Feb 11th 2018

6 Common Comma Usage Mistakes

Comma Usage

Guest post written by Anna Marsh on February 11, 2018 

Do you get irritated by those green lines on your word document notifying you of a misplaced or missing comma? If yes, then you are among the many other writers who tend to goof their writing due to the wrong use of comma. The misuse of the comma is one of the most common forms of grammatical mistakes that writers commit in their writing pieces.

Any major mistake in the comma usage can change the connotation of a word or alter the entire meaning of a sentence. So, if you are a newbie writer who wants to be more accurate with his comma usage, here are some of the common mistakes you must avoid:

1. Adding A Comma Before “That” In A Clause
Often, we see writers using a comma before a clause that starts with “that”. This is a wrong practice because when we use “that” to introduce a restrictive clause then it does not require a comma before “that”.
Incorrect: The car, that banged on the wall was old.
Correct: The car that banged on the wall was old.

2. Not Using a Comma Between Two Independent Clauses That Are Connected By A Coordinating Conjunction
This is another common mistake in comma usage. Not using a comma between two independent clauses separated by a conjunction can change the meaning of the whole sentence.
Incorrect: I played chess but I could not win any competition.
Correct: I played chess, but I could not win any competition.

3. Using A Comma Before A Verb In Relative Clause
Putting a comma before a verb that connects a relative clause to the main clauses breaks the connection between the two clauses and changes the meaning of the sentence.
Incorrect: One of the perks of hiring an essay writing service, is the free revision.
Correct: One of the perks of hiring an essay writing service is the free revision.

4. Comma Splice and Run-On Sentence
A comma splice occurs when you place a comma between two independent clauses without a conjunction between them. A Grammarian would consider this an inappropriate use of the comma.
Incorrect: I opened the door, I fell on the ground.
Correct: I opened the door. I fell on the ground.

Furthermore, a run-on sentence occurs when you don’t put a comma when connecting two independent clauses.
Incorrect: After I finished my work I went out for a break.
Correct: After I finished my work, I went out for a break.

5. Using A Comma in An Essential Adjective Clause
An essential adjective clause is one that is vital to explain the meaning of a sentence. For example:
It is the place that I always aspired to visit in my lifetime.

In the above example, the words in italics are the essential adjective clause because it defines the particular place that the subject wanted to pay a visit and using a comma is not appropriate in this case.
Incorrect: He is the man, whom I met on the plane.
Correct: He is the man whom I met on the plane.

6. Using A Comma Before a Subordinate Conjunction
A subordinate conjunction is a type of conjunction that connects an independent clause with a dependent clause. Here are some of the examples:
– Allan missed the train because he woke up late.
– You cannot win the competition unless you excel in the training session.
– He will visit New York after the winter ends.

In the aforementioned examples, you can see that the dependent clause starts with a subordinate conjunction which connects it to the independent clause. The conjunction links the two clauses to give the right meaning. So, there is no need to use a comma between the clauses.
Incorrect: I caught a cold, because I had some ice cream.
Correct: I caught a cold because I had some ice cream.

Wrap-Up
The above-mentioned are some of the common mistakes in comma usage. Hope, this article helps you make the right use of comma in your writing.

About the Author
Anna Marsh is a Pro Writer, Educator, and a Blogger. In her blog, she likes to share her tips about the various aspects of grammar usage. She has a fascination in different cultures and languages. Being a veteran educator, she also helps students with their academic issues. You can reach her Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.

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Feb 8th 2018

New Words Added to the Dictionary in 2017

New English Words

With the year 2018 coming alive all around us, let’s take a few moments and look back at some of the new words added to the Dictionary in 2017. Some of the new words are fascinating, hence, a review is in order!

New words are typically introduced when a group uses a certain word while interacting with others outside of that group. This causes the word to spread and gain popularity across various populations until it sometimes gradually makes its way into mainstream communications. That’s when it’s considered for inclusion in the English dictionaries, such as the Oxford dictionary (OED).

This year, a noticeable trend is a rise in the number of Indian based words which were added to the English dictionary. No less than 70 such words were added to the OED during 2017, putting the total count of Indian words in the Oxford English Dictionary on close to 1000. Why has this happened? Some might ask, well, the answer is simple:

English has a centuries-long history in India, during which it has played significant roles in the country’s society.
First: It served as a means of communication between merchants and missionaries.
Second: It was made the country’s primary language during colonial administration.
Finally: It obtained an official status in the independent India and thus continued to function as a lingua Franca in one of the world most linguistically diverse nations.

You might have seen these words being used on social media outlets and wondered about their meaning and origin – so here they are for you to revisit, together with their definition and some sample usage sentences from the Oxford English Dictionary.

Here’s a couple of our favorites from the list:

Belter:
A loud singer or song.
Sentence Example: She was a belter in her performance last night.

Yampy:
Someone who is daft, mad or losing the plot.
Sentence Example: “That is the yampy man I was referring to yesterday.”

Natak:
Drama or dramatic art.
Sentence Example: The natak we are about to experience is certainly worth the money and time.”

Shuttler:
Regular travel back and forth over an established, often short route by a vehicle.
Sentence Example: Hail that shuttler please!”

Freak flag:
Defiant, or proud exhibition of traits which are considered as unconventional.
Sentence Example: “She is such a freak flag when she wants to be!”

Wifty-wafty:
Silly, dippy, kooky persona.
Sentence Example: “Ever since we moved to the new neighborhood, the dog has become so wifty-wafty.”

Share with us your favorite new English words!

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Jan 31st 2018

Essential Proofreading Tips for Business Writers

Guest post written by Paul Bates on January 31, 2018 

Business writers can either be freelancers or employees in that organization depending on their job description and their role in achieving the companies’ objectives. For accuracy and clarity, a writer’s work should not encompass errors in grammar, sentence structure and vocabulary. Proofreading is a culminating writing process after drafting and editing. In the following article we will provide essential proofreading tips for business writers. Exposing content to a fresh set of eyes while concurrently proofreading own work is one of the ways a business writer can improve their proofreading skills.

Read through the work              
Proofreading is subsequent to final drafting. A writer proofreads their work to catch errors and makes necessary changes. It is paramount to acquaint with the syntactical rules of the involved language. Basic rules of language require the use of varieties of syntax to improve the quality of work. Perusing through one’s work is essential in making note of patterns of error. Plausibly, all writers make errors that are typical of their writing. Reading through the work aids in keeping a list that constantly makes the writer aware of these mistakes hence simplifies the proofreading process. Scrutinizing out loud a writer’s own writing is a tactic that accentuates run-on sentences that would otherwise be missed if read silently. Reading backward, that is from the point of termination to the commencement part, provides a clear view of mistakes. This is because reading in an unnatural order reduces the monotony of seeing what you expect.

Customize the text editor
Customizing the text editor to detect sentence fragmentation, style and sentence structure, punctuation errors, and vocabulary enhancements expedite the proofreading process. Syntax highlighting and autocomplete are some of the features that facilitate the proofreading process. A business writer requires a text editor with flexible customization options and built-in software that eliminate unnecessary mistakes before looking for them. A writer’s credibility depends on the quality of the content they fabricate. This means that the organization should set aside sufficient monetary requirements necessary to purchase the required tools and software that make proofreading easier. For example, the notepad ++ is known to have the ability to design a custom syntax.

Work from a printout
Business writers have been advised from time to time to print out a soft copy of their work after finalizing their draft. Corrections should be done on the hard-copy before implementing them on the file in the computer. Knowing which errors to look for, and highlighting them on the paper prevents mistake patterns that are redundant. Errors that are put on the spotlight are then corrected on the computer file before publishing the content to the consumers. For the writer, converting work edits and re-writes from a draft provides a clear visual progression of the final product which is ultimately satisfying.

A printout also ensures that several copies are issued to editors that assist the business writer in reading and proofreading where necessary. Separating yourself from the work and perusing through it from a reader’s point of view helps to identify inconsistencies. Seeking a second and a third opinion is important to get different but obliging opinions.

Rely on external literature
Proofreading is a collective process that involves the use of tools such as dictionaries. The dictionary is the easiest way to acquire vocabulary enhancements and spellings. Using them as references in any format available, that is online or a hard copy reduces the uncertainty of implementing erroneous words. Other tools that are considered useful but should not be relied on entirely are spelling and grammar checkers. Although such tools don’t highlight every mistake, they aid in catching infinitesimal errors. This contributes to the entire proofreading process by saving time.

 The role of tools, skills, and people in facilitating effective proofreading as demonstrated in this article constitutes giving business writers an edge in terms of the various activities that characterize the entire process. The article comprehensively outlines the effective tips that all writers assimilate during their whole writing and publishing process. Taking this into consideration, in a decade to come, enhanced text-vetting and proofreading software will have been developed as a result of the ubiquitous and evolving technology.

“Paul Bates is a content marketing expert at Solidessay.com Besides, he is a regular contributor to such websites as MOZ, ConfidentWriters, BuzzFeed, etc.”

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Jan 30th 2018

Memorizing Synonyms and Antonyms

Synonyms Memorization_500x300_4

In learning and communicating effectively in English, a key aspect is the use of synonyms and antonyms. Before fully diving into the subject, it is important to understand the meaning of these two terms:

Synonyms are different words which possess the same meaning.
Antonyms are words which are opposite in meaning.

One quick way to remember this is by memorizing:
S, the first letter of the word Synonyms, can stand for “Same”.
A, the first letter of the word “Antonyms”, can stand for “Against”.

Here’s how you can memorize synonyms and antonyms easily:

  • Look the word up in the dictionary and thesaurus: This is definitely one of the most common and important things to do. Most synonyms and antonyms are not evident after the first It is always advisable to consult your dictionary to get a full grasp of what the meaning is all about.
  • Make then personal: Words that are personalized are usually retained in the brain for much longer. You can personalize words by using them in your everyday conversations, including them in a short story or poem you are writing and so on. In doing this, you are creating a memory of the words and also learning the more appropriate way in which to use them.
  • Learn synonyms and antonyms under the same category: Trying to comprehend all the synonyms and antonyms the English language offers will definitely lead to no success. It is thus advisable to learn antonyms and synonyms under a particular One can learn, for instance, antonyms and synonyms relating to health and hospitals in general. Doing this gives you an ability to know how to use the words in the right context and retain a greater number of them in memory.
  • Make a study plan: Learning antonyms and synonyms or even when learning new words in general, it is very important to have a clearly cut out study plan that allows for all forms of learning. You should make time for discovering new words and personalizing Try also to listen to an English related podcast, read English novels or be in the presence of people who speak better English than you.

To summarize the above, memorization of synonyms and antonyms is quite easy when you discover a memorization and study method that suits you and your learning ability. While it may be difficult to memorize all the words in just a day or week, gradually studying and applying these words during communication and real-life situations is one of the ways to perfectly memorize them effectively. You can also get a study or memorization partner which can actually make memorization practice fun and faster.

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Jan 18th 2018

7 False Facts about Learning a New Language

Learning a New Language

Guest post written by Gloria Kopp on January 18, 2018 

One of the most common questions that come up regarding a new language is; ‘is it worth it?’

This comes up time and time again, typically followed by one of the most common arguments which basically reads that lots of people all over the world speak English, even when you visit another country, so is there any real need to learn another language and could we be doing something more productive with our time?

However, this isn’t the only language-learning myth out there, and the more people believe myths like this, the more cultures will become divided and the less universal we become as individuals. To help free your mind, here are seven of the most common myths that come with learning a language.

Everybody Speaks English
Of course, we’ll start with the most common language myth around. According to a quick Google search, around 20% of the world’s population speaks English; that’s about 360 million people, although it’s worth noting that not all of them have English as their first language.

However, this is only 20% of the world’s population. What about the other 80% of people? How are you going to communicate without trying to learn how?

European Languages are Enough
Another common myth that many bring up, especially if they’re on the fence about learning new languages is ‘okay, how about if we learn French, Germany and Spanish?’ In UK schools, these three languages are typically taught to higher-end English students. In the US, Spanish is one of the most commonly spoke languages, and these three languages are taught in around 77% of all schools, so this makes sense.

However, these three languages only make up around 13% of the entire global community. In comparison, Bengali and Javanese languages have more native speakers than French and German combined.

I’ll Just Use Translation Software
While this is true, there are dozens of apps and streams of technology out there that can help us to translate a language, most notably Google Translate which can use the live feed on your smartphone to directly translate text, but there are problems that come with this.

“Imagine you lived in a very sarcastic culture. This isn’t something that a translation app can currently pick up, and not learning the language yourself have deprived you of many cultural contexts such as this” – explains Kathryn Turner, a Language Educator and columnist at Paper Fellows and Huffington post.

I’m Too Old to Start Learning a New Language
A popular excuse when it comes to trying something new. Of course, science has already proven time and time again that the older we get, the more difficult it is for our brains to absorb and hold information. Children’s brains are often referred to as sponges, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

To counter this, it’s worth remembering that most retail and online language learning packages are designed for teenagers and adults in mind.

It’s Too Difficult Trying to Live with Two or More Languages
One of the most common misapprehensions is that learning multiple languages can mess with your brain and cause ‘thinking delays’. This is where an individual has to stop and think about what they are going to say and in what language, especially in children growing up.

Bryce Stiller, a Linguistics Writer at Ukwritings says: “This has been proven time and time again to be false. Researchers have studied children who are bilingual and found that any delays caused were more likely to be due to speech problems, rather than knowing two or more languages”.

You Either Speak Multiple Languages, or You Don’t
A common myth is that if you say you learn two languages, you can do everything in both languages, such as read, write and speak, without any problems and there are no exceptions, but this is simply not true.

For some people, they can speak a language fluently, whereas they may not be able to read and write in. Others may be able to read exclusively, without being able to write or speak with ease.

I Can’t Afford Language Classes
If you’re still in education, such as high school or university, you might have the opportunity to join language classes as part of an extra-curriculum activity or club. You may even study the language has part of your main degree.

However, a common misconception when you leave education is that language classes are too expensive, but this simply isn’t true. In addition to the dozens of free learning platforms and apps that are available online, a quick Google search can reward with even more affordable options, depending on what courses you’re interested in.

“Many people are even using social media groups to meet people from a country, for example, someone who speaks Spanish and wants to learn English, and then talking to them through Skype” – comments Dorian Putnam, a Language Tutor at Assignment Help.

Conclusion
These common myths are everywhere in society, and as the world we live in becomes ever more connected and global, the worldly conversation needs to open up for us to succeed as a race. If we’re restricting ourselves to a predetermined language, we’re consciously allowing ourselves to miss out on a plethora of opportunity.

“Gloria Kopp is an elearning consultant and an educator at Paper Fellows. She is a writer and an editor at Studydemic blog for writers and students. Gloria is a contributor at Semrush, Collective Evolution and Ukwritings.”

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