Before you submit your paper, check these things.
Read through your paper and make sure your nouns are
singular and plural in the right places. Sometimes the
sentences may be grammatically correct (and not caught by
spell check), but they may not mean what you intended.
Example: Sarah raised her hands to ask the teacher a
Explanation: Sarah might have raised both hands, but it is
more common for a person to raise one hand to ask a
question. The writer should revisit this line and make sure
he or she really meant both hands and not just one.
Make sure you are using past tense when talking about
past events, present tense for present actions and future
tense for things that will happen in the future.
Wrong: Next Tuesday, I have turned in my essay.
Right: Next Tuesday, I will turn in my essay.
Or: Next Tuesday, I will have turned in my essay.
Make sure your verbs match the nouns doing the actions in
person and number.
Wrong: My brothers is very tall.
Right: My brothers are very tall.
Or: My brother is very tall.
Make sure your pronouns match their nouns.
Wrong: A person should take their hat off when indoors.
Right: A person should take his or her hat off when indoors.
Or: People should take their hats off when indoors.
Their and them are plural pronouns. Make sure the noun
these pronouns refer to is plural too.
 Demonstrative
pronouns are that,
these, and those. Pay
attention to how far
away the object is and
whether there is more
than one object when
using demonstrative
 This
cat (singular, close
to the speaker)
 That cat (singular,
farther from the
 These cats (plural,
close to the speaker)
 Those cats (plural,
farther from the
 Many
words or phrases
are grammatically
correct English, but
because they are
informal, they cannot
be used in a paper.
Here are some
lot of, lots of
 Really (when used in
place of very)
 Kind of (when used to
mean somewhat)
 Okay
A contraction is a word
made from two words, in
which one of more
letters is left out and
replaced with an
 Contractions are very
common in spoken
English, but many
professors want their
students to avoid
contractions in their
 don’t (do not)
 should’ve (should have)
 can’t (cannot)
 I’m (I am)
Stock phrases, called
clichés, are common in
speech. Learning these
phrases is an important
part of learning English.
 While it is acceptable to
say these phrases, do
not use clichés for formal
 Instead, write what you
are trying to say in your
own phrasing.
Some examples:
 Dead as a doornail
 The cat’s meow
 Between a rock and a
hard place
The person of a sentence refers to
who does the action.
When the writer of the sentence is
doing the action, this is called first
person. First person uses words like
I and we.
In second person the reader does
the action. Second person uses
words like you and your.
In third person an outside person or
thing separate from the writer or
reader does the action. Third person
uses he, she, it, and they.
Third person is the most common
mode for formal writing.
It can be acceptable to use first
person (I or we) if your assignment
allows it or requires it.
You may also have reflective
portions of the assignment when
you give your opinions or detail your
own experience. First person is
appropriate there.
Don’t use first person when you are
supposed to be analyzing
Second person is almost always
unacceptable for academic writing.