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 Edit the Essay
Fortunately, in the LPI test, you are given time to do a second draft but that does not mean you should not do some 'real-time' editing, meaning that you edit while you write. As you write, look back at what you have just written before you move on with the next sentence. There are 3 possible scenarios:
1) You are uncomfortable with the sentence that you have written and you do not know how to repair it. I advise not wasting time trying to repair it. If it looks uncomfortable to you, it is probably going to be uncomfortable with the examiner as well.
The best way to deal with this is to simply cross the sentence out and rewrite. Try to phrase it more simply and clearly. You may want to use a bot of word reorder to make it a 'cleaner sentence'
2) You feel comfortable with the sentence but you feel you should add or cut out words and you realize you there are mistakes.
In this case you can cross out words and add in other phrases. you may be editing just to make the sentence clearer to the reader or perhaps you are improving the tone (eg making it more formal or less colloquial) or adding a better word.
3) You feel the sentence is perfect, and you are very comfortable with it, just check it again for the often overlooked errors, sometimes referred to as 'careless errors'.
Often overlooked are
You can expect to 'catch' one error per sentence and often it is the accumulation of small errors that can destroy a good mark.
How to Prepare the Introduction
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 3 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