Every teacher knows the mistakes students make in writing and reading repeatedly occur with each academic year.
These mistakes aren’t intentionally made and students are certainly smart enough to recognize these errors with thorough proof reading. However, there are some literary misunderstandings and habits that can stand in the way when you want to improve your writing and reading skills.
Here are common mistakes students make in writing and reading that can easily be avoided.
1. Misspelling words that sound alike
Even an experienced writer may write “illusion” instead of “allusion” when pressed for time. An easy way to avoid this kind of mistake is to ask someone else to read your piece of writing.
Observing it with fresh eyes, that person will immediately notice any abnormalities in your otherwise coherent text.
2. Missing commas
In short, don’t forget to put a comma after an introductory word or phrase, before and after any interrupters, and between two parts of a compound sentence joined with a coordinating conjunction (and, or, but, etc.).
3. Wordy sentences
Writing overly-long phrases doesn’t make you look smart. Always break your text into smaller paragraphs and try to avoid empty words and phrases that don’t add any valuable information to your writing.
4. Subject-verb disagreement
It most often happens when you change your mind in the middle of writing down a thought. Have you reconsidered this sentence several times? Review every piece of it to check whether the subjects and verbs agree in tense and number.
5. Unclear pronoun
Is it obvious which subject “it” refers to? If you need a second glance to make sure, the answer is “no.” Try to avoid run-on sentences with too many subjects. Or simply replace “it” with a different word.
6. Formatting errors
7. Missing apostrophes
Don’t forget to put an apostrophe in possessive nouns, especially at the end of plural nouns (e.g. the two lawyers’ plan). Also, mind the difference between the possessive “its” and the contracted form “it’s” (it is).
8. Overcomplicated words
Flamboyant and heroic language won’t make your chemistry lab report any fancier. Try to avoid excessively long and overly specific words, especially when they don’t fit the context.
9. Incorrect capitalization
Proper nouns must always be capitalized. If you aren’t sure about whether some words are proper nouns, you had better double-check them using a dictionary.
10. Poor text structure
Just like overlong sentences, enormous paragraphs will do your writing no good. Always break your text into small pieces and with a logical flow.
Similarly, there are some bad habits that make reading more difficult. Check if you make any of these:
11. Poor timing
Plenty of people read their books in bed. It may be useful to try eliminating your screen time at night, but remember that a good book may disturb your sleep cycle as well. Develop a habit of reading when there are no other important things waiting to be done.
12. Slow reading
Do you need to cover a 100-page article for tomorrow, but even a 5-year old child reads faster than you? You have some fantastic tools to use: speed reading! It will make your academic life much easier if you just take the time to try it out.
13. Lost focus
If you are constantly daydreaming while reading a book, it can be a gross waste of time. Try to put your worries aside when you take on another piece of writing. Remind yourself why reading this document or novel is important to you.
14. Fast reading
Scanning the text for key facts is useful in some cases. When it comes to a fiction piece though, the skimming method might deprive you of the pleasure a good novel bring through the inclusion of multiple details.
15. A vague purpose of reading
Sometimes, you need to understand why you are reading a piece. Do you have to complete a proper review of the book? Do you want to keep up with your mates’ discussion of “Twilight”? Try to determine if this reason is worth sleepless nights, burning eyes, and other related torments.
16. Multitasking while reading
People who listen to audiobooks in cars usually make this mistake. Remember that multitasking while driving is a dangerous thing. Do not violate traffic safety laws and keep your focus by listening to audiobooks in your free time.
Perhaps you do not like reading that much. Even if you never manage to start all the books you are supposed to be studying, find a summary and look through it. It will be better than not reading an important book at all.
18. The “I-will-remember-it” approach
Don’t be lazy, take notes whenever you need to. No one is capable of holding everything they come across for the first time in their memory.
19. Reading scam sources
Do you believe you’ve found some amazing references for your academic paper? Before you invest time in studying them, make sure that these books contain facts and not conjectures. Protect your academic reputation from false information and manipulative attitudes.
20. Binge reading
If you can’t stop reading in every spare minute you have, this might be a psychological problem. Make sure that this is not your method of escaping real life. You may need to pay just a bit more attention to your work, loved ones or other hobbies.
There are plenty of mistakes students make in writing even a short piece of text. The key thing is you can solve most of these problems if you pay attention to them.
Find meaning in what you read or write to boost your productivity and avoid typical mistakes.