ENG 4U ISU ESSAY: COMMON ERRORS 1. Shifting the subject mid-sentence.

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ENG 4U
ISU ESSAY: COMMON ERRORS
1. Shifting the subject mid-sentence.
Error: As a young rebellious character, the reader would not expect James Dean to follow the
rules.
Correction: Because James Dean is a rebellious character, the reader does not expect Dean to
follow the rules.
2. Improper use of impact as a verb.
The proper definition for impact as a verb is as follows: to strike or push at or against; to fix
firmly by packing or wedging; to press together or mix into a clotted mass (e.g. goblets of clay
and drops of sweat impacted into a hot mulch).
Generally, when you use the word, you should be using it as a noun.
Error: Her parents' behaviour impacted on her greatly.
Correction: Her parents' behaviour had a great impact on her.
3. Improper use of prejudice as an adjective.
Prejudice is a noun. Prejudiced and prejudicial are both adjectives which describe someone's
behaviour when he/she judges without first examining the facts.
Error: He is prejudice towards the immigrants in the town.
Correction: He is prejudiced towards the immigrants in the town.
Or: His treatment of the immigrants of the town is prejudicial.
4. Use of contractions in formal writing (e.g. wouldn't, can't, didn't, he's)
Error: He can't see a way to improve his life; he's stuck in a dream world.
Correction: He cannot see a way to improve his life; he is stuck in a dream world.
5. Misuse of square brackets in quotations.
They should be used to indicate that you have substituted a word or phrase to make the
quotation more coherent. You do not include the word or phrases that you are
substituting.
Error: "He [Santa Claus] was happy to be back home."
Correction: "[Santa Claus] was happy to be back home."
You do not need them when you are indicating that you have left something out.
Error: "They went to the river [...] and found his body near the edge of the water."
Correction: "They went to the river ... and found his body near the edge of the water."
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