What are parallel sentence structures?

Parallel sentence structures, or parallelism is the principle of expressing similar ideas in a similar or parallel way. Parallelism appears in the list of Top Twenty under error #10, Faulty Sentence Structure. In previous posts, we discussed other structure errors such as fragments, run-ons, and comma splices. There are additional faulty sentence structures can jar …

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Should I write my story in present or past tense?

Verb tense is one of the important elements that defines your prose, and the choices you make about tense can determine your writing’s reception. Commentators on verb tense and consistency point to manuscripts with the problem of verbs leaping from one tense to another without a sound reason; for instance, from the past to the …

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What does it mean to make subjects and verbs agree?

As discussed in the previous post on verb forms, errors with verbs appear to have decreased over the years. For instance, in the 1986 survey which resulted in the Twenty Most Common Errors list, four of the twenty errors involved verbs: wrong/missing verb endings or inflections (# 6); unnecessary shift in verb tense (# 10); …

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How do I know when to capitalize a word?

Rules for capitalizing words are ones that have to be learned through memorization, repeated use, or consulting a resource like a dictionary or writing handbook. As with punctuation marks and other mechanics, the use of capital letters is a practice in written (and printed) rather than in spoken English. According to some college surveys, nearly …

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How to avoid plagiarism by properly documenting your sources

A web search using the term plagiarism invariably turns up citations of articles and postings from educational websites about plagiarism and students, particularly how and why it should be avoided. But plagiarism is not an issue for students alone. If you amend the search to “plagiarism and famous writers,” a dozen articles surface discussing many …

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