Grammar Notes & Considerations


1 APA Formatting Reminders

2 Grammar Mistakes

2.1 Punctuation

Punctuation is either missing or unnecessarily included. For punctuation information, visit Purdue OWL

2.2 Homophone

Homophones are words that sound the same but are spelled differently, such as “there,” their,” and “they’re.” For a list of homophones, refer to Purdue OWL

2.3 Incorrect Word

This word doesn’t make sense in or isn’t appropriate for the context.

2.4 Missing Word

A word is missing to make this a complete thought or sentence.

2.5 Possessive vs. Plural

Possessive nouns indicate ownership, such as “the flower’s petals” or “the students’ chairs.” Plural nouns never have an apostrophe before or after the “s.” (“The many flowers” or “the responsible students.”) Here is a lesson on possessive and plural nouns:

2.6 Singular vs. Plural

This word is singular and should be plural, or vice-versus.

2.7 Too Much Ambiguity

It is unclear to what or to whom this pronoun is referring.

2.8 Stronger Verb

A punchier verb would make the sentence sturdier. For a list of verbs, refer to

2.9 Verb Tense

The verb tense shifted from one sentence or thought to the next. For help with verb usage, visit

2.10 Unnecessary Word

This word is not necessary, either due to a typo or wordiness.

2.11 Awkward or Verbose Phrasing

A modified version of this sentence or phrase would be clearer and easier to read. Here is some guidance for concise writing:

2.12 Repetitive Word Use

This word or phrase has been used too frequently. Try restructuring your sentence or using a different word to make your paper more readable.

2.13 Confusing Sentence

This sentence is either confusing or awkward to read. Evaluate the message you are trying to convey and make that the focus of the sentence.

2.14 Parallel Structure

Parallel structure means using the same word pattern in a sequence. For example, instead of saying, “She enjoys baking, shopping, and to pet cats,” try, “She enjoys baking, shopping, and petting cats.” For more examples and practice, see

2.15 Singular Plural Disagreement

The subject and the verb need to be both singular or both plural. For a lesson and practice quiz, visit

2.16 Active vs. Passive Voice

Sometimes passive voice can be ok, especially in technical writing, but avoid excessive or awkward use. Here are examples of the difference between active and passive sentences and how to use them appropriately:

2.17 Too Causal

This phrase or sentence is too casual for academic writing.

2.18 Misplaced Word

A word is misplaced so that it seems to be describing a different word than intended. For example, in this sentence, “I picked the cat at the store with grey stripes,” it seems like the store had grey stripes instead of the cat. Instead, the sentence should read, “I picked the cat with grey stripes at the store.” For more information, see

2.19 Word Choice

Replace with a stronger, more descriptive or active word. Visit to look up powerful synonyms and antonyms.

2.20 Comma Splice

A comma splice occurs when two independent clauses are improperly conjoined with a simple comma and no transition words. The comma may be replaced with a semicolon, or supplemented with a transition word or phrase. For examples, see