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The Seven Deadly Writing Sins

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Jessica Scaggs

on 9 August 2017

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Transcript of The Seven Deadly Writing Sins

Seven Sins of
After consulting with members of the academic and business communities, the English department has identified seven specific grammatical errors (the “7 Deadly Sins”) that reflect poorly on the author and diminish credibility with the reader.

The Seven Deadly Writing Sins
Sin 2: Sentence Fragments
A phrase or dependent clause that is treated as though it were a sentence (i.e. the beginning with a capital and ending with a period). Most sentence fragments can be corrected by attaching the phrase to a logically related full sentence.

Ex: Since you asked.
Sin 3: Lack of pronoun agreement
Pronouns need to have a clear antecedent (the noun that the pronoun is standing in for). Pronouns must agree with that antecedent in person (1st, 2nd, or 3rd), number (singular or plural), and gender (masculine, feminine, or gender neutral).

Ex: When an employee does not agree with their boss's decision, they should scream and make a scene.
Sin 4: Lack of Subject-Verb Agreement
A singular subject takes a singular verb; a plural subject takes a plural verb.

Ex: The high number of crimes reveal the city's problems.
Sin 5: Unnecessary use of first ("I") or second ("you") person in an essay
Unless appropriate to the purpose of the writing, don't use first person (I, me, we, my, etc.) or second person (you, your, yourself, etc.) in formal writing.

Ex: I'm going to tell you about the leadership characteristics of Scout in
To Kill a Mockingbird.
Sin 6: Careless spelling errors (“its” vs. “it’s,” “they’re”/”there”/”their,” etc.)
Double-check your papers to make sure you use these commonly misspelled words in the right context. Do not forget to always capitalize "I."

Ex: "Don't take those boots," Sally told the burglars in her house. "You can take these instead. Their my sister's."
Sin 1: Run-on sentences/comma splices
A run-on sentence includes two or more independent clauses not properly joined. If those independent clauses are only connected by a comma, it's a comma splice.

Ex: Cecily knew she didn't have to buy her own selfie stick, her mother would do it.
Ms. Scaggs, 9th/10th Grade English
Sin 7: Incorrectly punctuation titles of
complete works or selections
Italicize titles of complete works (books, movies, TV series,
albums); use quotes for selections (chapters or essays, episodes, songs, poems).

Ex: According to Professor Sim in his essay Bears 101, bears attack humans because they perceive people as competitors for food sources.
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