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When you revise your writing, you can :
- add new ideas or more specific support.
- eliminate irrelevant sentences.
- rearrange ideas to improve the organization.
- edit to correct the grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
There are some common mistakes that the students make.
1. Agreement of Subjects and Verbs
You already know that every English sentence must have a subject and a verb. In
order for a sentence to be grammatically correct, the subject and verb must agree
with each other. This means that if the subject is singular, the verb must be singular.
If the subject is plural, the verb must be plural.
My friend was late for class.
My friends were late for class.
For subject/verb agreement:
1. Find the main verb in each sentence.
2. Match the verb to its subject.
3. Make sure that the subject and verb agree in number.
Keep the following rules in mind:
• If subjects are joined by and, they are considered plural. Use a plural verb.
My friend and I were late for class.
• If subjects are joined by ‘or’ or ‘nor’, the verb should agree with the closer
Use a singular verb if the subject closer to the verb is singular:
Either Jason or Pat drives me to school.
Neither Emily nor Ann plans to join the tennis club.
Use a plural verb if the subject closer to the verb is plural:
Neither Ann nor her sisters plan to join the tennis club.
In the first sentence, Ann is closer to the verb. Because Ann is singular, the
verb must be singular. In the second sentence, her sisters is closer to the
verb, so the verb must he plural.
• Make the verb agree with its subject, not with the words that come between
the subject and verb:
This new book of poems is by Pablo Neruda.
The poems in this book are by Pablo Neruda.
The subject of the first sentence is book, which is singular. The subject of
the second sentence is poems, which is plural.
• Use a singular verb with these pronouns:
no one
Each of the students is required to write a five-paragraph essay. (Each is
the subject.)
One of the kids wants to take a nap. (One is the subject.)
Everybody wants to start the movie now.
• Use a plural verb with these pronouns:
Several of the students are required to write a five-paragraph essay.
(Several is the subject.)
Others want to start the movie later.
• Use a singular verb with expressions of time, money, measurement, weight,
and fractions:
Twenty-five dollars seems like a reasonable price for this sweater.
Twelve inches equals one foot.
Three-fourths is more than one-half.
Underline the correct verb for each of the following sentences!
a. One of my friends (has/have) a new car.
b. Everyone who works hard in this class (do/does) well.
c. Many of my friends (like/likes) the professor.
d. The instructor (don’t/doesn’t) give a lot of homework.
e. One of the reasons that I chose to go into medicine (is/are) that I like to work with
f. Fifty dollars (is/are) too much to spend on dinner in the restaurant.
g. Both Jane and her cousin (go/goes) to the University of Michigan.
h. The book and the movie (has/have) the same ending.
2. Agreement of Pronouns and Nouns
Remember that a pronoun must refer back to a specific noun. You must use the correct
pronoun so your reader knows which noun your pronoun referring to. A pronoun should
agree in number with the noun it refers to. If a pronoun refers to singular noun, you must
use a singular pronoun. If a pronoun refers to a plural noun, you must use a plural
Use a singular pronoun when you refer to them.
no one
When a student eats in cafeteria, he/she must show a student ID.
When students eat in cafeteria, they must show a student ID
Underline the correct verb for each of the following sentences!
a. Everyone on the team (comes/come) to practice everyday.
b. All the team members (has/have) to work hard.
c. Each of students (is/are) improving.
d. He said, “Nobody (cares/care) about this game.”
e. Someone (is/are) going to pay this mistake.
3. Agreement of Possessive of Nouns or Pronouns.
If the word referred to is singular, the possessive adjective or pronoun must be singular.
If the word is plural, the possessive adjective or pronoun must be plural.
The little boy is holding his mother’s hand.
The children are holding their mother’s hands.
Each of the girls had her own bedroom in the apartment.
Both of our daughters have their own cars.
Underline the correct possessive for each of the following sentences!
a. Both of the students forgot (his/their) notebooks.
b. Neither of my sisters owns (her/their) own books.
c. Mathew likes (his/their) meat cooked well done.
d. The Wexlers send (his/their) children to private school.
e. One of the women has retired from (their/her) job.
f. This isn’t Connie’s jacket. It’s (my/mine).
4. Punctuation
• Use a period at the end of a statement:
o Argentina’s economy is a mix of agriculture and industry.
• Use a period with most abbreviations:
o Mr.
o Mrs.
o apt.
o Inc.
o A.M.
o P.M.
o assoc.
Question Mark.
• Use a question mark at the end of a question:
o Who is going to drive me to the airport?
• Use a comma to separate words of phrases in a series:
o The sea around Antartica is home to dolphins, porpoises, whales,
seals, and other sea creatures.
• Use a comma to separate independent clauses joined by a coordinating
o We left in plenty of time, but we still missed the bus.
o I worked hard all day, so I went to bed early.
• Use a comma after many introductory phrase or clauses:
o Working late into the night, I drank several cups of string coffee.
o Because I was tired, I went to sleep early last night.
• Use a comma before a direct quote:
o Christina said, “The train leaves in half an hour.”
• Use a comma between the day of the month and the year:
o August 15, 1983
• Use a comma to separate cities from states:
o Billings, Montana
o Tallahassee, Florida
• Use a colon to introduce a series:
o The museum offers daily tours of the following collections: American,
Asian, Classical, and European.
• Use a colon to introduce a long or formal quotation:
o Writing about his life, British philosopher Bertrand Rusell said: “Three
passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the
longing for love, the search of knowledge, and the unbearable pity for the
suffering of mankind.
Note: the first colon is used to introduce the quotation; the second one
introduces a series.
• Use a colon to separate hours from minutes:
o 3:15
o 6:45
• Use a colon after the salutation in a formal letter:
o Dear Mr. Brody:
o Dear Ms. Rosnen:
Quotation Marks
• Use quotation marks to enclose a direct quote:
o Jorge said, “I have already finished my homework.”
• Use quotation marks to identify titles of songs, short stories, poems, articles,
essays, and chapters from a book. Underline the titles of longer works such as
books and newspapers. Underline the titles of paintings and other works of art (If
you are using a computer, the titles of longer works and art should be in italic
o My favorite song is “Imagine” by John Lennon.
o One of Andrew Wyeth’s best-known paintings is called Christina’s World.
Punctuate the following sentences!
a. Dr Anderson was born in Portland on April 22 1981
b. I just finished reading Hemingway’s novel The Old Man and The Sea.
c. The restaurant has three specialties grilled steak marinated chicken and fried
d. In conclusion Mario Vagas Llosa is one of the greatest writers of the twentieth
e. Marion said I can’t go with you because I have too much homework.
5. Capitalization
• Capitalize the first word of a sentence:
o Fishing is an important industry in Peru.
• Capitalize names. Capitalize a title that precedes a name:
o Dr. Lourie
o Professor Cantor
• Capitalize the names of racial and ethnic groups:
o African American
o Asian
o Caucassian
Exception: do not capitalize the words black or white when referring to racial
• Capitalize the names of specific geographical locations including countries,
states, cities, towns, rivers, streets, and mountains:
o Paris
o Juniper Avenue
o Mount Rushmore
• Capitalize the days of the week, months, and holidays:
o Tuesday
o September
o Christmas
• Capitalize the names of religions:
o Buddhism
o Islam
• Capitalize nationalities and languages:
o Japanese
o Arabic
• Capitalize all words in a title except articles, prepositions, and conjunctions,
unless they are the first or the last word in the title:
o “Give Peace a Chance”
o Men in Black
Capitalize each of the following sentences correctly!
a. my Russian history teacher is very handsome.
b. have you read romeo and juliet in your english literature yet?
c. I meet my advisor every tuesday and thursday morning.
d. my sister, truth, has just returned from a trip to istanbul and athens.
e. shopping is one of most popular activities of visitors to new york city.
Add the correct capitalization and punctuation to the sentences below!
a. traffic is causing serious pollution in some cities such as athens mexico city and los
b. my favorite poem is fire and ice by Robert frost
c. i’ll meet you on tuesday afternoon at430 in front of library on liberty street
d. the himalayas are the world’s highest mountains
e. professor dickens is sick so his tuesday night class will be canceled
f. mrs baker is one of the most inspiring speakers i’ve ever heard
Conquer Confusing Words
Work in pair
Look for the differences among the following words!
Accept and Except Than and Then
Advice and Advise There, Their, and They’re
Affect and Effect Use, Used, Be used to, and Used to
It’s and Its Whose and Who’s
Suppose and Be Supposed to Hurt, Heart, and Heard
There are ten mistakes in the following paragraph. Find and correct them.
There are a lot of interesting things to see and do in new york city. It is home to
over 150 world-class museums. Their are art museums, science museums, photography
museums, natural history museums, and even a museum of seaport history. New York is
known for their rich variety of theater, music, and dance. From the bright lights of
Broadway and the respected stages at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall to the high
kicks of the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall and incredible jazz at intimate clubs,
there is something for everyone. Many people go to New York. For the wonderful
restaurants. There are thousands of restaurants to please every palate and wallet If you
are looking for place to shop. You will find everything you can imagine. With more than
10,000 shops filled with brand names and bargains from around the world, NYC are a
shopper’s paradise. as for me, people-watching is my favorite New York pastime.


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