English Usage Errors
The English usage errors relate more to individual word errors sometimes becasue of grammatical misapplication but at other times by wrong word choice. There are 10 types:
1. Incorrect use of an article ( eg. a, the, an)
2. Incorrect number of a noun (eg. many money)
3. Incorrect use of a pronoun
4. Incorrect use of a verb
5. Adverb/adjective confusion
6. Incorrect use of a preposition
7. Faulty diction (wrong word)
8. Non - standard word, expression, or idiom ( eg. could of)
9. Incorrect degree of comparison (eg. more better)
10. Confusion between words with similar sounds (Homophones or Near-homophones), eg. there books
The key thing is to combine instinct with logic
If it feels wrong when you apply it, it is probably the wrong answer. Then look carefully to see if it violates any grammatical rules.
How to write about a visual
You only have a minute to write and that means you can just write one sentence or concentrate on 2-3, Writing about the visual requires a process that considers
1. What is present
2. What is happening
Often these 3 are combined. For example, you may show the position of someone, the description of the person and what the person is doing all in the same sentence.
In the front of the picture, there is a an elderly woman with a long jacket, leaning forward to feed the dog in front of her.
I would advise you to aim for 3 sentneces
The first sentence is a general statement about what the picture is
The picture is a night scene of an owl landing on the ground.
2. The next sentence(s) just show anything in the background or in the picture that is not the main action
There are several dark trees in the background and, beyond it, a dqrk, blue sky, showing that it is probably close to morning.
3. After dealing with the background or other details, break to a new paragraphs to describe the main item and its action.
The owl in the center of the picture, is part white and part golden and, as it is landing, its wings are outstretched in a v shape, using them to create air friction.
Another option is to concentrate on a sentence that is long by using indirect clauses (ie adjunct clauses) one conjunction and ...ing adjective clauses
The picture, taken in the early morning when it is still dark, is of a beautifully illuminated white and golden owl landing on the ground and attempting to grasp its prey, while dark trees overlook it in the background.
One thing is clear. If you want to get the most out of the one minute you need to do many of these and develop a pattern.
How to Prepare the Introduction in the Writing Sample
You have read through three topics and you have decided on one. You feel you have something to say about the topic but you are not quite sure how to start.
1.Quickly think of stand/ opinion
You can have a middle position on the topic. In fact some of the best essays I have seen take a middle position. The thing is to settle in on your position fairly quickly. Do not panic that perhaps you have little knowledge. All that is required is that you have an ability to think logically about an issue.
2. Think of 2 reasons
This is a crucial step. Whatever position you take on an issue it is helpful to think about. Write down brief and reasonably enough general reasons (E.g. If you disagree with a proposal you might quickly write 1) Expensive 2) Waste of time' 3) Unfair). Each of these reasons can open a new paragraph.
The first reason this proposal would not be a good solution is because it is expensive.......
Another problem with the idea is that it would likely be a waste of time. ......
Finally ....ing...... would be unfair for many people. .........
3.Brainstorm for examples
Think of some examples in your real life that connect to this topic. The connection does not have to be so direct. For example, if you are writing about capital punishment (i.e. the death penalty) you obviously have had no experience with this but it is likely you have read cases or you may have been punished for something in your life that might give you some authority to comment on the nature of punishment. Do harsh punishments work as a deterrence? Did you really think of the punishment issue before misbehaving?
4. Think of logical development. I will comment more about this in further posts but think about what your logical steps are to your conclusion for supporting or being against an issue. You can think of various combinations such as
a. Condition/ Consequence (if A then B will occur)
b. Cause/ effect (A leads to B)
c. Equivocation (We allow A so B should be allowed)
d. Counter arguments (Some say A but I think B)
5. Think of a ‘catchy opener’
The catch opener is a hook that leads into your thesis. In other words you give a bridge statement before stating your position.
There are different ones you can use but think about a number of issues
1. What’s my experience with this topic (if you have lots you may wish to start with an anecdote)?
2. Is this topic growing in importance? (If so you may wish to use a ‘trend’ hook)
3. Do I have a background statement that most could agree about? It could be a type of general truth, axiom, quote or even facts. If so, you may wish to use it as an opener
List the Grammar Structures that You Need to Know
There is good news for those who are studying LPI sentence correction section. The list of grammar structures that are tested is finite, meaning that you can make a complete list of them and master them. Each grammar structure follows a certain principle
1. Parallel Structures
This involves and/but/ or conjunctions that link two sentences (i.e. a compound sentence ) It requires parallel grammar, which just means that it should follow the same verb/gerund arrangement. Basically you just need to make sure that what is on one side of the grammar equation is the same as the other
2. Faulty Pronoun Reference
1. Clearly refer to a noun
2. Match plural or singular
3. Faulty Verb/ Subject Agreement
These are a big source of errors. Watch in particular collective nouns (e.g. friendship) and sentences beginning ‘there’ or ‘it’
• Each speaker were allowed only 5 minutes
• All people is created equally.
• There is a lot of people
• Our supply of water were finished
Watch the Do/Does/Did distinction Often at the end
• I deserve a better mark on this course than he do.
Watch plural versus singular verbs
• Many studies shows that it is impossible.
Watch gerunds with plural nouns
• The time indicate that we are finished
• Watching movies are fun
• Drinking and driving is bad
• Showing manners and behaving well are good habits
• One of - singular
• Each of – singular
• A handful of – can be plural or singular
• All of the – can be both singular and plural
• A group of – plural
4. Incomplete Sentences
There are generally two kinds of incomplete sentences, those with:
• The next time I take my children to their skating lessons, I’m going to get involved. Perhaps even try to ski. (no subject)
• Everyone is coming. John included (no verb)
• His marks were much better this year than last year. Which is good. (no main clause)
• While it is helpful. It is very expensive. (While…has no main clause)
• Those who agree. They are mistaken (Those…..has no main clause)
• When it is done. Please speak to me (When….has no main clause)
5. Dangling Modifiers
Never trust an adjective clause with a present or past participle far from what it is modifying.
• Growing up as a hockey player, the games were very competitive (The games were growing up as a hockey player"?)
• Running across the golf course, a ball nearly hit him on the head (a ball was running?)
• Worried about my friend’s health, a get well card was sent to the hospital (a card worrying?)
• Eating as much as possible, the food was finished immediately (the food was eating?)
6. Redundant Subordination/Conjunction
• Do not use these at the beginning of sentences:
– Also, (ok for speaking)
• Do not use these as conjunctions in the middle of sentences
– I like it, however, it is too expensive
One conjunction for two clauses
One conjunction is enough to join two clauses – we do not usually use two.
7. Run-on sentences
Having two main clauses not linked
• She likes to tell you in detail about the tv programs she finds interesting, they don’t seem especially interesting the way she describes them.
• I like the smell of spring, it is so fresh.
• He offered to help, luckily we did not accept
2. Period or semicolon
3. Make one a subordinate clause