The process of writing a book isn’t without its challenges. And any author who has ever undertaken the herculean task of writing a book can attest to the irritation and exasperation grammar mistakes can attract. This reigns especially true for those authors who are new to the arena and can barely string a decent plot together, let alone maintain proper grammar. If there’s one thing to remember, it’s this – the cleaner your manuscript, the more professional you’ll look to agents and editors. Therefore, grammar mistakes should not be taken lightly at all.
5 Common Grammar Mistakes Authors Make
When it comes to grammar, the word ‘mistake’ is mostly subjective. English is dynamic. This is what makes it such an interesting language. Several elements that might have been part of Standard English in previous generations may have become unacceptable today. As such, it is necessary for every author writing a book to remain abreast of the changes and transformations occurring within the English language, especially as far as grammar is concerned. ChatEbooks lists down some of the most common grammar mistakes authors make today.
One of the most common grammar mistakes is the omission of the serial comma. Also known as the Oxford comma, serial commas prevent confusion when one is listing numerous items. A serial comma can make the meaning of a sentence much clear. The omission of a serial comma can create confusion.
The misuse of adverbs tops the list of common grammar mistakes more often than most people presume. When writing a book, some people believe it is necessary to use adverbs to modify verbs with the aim of emphasizing strong ideas. This becomes problematic in situations where accurate and concise descriptions would have proven more effective. The fact that adverbs, when used as modifiers, are so ambiguous only exacerbates matters.
For instance, a sentence like “he quickly ran” doesn’t tell readers just how fast ‘he’ ran. In other words, adverbs cannot provide answers with regards to the degree and extent of any given action or description, this making most of them largely irrelevant. Authors are always encouraged to favor adverbs with specific meanings as opposed to loose implications.
Long Passages of Texts
Readers today have a preference for content delivered in bite-sized formats. However, even eliminating the preferences of readers, long passages and texts have always been scorned by publishers. Authors shouldn’t force their audience to dig through lengthy passages of text in order to gain an understanding of the messages hidden within. Actually, it’s not even necessary when there are so many tools at their disposal that could be used to organize their content into easily consumable formats. Bulleted lists, for example, show a commendable level of mental organization.
The English language is full of words with similar pronunciations and whose spellings and meanings authors, both amateur and professional, have been known to confuse. Words like its and it’s, who’s and whose, their and they’re have been torturing writers’ minds for decades, if not centuries. And the fact that such grammar mistakes are so easy to make only adds to the frustration.
Lack of Subject and Verb Agreement
When writing in the present tense, your subjects and verbs must agree in number; that is to say, a singular subject must have a singular verb. In the same way, a subject in plural must be matched by a verb in plural.
For example, “The recipes is good for new chefs” is a sentence lacking in subject and verb agreement. It would be more accurate to say “The recipes are good for new chefs”. Simple as subject-verb agreement might be, most authors will admit to letting this issue slip past them during the frenzy of writing a book.
Grammar is changing at such a pace today that its importance, especially for some genres of publishing, has begun to reduce. Some authors rationalize that “readers today are more interested in enjoying their content than scrutinizing the accuracy of the grammar, especially within the self-publishing industry.” Don’t believe the hype; the truth is actually quite the contrary! It’s difficult to get lost in a story when the context is plagued with errors. So, when writing a book you should make every effort to reduce or eliminate grammar mistakes, even if it means hiring a professional to help you out.