Editing Errors

Some particularly common errors to watch out for include:

  • Verb tense: Jump, jumped, jumping, or will jump? Several verb tenses are acceptable depending on what kind of book is being written, but it is essential to keep your verb tense accurate and consistent.
  • Apostrophes: Be sure to use apostrophes for contractions and possessives, and use no apostrophe for plurals (e.g. “Don’t eat Mary’s cookies.”)  Also, remember that “its” is possessive, while “it’s” is a contraction for it is (e.g. “It’s great when a business honors its values”).
  • Misspellings: Keep a dictionary handy. Most publishers use Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed. Or use the Internet, if you prefer.
  • Sentence fragment: Any sentence that lacks both a subject and a predicate (i.e. an action). For example, “The marathon runner tied his shoes,” is a complete sentence, whereas “The marathon runner,” and “Tied his shoes,” are both sentence fragments.
  • Comma splice: When two independent clauses are separated by a comma rather than a semicolon or a period.
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