Common Grammatical Mistakes That Every Student Must Avoid

For writing a good essay, a student has to ensure that it is free of grammatical errors. Yes, eliminating every grammatical mistake might be impossible for you at this level, but some common blunders could be avoided.

Understandable that you have two questions in mind right now. First, what are the common grammatical mistakes? Second, how do you avoid them while writing? Don’t worry, as you will have both the answers when you get to the end of this very interesting blog post. So, let’s get started.

7 Common Grammatical Mistakes in Academic Writing

Grammar errors can be very frustrating at times for both native and non-native English writers. Let’s understand these 7 common grammar mistakes and find out the best ways of avoiding them.

Subject and Verb Not Connecting

It’s a grammar writing rule that a verb must agree to the subject in a sentence. When a writer fails to match up the subject and verb, he’s making a subject-verb agreement mistake. A table will help you understand this well:


Incorrect Verb

Correct Verb

The Dog 

Were Barking 

Was Barking 

The Dogs

Was Barking 

Were Barking 


Have a purse 

Has a Purse 


Was Sad

Were Sad

Pronouns Not Agreeing with Antecedents

This is another common mistake in academic writing. Most of the time, students aren’t able to match the pronoun with the subject it is referring to. Take a look at this table:



Each player did their net practice. 

Each Player did his or her net practice. 

The cricket team won because the played well. 

The cricket team won because it played well. 

Harry and Brooks are brothers, he is very intelligent. 

Harry and Brooks are brothers, they are very intelligent. 

Comma Splices and Run-on Sentences

Well, if you join two independent clauses without the right punctuation, that’s a run-on sentence. And if a comma joins them, that’s known as a comma splice. Here’s a table to improve your understanding:



I went to the mart I bought some soft drinks. 

I went to the mart. I bought some soft drinks. 

He wanted to play for the national team, he couldn’t. 

He wanted to play for the national team, but he couldn’t.

Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers

A modifier must be close to the word it describes. When a writer puts them in the wrong spot, it makes sentences hard to understand. Here’s a table to improve your understanding of misplaced and dangling modifiers:



After eating the burger, the box was thrown away. 

After eating the pizza, I threw the box away. 

Running late, the interview was missed. 

Running late, I missed the bus. 

Double Negatives

In English writing, when you use two negatives in a sentence, it implies a positive. So, to avoid confusion in your writing, ensure to steer clear of double negatives.



I don’t want no holiday. 

I don’t want any holiday. 

He didn’t eat nothing. 

He didn’t eat anything. 

Agreement Between Articles and Nouns

The articles you use have to match up with gender and the number of nouns they describe. Let’s check out the correct and incorrect forms.



An dogs are cute. 

Some dogs are cute. 

The movies is thrilling. 

The movie is thrilling. 

Lack of Parallel Structure

When you are crafting comparisons and lists, all items must be in the same Grammatical Form. Here’s a table:



He loves to read, go running, and writing. 

He loves to read, run, and write. 

She is not only beautiful but she is also intelligent.

She is not only beautiful but also intelligent. 

Best Practices to Avoid Common Grammatical Mistakes

To ensure, you do well with your academic writing skills, here are some best practices with examples:

Proofread and Edit

It is always best to double-check your writing before handling an assignment.

Original Sentence

He exercise every morning.

After Proofreading

He exercises every evening.

Use Spellcheck and Grammar Tools

Stay alert to the errors the spellcheck and grammar check features catch when writing in word processors like MS Word or Google Documents.

Spellcheck can catch errors like “recieve” (receive).

Understand Homophones

Be very careful when using words that sound the same but have different meanings.


Their playing football in the park.


They’re playing football in the park.

Learn Common Verb Conjugations

Ensure you get a good grip on verb tenses and know how to conjugate them correctly.


He eated lunch.


He ate lunch.

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Pay Attention to Subject-Verb Agreement

The subject and verb must agree in terms of whether they’re singular or plural.


The cats is sleeping.


The cats are sleeping.

Be Careful with Pronoun Usage

The pronouns you use should match the gender and number of person or thing they are referring to.


Every player must check their kit. 


Every player must check his or her kit. 

Avoid Sentence Fragments

Your sentences must be complete. They can’t be just a bunch of pieces. 


Because I was tired. 

Complete Sentence

I went to bed because I was tired.

Use Commas Correctly

Try to understand where the flow in a sentence breaks. That’s where you have to use a comma. Plus, don’t forget to add commas when a sentence consists of a series of things. 


I like apples oranges and bananas.


I like apples, oranges, and bananas.

Don’t Run on Sentences

To avoid making such a mistake, use correct punctuation that will separate independent clauses.


I woke up late I missed the bus.


I woke up late, so I missed the bus.

Avoid Double Negatives

You know how confusing it could be to use a double negative in a sentence. Hence, get in the habit of using a single negative to convey a negative meaning.


I don’t want no dessert.


I don’t want any dessert.

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Placing the Modifier Correctly is Important

Make sure the modifiers you use are close to the words they explain to avoid any misunderstandings.


He almost completed all of the assignments.


He completed almost all of the assignments.

Use Parallel Structure

Things in your lists and comparisons must follow the same grammatical pattern.


She likes to read, running, and swimming.


She likes to read, run, and swim.

Be Very Careful When Using Apostrophes

The purpose of apostrophes is to indicate a possession or contradiction.


The dogs’ are playing.


The dogs are playing.

Know When to Use Articles (a, an, the)

Make sure the articles you use match the number of nouns they’re referring to.


A cats are friendly.


Cats are friendly animals.

Seek Feedback

Don’t hesitate to get your work looked at by a teacher or an expert. They will certainly pick out the mistakes and hence improve your writing.

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Take Away

Remember that while these are common grammatical errors, the context of a sentence can affect whether they are mistakes or not. It’s important to understand the rules but also know when it’s appropriate to bend them slightly for stylistic reasons.

By adhering to these best practices, you can surely avoid making grammatical mistakes and improve your academic writing.

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