5 Things to Check for Grammatical Perfection - dummies

By Geraldine Woods

Part of 1,001 Grammar Practice Questions For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Looking over a piece of writing before you sign off on it is a good habit to form. Remember to check these common spots that attract trouble:

  • Verbs: Are they in the correct tense, shifting only if the meaning requires a change? Do they agree with the subject (singular with singular, plural with plural)?

  • Pronouns: Do they agree with the word they represent (a singular pronoun replacing a singular noun or another singular pronoun, a plural pronoun standing in for a plural noun or pronoun)? If a pronoun is a subject, does it agree with the verb? Is the pronoun in the proper case (subject, object, possessive)?

  • Descriptions: Are they located near the word they describe? Have you attached adjectives to nouns and pronouns and adverbs to verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs?

  • Comparisons: Have you checked irregular forms? Are all your comparisons complete and clear?

  • Mechanics: Are capital letters in the right place? Does every sentence include an endmark? Have you placed quotation marks and commas where they’re needed? Have you removed apostrophes from plurals and possessive pronouns (where they don’t belong) and inserted them in contractions and possessive nouns (where they do)?