Whether you’re writing a short response paper or a PhD dissertation, a journal article or a cover letter, using correct grammar is of utmost importance. Sibia Proofreading provides top quality professional editing and proofreading services to ensure that your documents conform to all grammar rules. To help you as you write your document, we offer the following useful tips to weed out common errors.
We also encourage you to submit your document to Sibia Proofreading so that our editors can proofread your work, and we guarantee that it will be grammatically perfect when returned to you!
Always make sure that each sentence you write features correct verb-subject agreement. For example, writing “Smith et al. argue that…” is appropriate because the subjects of the sentence are multiple. However, be careful with certain plural nouns, such as data; “the data indicate…” is correct, not “indicates”.
In addition, American English and British English have different rules regarding collective nouns. American English ordinarily treats collective entities (“team” or “management”) as singular entities, so you would write “…the company’s management has determined that….” In British English, you would write “management intend to….”
Do not use contractions when you write academic papers and most business documents. This type of language is much too informal in most cases, unless your document warrants casual language.
Naturally, more than one tense—past, present, future, and so on—will be featured throughout a document, but make sure you remain consistent! The following example is incorrect: “The man runs to catch the train and suddenly tripped.”
Use the different tenses appropriately, keeping in mind that events in novels and movies are described in the present tense. Studies are also described in the present tense, though your own study methods and results should be described in the past tense.
Your pronouns must always match the subjects to which they refer. For example, “he” is accompanied by “his,” but when referring to “writers,” for example, you would use “their.” However, this parallelism should carry on throughout the entire sentence. You cannot write that “the fathers drive their daughter to school,” as these are the fathers of multiple daughters. This sentence would be correctly written as “the fathers drive their daughters to school.”
Do not end sentences with prepositions. Restructure your sentence so that the preposition falls within it, not at the end of it. For example, this is incorrect: “The boy picked a toy to play with.” Instead, you should write: “The boy picked a toy with which to play.”
Never split an infinitive, which is “to [verb],” like “to run” or “to read” or “to write.” For example, instead of writing “she hoped to quickly learn French,” you should write, “she hoped to learn French quickly.”
Subjunctive Use of “to Be”
A clause starting with “if” must be written in the subjunctive, and when this clause involves the verb “to be,” you must use the past subjunctive. “If I was a teacher” is incorrect; this should be written as “if I were a teacher.”
The rules briefly outlined above are just a few of the issues every writer must consider. However, we at Sibia Proofreading recognize that detailed grammar rules are sometimes secondary to your document content, perhaps if you are pressed for time or if English is not your native language. This should not stop you from submitting a perfect and error-free paper, article, cover letter, or any other document—at least, not when you have Sibia Proofreading at your disposal!
To receive the highest quality document review, submit your work to Sibia Proofreading today. Our prompt and professional editing services guarantee that your work will be returned to you, thoroughly proofread and edited to be written in sophisticated but clear English!