Writing error checklist
- Using a checklist for writing errors will improve grammar
skills and ensure clear communication.
- A humorous list of two dozen tongue-in-cheek writing rules
highlights common mistakes and encourages careful writing.
- Use this rubric for improving papers before submitting them in either college or high school
Communicating your ideas clearly
Two dozen ways to improve your writing (said a bit facetiously)
Southern Nazarene University emphasizes good writing skills. We've sometimes used the
phrase "writing across the curriculum" to describe the commitment of the entire faculty to
helping students become articulate writers. Following good grammar rules is important in that
Student papers in my classes will be graded on writing technique, grammar, and content.
Before you submit an assignment, go over it carefully. View each writing assignment as
a chance to improve your ability to express yourself clearly and effectively.
Do you like irony? If so, here are two dozen tongue-in-cheek writing rules. Use this
humorous checklist to eliminate writing problems.
- Don't use no double negatives.
- About them sentence fragments.
- Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
- Between you and I, case is important.
- Do not submit writing assignments in email or phone text format -
- Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
- Use your apostrophe's correctly. Omit the apostrophe when its not needed.
- Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
- Of course, if any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb
- Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences of 10 or more words,
to their antecedents.
- A writer must not shift your point of view.
- Avoid clichés like the plague. They're old hat. So, go around the barn at high
noon to avoid clichés and colloquialisms.
- Do not be redundant and keep repeating yourself; do not use more words than
necessary; eliminate the superfluous in your writing.
- One should NEVER generalize.
- Be more or less specific.
- And avoid starting sentences with a conjunction.
- Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
- Don't use commas, that are not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be
enclosed in commas.
- Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed. So, take the bull by the hand
and avoid mixing metaphors.
- Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
- Be careful to use the write homonym.
- DO NOT use multiple exclamation points and all caps to EMPHASIZE a
- Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement. Understatement is always
the absolute best way to put forth earth-shaking ideas.
- Proofread your writing to see if
you any words
In a more serious tone . . .
Essay evaluation checklist: Does your written assignment measure up?
A rubric for grading papers . . . and for improving them before handing them in
While this list was developed for use at the college level, it can also be useful for high
What are teachers looking for? Use this checklist to evaluate your writing before submitting
- If the instructions call for a title page, do you have one?
- Is your name on the paper?
Organization and development
- Did you follow all assignment directions?
- Would your introduction entice a reader to start reading and to continue?
- Does your thesis or main point shine through?
- Is the essay appropriately written for the audience you have in mind (even if that audience is
just the course instructor)?
- Do thoughts and ideas unfold in an orderly and logical fashion?
- Do any sentences seem out of order or unrelated to the ones immediately before
them? If so, re-write them to give your train of thought a natural flow.
- Are paragraphs well developed without being too long?
- Are important points illustrated by examples?
- Does the content indicate original thinking and reasoning?
- Is there a satisfactory concluding paragraph?
Grammar and technique
- Are sentences clear, mature, and smooth?
- Are there any confusing or unclear words?
- Have you correctly used homonyms such as its/it's, their/there, here/hear?
- Has punctuation been checked for errors such as unneeded commas, comma splices,
and run-on sentences?
- Have you checked your diction or manner of expression to ensure that it is appropriate and
not too colloquial?
- Have you checked for agreement between pronoun antecedents or references and the
pronouns being used?
- Have you checked for misspelled words? Don't forget that spell-checkers
sometimes suggest the wrong word. So, make sure when you click "replace" that you are
inserting the correct word.
- Are all resources properly cited?
Here is a "money-back guarantee" for you: The conscientious use of this rubric as a
checklist prior to submitting a written assignment will improve your grade.
-- Howard Culbertson,
Additional writing help for you
"The right word at the right time is like precious gold set in silver." -- Probers 25:11
(Common English Version)
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