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The Essentials of Writing

The Hamilton College Style Sheet

Essentials of English Usage

Following are some problems commonly found in college students' writing. Each type of problem is identified by a general abbreviation that your professor may use to indicate the presence of this error in your sentence. This list includes errors (that is, violations of rules of grammar and punctuation) as well as problems of expression.


Choose your area of inexpertise:

act active vs. passive voice poss possessives
agr agreement pr primer style
ca case p-ref pronoun reference
cite citation p punctuation
cs comma splice pq punctuation of quotations
cg congruity ps subordinate elements, punctuation of
da dangling element r run-on
d diction semi semicolon use
f fragment sxt sexist language
j jargon su subordination
mp misplaced modifier t tense
m mood u unity
pl parallelism w wordiness
pv passive voice