Main page content
revision: grammar and mechanics
Because of deletions and recasting of phrases and sentences, pay particular attention to punctuation, capitalization and grammar. For instance, sentences may lack a verb, an initial capital letter, a co-ordinating conjunction, or an essential punctuation mark. Redundancy may also have been introduced.
The following types of error are commonplace.
- Punctuation errors, including the overuse of quotation marks
- Incorrect capitalization
- Erroneous compounding or word division
- Failure to ensure that, when first used, an abbreviation follows the full name of the entity it represents, unless the abbreviation is well known
- Incorrect form of an abbreviation
- Inconsistency in presenting numbers (as numerals or words)
- Erroneous or inconsistent use of decimal point
- Inconsistency in presenting SI/metric symbols, including spacing between symbols and figures
- Inaccurate transcription of numbers from one draft to the next
- Arabic in place of Roman numerals, and vice versa
- Non-agreement of subject and verb and use of singular noun where plural is required:
The customer service thrust of this and other departments have been poorly communicated to the general public.
The Tab and Caps Lock key is found on the left-hand side of the keyboard.
- No finite verb:
What to do about it?
What should we do about it?
- Comma splice:
Cod stocks were dropping at an alarming rate, swift action had to be taken.
(co-ordinating conjunction and required after rate)
- Dangling participle:
Omitting the overture, the music began.
Arising out of a conflict of personalities, the Director General, Finance and Administration, felt compelled to resign and move on.
- Faulty or imprecise antecedents for pronouns:
Ross Rebagliati snowboarded down the ski slope, which is now a recognized event in winter olympics competition.
Sam visited his brother every day while he was unemployed.
- Faulty parallelism:
The new sales program was stimulating and a challenge.
( … challenging.)
The solution lies not in prohibition or censorship but in developing self-control.
( … the development of …)
This type of product has three advantages:
- It is strong.
- It is inexpensive.
- Long life. (It has a long life. or It is durable.)
- Misuse of restrictive and non-restrictive constructions (see commas with non-restrictive elements)
- Incomplete constructions (faulty ellipsis):
Aircraft land and take off from Winnipeg airport at very short intervals.
( … land at …)
The building is as old, if not older than, the Library of Parliament.
( … as old as …)
Copyright notice for Writing Tips Plus
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Public Services and Procurement
A tool created and made available online by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada
Search by related themes
Want to learn more about a theme discussed on this page? Click on a link below to see all the pages on the Language Portal of Canada that relate to the theme you selected. The search results will be displayed in Language Navigator.