subjects. Besides, scholars should ensure that verbs agree with closer subjects in sentences that use joining words, like “nor” and “or.”  

Indefinite pronouns. The third grammar mistake is where students fail to consider pronouns that use either singular or plural verbs. In this case, learners can eliminate this grammar mistake by ensuring that single indefinite pronouns, such as “anybody,” “anyone,” “each,” “either,” and “none,” are combined with singular verbs. Besides, writers should ensure that plural indefinite pronouns, such as “both,” “few,” “many,” and “several,” are combined with plural verbs. In turn, scholars should make the right judgment when using words that can either take singular or plural forms, depending on the situation. For instance, such words include “all,” “any,” “most,” and “some.”

Collective nouns. The fourth grammar mistake that students make in establishing subject-verb agreement is the wrong use of collective nouns. Basically, these are nouns that exist in a singular form but have a plural meaning. In this case, some examples include “band,” “minority,” “majority,” “class,” “dozen,” and “team” among others. Moreover, learners should use singular verbs when collective nouns represent a single entity.  

Plural nouns with a singular meaning. Students tend to combine plural nouns with verbs that disagree in number. In turn, learners can correct such a grammar mistake by combining singular verbs, like “athletics,” “economic,” “politics,” “measles” and “mumps,” with singular verbs.

3. Comparative Forms of Adjectives

Comparative adjectives help to relate two things, objects, or people. In particular, students tend to use comparative forms of adjectives incorectly when establishing unique relationships. Hence, some errors that learners make when using comparatives and possible solutions are:

Failing to distinguish between comparative and superlative. Students tend to use superlatives in place of comparatives when comparing things. In practice, one should use comparatives to compare and contrast two objects. However, a superlative degree reveals differences or similarities in three or more things. Besides, learners can avoid this grammar mistake by using “-er” to end an adjective.

Doubling up. Students tend to combine two methods of forming a comparative in their sentences, which makes the information sound vague. For instance, some writers combine “-er” and “more” in one sentence. However, leaners should avoid this grammar mistake by using only one method to form a comparative adjective. Hence, examples of sentences below show the wrong and correct method of forming a comparative adjective:

  • That was the most happiest day. (Wrong)
  • That was the happiest day. (Correct)

Unbalanced comparison. The third grammar mistake that students make is comparing dissimilar things. For instance, some writers tend to compare coffee with a shop. In this case, the approach leads to a poor comparison, which distorts the intended message. In turn, learners can avoid this grammar mistake by creating a comparative degree for objects with similar traits.

Omitting “other” and “Else.” Most writers fail to use “other” or “else” when comparing groups. In particular, failing to use these two terms makes a sentence to sound illogical. Hence, examples of sentences show how learners should avoid this grammar mistake:  

  • Joan was more intelligent that any girl in her class. (Illogical)
  • Joan was more intelligent than any other girl in her class. (Logical)

Confusing “less” and “fewer.” Many students make a grammar mistake of using “less” and “fewer” interchangeably. Basically, the process leads to confusion because readers lose the ability to determine whether writers refer to countable or uncountable nouns. In this case, learners can avoid this grammar mistake by using “less” when comparing uncountable nouns. Besides, scholars should use “fewer” to compare countable nouns.

4. Contractions

Contractions refer to shortened words. Basically, students use an apostrophe to combine two words into one. In this case, failure to master the English language well leads to grammar mistakes in combining and shortening words. Hence, common grammar mistakes that learners make and possible solutions that they can utilize are:

Weird contraction words. The first grammar mistake that students make is using slang and outdated words. For example, some contractions do not look like conventional ones since they tend to sound odd. In turn, learners can avoid some shortened words, like “ain’t,” “e’er,” “he’d’ve” and “ma’am.” Instead, writers should use acceptable types of contractions in English.

Using contractions in formal writing. Many students tend to use contractions in formal communication. Basically, contractions add a lighter and formal tone to any form of writing. In this case, learners should avoid using contractions when writing a research paper, academic essay, business presentation, and official letter.

Ending sentences with contractions. Students make a grammar mistake of ending sentences with shortened words. In particular, learners can avoid this grammar mistake by ensuring that some contractions, like “it’s” and “they’re,” precede some words in a sentence. Moreover, such contractions sound better when followed by other phrases or words. For example, the contraction “it’s” may sound as “its” when used at the end of a sentence. In turn, scholars should include other words that establish the context of the contraction’s usage in a sentence.

5. Possessions

Grammar rules require learners to show possession. However, students make grammar mistakes when using possessive words. Hence, common grammar mistakes and possible solutions that one should consider in this case are:

Using long phrases. Students fail to understand writing strategies that they must follow when creating possessive. For instance, one should use words, like belong or own, to show possession. In other instances, writers may use the preposition “of” to show possession. Hence, examples of sentences with long phrases that show possession are:

  • This doughnut belongs to James.
  • Jane owns a hot sports car.
  • The home of the Richardson.

Using apostrophe. Students tend to use a short way to show possession. In this case, learners use an apostrophe and add “s” to simplify the phrasing. In this case, many learners make such grammar mistakes when adding an apostrophe to show possession in plural and singular forms. Hence, examples of sentences that show the correct usage of an apostrophe to show possession are:

  • Jane’s doughnut. (Singular)
  • He is the people’s president. (Plural)

6. Prepositions

The use of prepositions is a challenging task for non-native English speakers. Basically, prepositions are short English words that have different meanings. Also, this condition makes it hard for one to determine the right preposition to use. Hence, common grammar mistakes that learners make when using prepositions are:

Using “in” and “at.” Students fail to use “in” and “at” with the wrong time of the day. In particular, the most effective way to use the preposition “in” is to combine it with morning, afternoon, and evening. Besides, learners should use the preposition “at” when talking about the night.

Using “in,” “at,” and “to.” Writers fail to include the preposition “in,” “at,” and “to” with the correct arrivals. Basically, learners can avoid this grammar mistake by using the preposition “to” when discussion about journeys. Besides, students should use “in” and “at” when describing relevant destinations. In turn, the choice between these two prepositions depends on a specific destination.

Using prepositions to refer to time, days, months, and years. Many learners fail to understand correct prepositions that they must use when describing time. In this case, writers should use the preposition “at” when talking about the time of the day. For a specific day or date, students should use the preposition “on.” Finally, scholars should use “in” for a month or year.

7. Inversion

Negative adverbials lead to limiting, emphatic, or dramatic effects in a sentence. Basically, negative adverbials should begin a sentence, which leads to an inversion of the following subject and verb. In turn, this strategy helps to emphasize a message and makes a statement striking and surprising. Hence, some common grammar mistakes that students make when using inversions are:

Using “only.” Writers fail to combine the term “only” with correct words when making inversions. In turn, learners can avoid such grammar mistakes by using the following combinations: only later, only when, only after, only by, only now, only once, only then, and only if.

Using “no,” “not,” and “never.” Students make wrong combinations with “no,” “not,” and “never”, which leads to poor conversions. However, writers can avoid such grammar mistakes by using the following forms: never, never before, no sooner, not only, not until, no more, in no way, on no account, no longer, no longer, and at no time.

8. Parallelism

Parallelism requires one to write all elements in a sentence in the same grammatical form. For instance, writers present a list of ideas by using a series of words, phrases, or clauses. Because such series talk about a common topic, students must maintain parallelism. Hence, examples of common grammar mistakes that learners make when using parallelism are:

Using the wrong verb tense. Many students choose the wrong verb tenses when writing in parallel form. Also, learners can eliminate such grammar mistakes by listing and expressing verbs using the same tenses. In practice, writers should use a simple past tense to communicate the intended message.

Absence of Logic. The second grammar mistake occurs when students make a list that does not reveal a sense of logic. However, writers can avoid this grammar mistake by selecting appropriate words, like “and” or “but.”

Failing to consider keywords. Some words tend to indicate where writers should use parallelism. In particular, learners make a grammar mistake when they fail to identify relevant terms and list the necessary ideas illogically. However, students can avoid this grammar mistake if they identify some phrases like:

  • Either…or
  • Neither… nor
  • Both… and

Common Punctuation Mistakes

The correct usage of punctuation marks helps one’s work to stand out. For instance, learners who use different punctuation marks correctly gain trust from their readers. In turn, punctuation marks that one must observe include commas, colon, and semicolon, including dashes.

1. Comma Mistakes

Commas are one of the most common punctuation marks that students must use when writing. In practice, commas indicate a brief pause within a sentence. Hence, common comma rules that one must observe when writing to avoid punctuation mistakes are:

Commas and coordinating conjunctions. Some writers avoid using commas to separate independent clauses when they are joined by coordinating conjunctions. For example, seven conjunctions are and, but, for, or, nor, so, and yet. Hence, examples of how one should use a comma to separate independent clauses are:

  • The football match was over, but the spectator refused to leave the stadium.
  • The employee explained his thoughts, yet the manager did not seem to understand.
  • Tomorrow will be her brother’s birthday, so she will take him out for dinner. 

Commas after introductory clauses. Students fail to use commas after introductory clauses, phrases, and words that come before the main clause. In turn, a comma should follow common starter words for introductory clauses. Also, starter words include after, although, as, because, if, since, when, and while. Hence, examples, where commas follow starter words, are:

  1. While I was bathing, John knocked at my door.
  2. Because my alarm was broken, I was late for class.

Setting off clauses. Some writers fail to use commas to set off clauses, words, and phrases that may not be essential to the meaning of a sentence. In this case, learners should place the weaker phrase between commas to indicate its beginning and ending. Hence, some examples of nonessential elements set off using commas are:

  • Nonessential clause – That Monday, which happened to a National Youths Day, is the only day that I was available for the meeting.
  • Nonessential phrase – The party was interesting and relevant to teenagers’ lives. The drinks, on the other hand, were not suitable.
  • Nonessential word – I appreciate your devotion to your work. In this case, however, you seem to have overworked yourself.

Setting off relative clauses. Some learners use commas to set off relative clauses. For instance, clauses that begin with “That” are essential to a sentence. In this case, one should not set off “That” clauses, which follow nouns, with commas since they support the intended meaning of an essay. Besides, “That” clauses following a verb expresses mental actions that appear essential to the intended meaning. Hence, sentences that contain “That” clauses are:

“That” clause following a noun:

  • The table that I borrowed from you was useful.

“That” clauses following a verb expressing some thoughts:

  • He believes that he will earn an A grade in his high school studies.

In other instances, one may write important elements in a sentence without using commas. Hence, an example is:

  • College learners who cheat only harm themselves.

Separating three or more words. Writers fail to use commas when separating three or more words, phrases, or clauses that may appear in series. Hence, a sentence sample with commas that separate consecutive words is:

  • The constitution of the United States stipulates the roles and duties of the legislature, executive, and judiciary.

Separating coordinate adjectives. Some learners fail to use commas to separate two or more coordinate adjectives that define the same noun. In this case, students should not add an extra comma between the final adjective and the noun or non-coordinate adjectives. Also, coordinate adjectives help to provide a better description of a noun. Hence, one should use the following questions to identify coordinate adjectives:

  1. Does a sentence make sense after writing adjectives in a reverse manner?
  2. Does a sentence make sense after including the word “and “between adjectives?

One knows that adjectives are coordinate after answering “yes” in two questions above. In this case, writers should separate adjectives with a comma. Hence, examples of sentences that contain coordinate adjectives are:

  • She was a difficult, stubborn child.
  • Your girlfriend has an easy, happy smile
  • The relentless, powerful summer sun beat down on them. The words, such as relentless and powerful, are coordinate verbs. However, powerful and summer are not coordinate verbs.
  • The relentless, powerful, oppressive sun beat down on them. The words, such as relentless, powerful, and oppressive, are coordinate verbs.

Separating juxtaposed coordinates. Some students fail to use commas to separate juxtaposed coordinate elements or indicate a clear pause or shift. In this case, a comma should appear near the end of a sentence. Hence, examples sentences with commas that separate contrasted coordinate elements are:

  • She was merely ill-informed, not stupid.
  • The monkey seemed thoughtful, almost human.
  • You are one of the president’s close friends, aren’t you?
  • The defendant in the murder case seemed innocent, even gullible.

Separating phrases that end sentences. Some writers fail to use commas to separate a phrase at the end of a sentence, which refers to its beginning or middle. Basically, examples of such phrases include free modifiers that may appear anywhere in a sentence, without obstructing the meaning. Moreover, learners should determine if the placement of the modifier leads to unnecessary confusion. In such instances, the modifier must remain bound to the word it amends.

  • Joan waved enthusiastically at the stopping bus, laughing joyously.
  • Smiling joyously, Ben waved at Joan.  
  • Ben waved at Joan, who was smiling joyously.

Setting off geographical names. Learners fail to use commas when setting off all geographical names, addresses, titles in names and items in dates. Basically, this rule exempts the month and day, and street number and names. Hence, sentences that contain commas separating geographical names are:

  • September 11, 2001, was a sad day in the history of the United States.
  • Arizona, Arkansas, New Jersey, and South Dakota legalized marijuana.
  • Joan, MD, will be among the keynote speakers.

Also, students should avoid using a comma when including the month and year. For instance, one should write:

  • September 2001 was a sad period for the United States

Shifting main discourse. Some writers fail to use commas when shifting from the main discourse and a quotation. Hence, relevant examples of comma usage for such a case are:

  • Joan said without sentiment, “I will see you the day after tomorrow.”
  • “I was able,” she answered, “to complete home chores.”
  • Karl Marx stated, “history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”

Preventing confusion. Some students fail to use commas to prevent possible confusion and misreading. Hence, a sample that contains the correct usage of commas in enhancing the meaning of a sentence is:

  • Tor George Bush, becoming the president, was the fulfillment of a family legacy.

2. Colon Mistakes

Colons are useful when introducing related information. Basically, failure to understand the correct use of colons makes one’s work to become vague. Hence, some punctuation mistakes that students make when using colons in their writing are:

Introducing Items. Some scholars fail to use colons when introducing an item or list. As a rule, one should use a colon after a complete sentence or independent clause that leads to a list of items. Hence, an example is:

  • There are basic things that each human requires: food, water and shelter.

Separating two sentences. Some writers fail to use colons when separating two sentences where the second clause illustrates the first section. Here is an example of the correct colon usage:

  • Our trip to Sweden was the best: we saw some of the most attractive terrains in this world.

Introducing a list. Learners fail to use a colon when introducing a list of items. In turn, four important punctuation marks in English that one may use to introduce a list is:

  • Full stop
  • Question mark
  • Comma
  • Quotation marks

Introducing long quotes. Some learners fail to use colons when introducing long quotes. Basically, academic writing rules require learners to avoid punctuation marks when introducing block quotes. Instead, they should use a colon. Here is an example of an extended quote:

  • Karl Marx stated that:

Society at any given point … .

Writing greetings. Some students fail to use a colon when writing greetings. As a rule, one should use colons when writing salutations in formal business letters. In turn, an example of a colon used in the salutation is:

  • Dear Mrs. Davidson:

Wring scriptural references. Some scholars fail to use colons when writing scriptural references. In practice, one should use colons to separate the chapter and verse. Hence, a relevant example is:

  • John 4:10 – from this example, “4” is a chapter, while “10” is a relevant verse.

Writing a specific section. Some learners fail to use colons before a specific section in a definite statement. Hence, an example of a sentence that contains the correct usage of the colon is:

  • Barack Obama churned racism during his office tenure: “There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America.”

Introducing a series of specific terms. Students write vague information by failing to use a colon after some words, like as, such as, that is, namely, and for example, when introducing a series of specific terms that relate to the general message. Hence, an example of a sentence that contains the correct usage of a colon is:

  • I can play different musical instruments such as: the harp, French horn, trombone, and piano.

Writing general terms. Some writers make a punctuation mistake of omitting a colon after a general term that precedes several related statements. In this case, an example of a sentence that reveals the correct usage of a colon is:

  • The darkness of death is like and evening twilight: it makes the dying to see lovely objects.

Writing time. Some learners fail to use colons when writing time. Instead, students use periods to separate hours and minutes. Also, this strategy obscures the intended meaning of the message indicated.

  • 14:12 – This case states that it is twelve minutes past two o’clock in the afternoon.

3. Semicolon Mistakes

Semicolons are useful in connecting ideas that have a close relationship. As a rule, a writer should use semicolons when a sentence requires a punctuation mark than a comma. Basically, learners who use commas effectively make sentences to sound more sophisticated. Hence, common punctuation mistakes that students make when using semicolons are:

Wring independent clauses. Some writers fail to include semicolons when two independent clauses that have closely-related clauses. In particular, one should use a semicolon when two clauses in a sentence have equal weight to the intended message. Hence, an example of a sentence that contains a semicolon is:

  • Some students prefer using a word processor; others write with a pen or a pencil.

Separating independent clauses. Some learners fail to use semicolons between two independent clauses, connected by a conjunctive adverb. In other instances, scholars fail to use a semicolon when separating clauses connected with a transitional phrase. Hence, an example of a sentence that contains the correct usage of a semicolon is:

  • Although they choose to write, people have the freedom to make independent decisions; as a result, many people stick to their writing methods.

Separating items. Some students fail to use semicolon between items in a list with some items containing commas. Hence, a sentence that contains the correct use of a semicolon when listing items is:

  • Students can write with a pen or pencil, which is economical and easily available; or by computer and printer, which is expensive but fast and inexpensive.

Separating coordinating conjunctions. Some writers fail to use semicolons between independent clauses linked with a coordinating conjunction, where clauses have commas or long. Hence, an example of a sentence that contains the correct usage of a semicolon for lengthy clauses is:

  • Today, some learners use a word processor, tablet, and phone to write; but others, choose a pen or pencil to write for different reasons.

Avoiding unnecessary colons. Some scholars commit a comma splice by avoiding using colons when separating independent clauses in the absence of coordinating conjunction. Hence, a sample of a sentence that lacks coordinating conjunction but utilizes a semicolon.

  • The dog is black; it is also old.

Replacing periods. Some students fail to use semicolons to replace a period when narrowing a gap between two closely connected sentences. Hence, examples of sentences that contain the wrong and correct usage of a semicolon in reducing vagueness of writing are:

  • Call me in the evening. You can give me your thoughts then. (Wrong)
  • Call me in the evening; you can give me your thoughts then. (Correct)

Separating dependent and independent clauses. Some learners use a semicolon when a dependent clause precedes an independent one. Hence, sentence samples that show the wrong and correct usage of semicolons are:

  • Although he worked hard; he failed in the final examinations. (Wrong)
  • Although he worked hard, he failed in the final examinations. (Correct)

Introducing complete sentences. Some scholars fail to use a semicolon before some words, such as namely, however, therefore, that is, for example, and for instance, when introducing a complete sentence. Hence, a writer should use commas after introducing the words stated above:

  • Bring any three items during the camp; however, beddings and sleeping materials are in shortage.

Linking connectors. Some writers fail to use semicolons in sentences linked by connectors, such as and, but, or, and nor among others. In particular, one should use a semicolon in instances where commas appear in the first clause. Hence, a sentence sample that shows the correct use of semicolons under this category is:

  • When I complete my studies, and I will soon, I will visit your home; and that is a promise that I must keep.

Capitalizing words. Some students tend to capitalize words after a semicolon. As a rule, one should capitalize nouns that follow semicolons. However, one should not capitalize other words.

Common Spelling Mistakes

Writers tend to confuse some words that have similar sounds or spelling. Basically, the presence of such spelling mistakes in one’s work affects its quality and readability levels. Hence, examples of words that students tend to confuse are:

An, A, or And

Most writers fail to use words, such as an, a, or and, with right words. For example, students should use a before words that begin with consonants. Also, the word an should come before words that begin with vowels. Finally, one should use and to join words or clauses.

Accept and Except

The terms, such as accept and expect, have different meanings that learners should distinguish. Basically, accept refers to the act of receiving something. However, expect refers to the process of excluding something.

Addition and Edition

Confusing addition for edition distorts the intended meaning. The term addition refers to supplementary things. However, edition refers to one item in a series of published materials.

Advice and Advise

Students make spelling mistakes when using the word advise in place of advice. Basically, advice refers to an opinion that one may receive for guidance. Conversely, advise refers to the action of giving or providing the necessary guidance.

Affect and Effect

Affect and effect have similar sounds by varied meanings. In particular, affect refers to an action of influencing something. Nonetheless, effect refers to a result or an action of causing something to happen.

Aloud and Allowed

Most writers confuse these two antonyms, which leads to spelling mistakes. For example, allowed refers to an action of permitting something to happen. In turn, aloud refers to a strong voice or sound.  

All Ready and Already

Learners tend to confuse the words, such as all ready and already, during their writing process. In particular, all ready implies that everyone is prepared to accomplish a specific activity. Nevertheless, already means before.  

Are and Our

Many writers tend to use the verb are in a place of the possessive pronoun our during their writing process. Basically, the verb are exists as a plural form of the word is. However, a possessive pronoun our indicates possession of a property.

Beside and Besides

Many scholars confuse the usage of the terms, such as beside and besides. For instance, beside refers to a physical position of an object (next to). However, the term besides implies in addition to something mentioned earlier.

Breath and Breathe

These two antonyms have diverse meanings that tend to confuse writers. For example, breath is the air that people take, while breathe is the action of inhaling.

Buy and By

Learners confuse the terms, such as buy and by, in their writing, which leads to misleading information. For example, buy refers to an action of purchasing, while by means near.

Choose and Chose

Writers should use choose when referring to a selection process. However, learners should use chose when using the past tense of choose.

Clothes and Cloths

Scholars confuse terms, such as clothes and cloths, when writing about garments. In this case, clothes refer to garments worn by people. Nevertheless, cloths are pieces of fabric.

Coarse and Course

Antonyms, such as coarse and course, have different meanings. Basically, the term coarse refers to a rough surface. However, course alludes to a direction or path taken by something.

Complement and Compliment

Students tend to confuse the application of antonyms, such as complement and compliment. The term complement refers to an action of making complete or better. However, compliment alludes to praises.

Conscience and Conscious

Conscience refers to the inner moral guide that individuals use to make decisions. However, conscious refers to a process of remaining awake.

Desert and Dessert

Writers should use the term desert when referring to a hot and dry place. Nevertheless, learners should use the phrase dessert when writing about a sweet that people take after meals.   

Do and Due

Scholars should use the term do when referring to an act of performing. In turn, this usage differs from the application of due, which refers to owing.

Does and Dose

Many learners confuse the application of terms, such as dose and does in sentences. In this case, one should use does as a form of do. However, a writer should use dose when referring to a quantity of medicine take.

Feel and Fill  

These antonyms lead to flawed meaning in a sentence. The term feel refers to the perception that people gain through touch. However, fill refers to an act of being packed.

American vs. Canadian vs. British vs. Australian English

Writers should learn the difference between the English terms used in different countries because they lead to spelling mistakes. Hence, common terms in various forms of English are:

American Canadian British Australian
Color Colour Colour Colour
Flavor Falvour Falvour Falvour
Humor Humour Humour Humour
Labor Labour Labour Labour
Neighbor Neighbour Neighbour Neighbour
Organize Organise Organise Organise
Apologize Apologise Apologise Apologise
Analyze Analyze Analyse Analyse
Traveller Traveler Traveler Traveler
Defense Defence Defence Defence

Summing Up on Common Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling Mistakes

Students make many common grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes when writing their academic papers. Basically, such problems remain significant among non-native English speakers. In turn, this guide shows that learners may understand the basics of English but make common grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes during their writing. Also, the process lowers the quality of their works. Hence, one should remember the following points.

  1. identify antonyms to avoid spelling mistakes;
  2. identify spelling or words in different languages to avoid spelling mistakes.