What errors do you make in your writing?
Here are lists of 20 top, common errors from studies of undergraduate writing.
Do you see an error you make?
Click on the error for the essentials or need to know rule for correcting that error.
If you want to know more, go to the nice to know section under the rules.

Studies of Common Errors (Undergraduates)

Top Twenty – Lunsford & Lunsford (2008)20 Most Common Errors – Lunsford & Connors (1986)
1. Wrong WordWrong word (#4)
2. Missing comma after an introductory elementNo comma after introductory element (#1)
3. Incomplete or missing documentation
4. Vague pronoun referenceVague pronoun reference (#2)
5. Spelling (including homonyms)
6. Mechanical error with a quotation
7. Unnecessary commaUnnecessary comma with a restrictive element (#17)
8. Unnecessary and missing capitalization
9. Missing wordWrong or missing preposition (#7)
10. Faulty sentence structure – parallelism
11. Missing comma with a nonrestrictive elementNo comma with a non-restrictive element (#5)
12. Unnecessary shift in verb tenseUnnecessary shift in verb tense (#10)
13. Missing comma in a compound sentence No comma in a compound sentence (#3)
14. Unnecessary or missing apostrophe (including its/it’s)Missing or misplaced possessive apostrophe (#9); Its/it’s confusion (#20)
15. Fused (run-on) sentenceRun-on or fused sentence (#18)
16. Comma splice Comma splice (#8)
17. Lack of pronoun-antecedent agreement
18. Poorly integrated quotation
19. Unnecessary or missing hyphen
20. Sentence fragmentSentence fragment (#12)
Missing comma in a series – Oxford comma (#15)
Wrong or missing verb endings (#6)
Unnecessary shift in pronouns (#11)
Wrong tense of verb form (#13)
Subject-verb agreement (#14)
Dangling or misplaced modifier (#19)

We all make mistakes – beginning and student writers, as well as experienced and professional writers—though the types of error can differ significantly. Moreover, there has been no systematic study, although there have been attempts, such as those by Lunsford & Connors (1986) and Lunsford & Lunsford (2008). “Error” depends on context and intent,
and informal or creative writing allow more flexibility, but for most writers, it’s important to understand the standard usage conventions expected in most professional settings, including academia and publishing. Once you know the rules, “you can smash them apart and put them back together however you like, that’s the fun of writing, as Beth Lewis writes. For a start, see my guides 3 Fundamental Comma Rules and More Fundamental Comma Rules.