How Does Your Writing Stack Up?

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If I never met you and you sent me an email, would I be able to read and understand it clearly? Would you write in complete sentences with correctly spelled words or would I be subjected to run-on sentences with present-past tense errors and misspelled words?

Because people are so accustomed to creating short text messages, the idea of writing complete sentences seems like a foreign concept but if you ever have to do any professional writing, your grammar will be of the utmost importance. So here’s a few things you should know:

To be a complete sentence, a group of words must begin with a capital letter, have ending punctuation (a period, question mark, or exclamation point), and express a complete thought. While most people understand the first two requirements, it’s the third that causes problems, with errors often resulting in sentence fragments or run-on sentences. Consider these bad grammar examples:

  • Incorrect: Because I wanted to go on a picnic.
  • Incorrect: When Al gets here.

The first two bad grammar examples are incorrect because they don’t express complete thoughts: What happened that made me decide I wanted to go on a picnic? In the next example, what will happen when Al gets here? To correct this error, you must add an independent clause to complete the thought.

  • Correct: I brought a blanket because I wanted to go on a picnic.
  • Correct: When Al gets here, we can start making dinner.

Adding the independent clause completes the thought, facilitating understanding.

Remember, the words you write do matter.

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