There are some common errors that occur in student academic writing which are set out here:
Hit Parade of Errors in Grammar, Punctuation, and Style - from the University of Toronto Writing Center
If you make some or all these errors and would like help identifying and fixing them in your writing, you can refer to the additional resources in this guide, or you can make an appointment with a writing tutor at the GUQ Writing Center.
Follow the guidelines in the link below to learn how to use commas correctly:
Comma Rules - from the Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Do these online exercises to become more proficient at using commas:
Comma Exercise # 1 - from the Aims Online Writing Lab
Comma Exercise # 2 - from the Learning Center at D'Youville College
A run-on sentence occurs when two complete sentences are not separated properly. For example, they may be joined by a comma (which is a comma splice), or there may be no punctuation at all (fused sentence). This resource will help you fix run-on sentences:
Fixing Run-On Sentences - from the University of Minnesota, Center for Writing
A comma splice occurs when two complete sentences are joined together by a comma. A comma splice is a type of run-on sentence. This resource will help you fix your comma splices:
How to Fix Comma Splices - from the University of Texas at Dallas Writing Center
To get practice identifying and fixing comma splices, try these online exercises:
Comma Splice Exercise #1 - from the Learning Center at D'Youville College
Comma Splice Exercise #2 - from the University of Bristol Faculty of Arts
The three tenses used predominantly in academic writing are present simple, past simple, and present perfect. Refer to this guide on when to use them:
Verb Tenses - from the Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
When writing about a piece of literature or a literary character, "literary present" is used. The idea is that the author, characters, or fiction exist in a timeless world. However, when writing about an author outside the context of the work of fiction, often past tense is used. Some examples are:
NOTE: Even when discussing a piece of literature, you may need to use other tenses to clarify a chronology of events as in the following example:
Do not use the literary present in history. The past tense should be used as all historical events took place at some point in the past.
Even though the teacher tries to keep their attention, the students in the back of the classroom are generally not attentive.
Not logical: The school's official photograph is students laughing together
Logical: The school's official photograph shows students laughing together.
Wordy: With relation to the academic rules which have been proposed, students and faculty are not in agreement about them.
Concise: Students and faculty disagree about the proposed academic rules.
Politicians avoided serious discussion of the clean water legislation because the voters voiced more interest in issue such as garbage collection taxes.(long) This was irresponsible.(short)
Awkward: Each student should make sure that his or her assignments.
Revised using plurals: Students should make sure that their assignments are on time
Incorrect: All of the animals had its cage cleaned out.
Correct: All of the animals had their cages cleaned out.
Passive: Through this paper the benefits of peer tutoring will be explored.
Active: This paper will explore the benefits of peer tutoring.