Misuse of the passive voice when the active voice is needed or the other way around. In example 1, the active voice is misused when the passive voice is needed. As a result, the subject (i.e. “the small city”) appears
Agreement errors include problems with subject-verb agreement, modals followed by a main verb and determiners. The subject and the verb in the same sentence should agree in person and number. Modals should be followed by a bare infinitive. In a noun
Wrong article / missing article / no article needed. The use of articles is determined by what we refer to in each context. The following table shows the possible choices of articles in different contexts: Indefinite article Definite article No article (ø)
See also Word Choice. The auxiliary form of the simple present tense is “do/does”. The auxiliary form of the passive voice (the present tense) is “is/are”. The auxiliary form of the present perfect tense is “have/has”. The auxiliary form of the past tense is
Misuse the upper-case instead of the lower-case or vice versa. Wrong capitalization WRONG RIGHT 1. “In the 1994 US Billboard Music Awards, Jacky Cheung was named the most popular singer in Asia” (GUINNESS WORLD RECORD NEWS , 2012). “In the
An uncountable noun cannot be made plural. See also Singular/ Plural Noun. In example 1, “media” is already a plural noun, representing the plural form of medium. In example 2, the uncountable noun “research” appears in plural form. WRONG RIGHT 1.
Chinese learners tend to use the pronoun “it” without clearly referring to an immediately preceding noun. In English we normally use “this” or a noun phrase instead. In example 1, “it” can only refer to an immediately preceding noun (“the
Modals should be followed by a bare infinitive. Wrong: *She can comes. Right: She can come. In example 1, the verb in the simple past form “found” cannot be used because bare infinitives (i.e. “find”) should be used after modal verbs (i.e.
When two or more phrases are put together using a conjunction (e.g., “and”, “or”), they should belong to the same category (i.e. noun phrase, verb phrase, adjectival phrase, etc.) (see also Word Class). In example 1, the verb phrase “will be distributed” is
Similar to wrong word choice, wrong phrasing refers to a mismatch of words at phrasal levels. WRONG RIGHT 1. As schools were very care about their rankings… As schools care greatly about their rankings… 2. On the one hands
Wrong preposition, missing preposition or no preposition needed. See also Word Choice. Wrong preposition In example 1, you hinder “development” “in” something, not “on” something. WRONG RIGHT 1. This hinders children’s development on creativity. This hinders children’s development
Missing a pronoun or relative pronoun; unclear pronoun reference or wrong use of pronoun. Missing relative pronoun The relative pronouns (e.g. “who”, “which”, “that”, “whom”) cannot be omitted when they are the subject of the relative clause. It is okay
Comma needed WRONG RIGHT 1. Over 2000000 people participated in Hong Kong Design Year 2012, so with the great promotion and all the hard work, creativity in Hong Kong sure did increase. Over 2,000,000 people participated in Hong
Independent sentences should be separated by a full stop and/or connected by conjunctions. Otherwise, they become run-on sentences. In examples 1-2, two independent sentences are separated by a comma instead of a full stop. This is also known as a
Sentence fragments are incomplete sentences. They may be caused by different problems. See also Punctuation. In example 1, there is a clause (i.e. a dependent sentence) starting with a relative pronoun, but there is no main clause. WRONG RIGHT 1. Which directly
Use a singular noun instead of a plural noun or vice versa. See also Article. In example 1, “citizen” refers to only one citizen as “citizen” is a countable noun. Given that Hong Kong has more than one citizen, the
If a word is underlined in red in your Word document, there is a high chance of you having made some spelling mistakes. WRONG RIGHT 1. According to pervious statics, Hong Kong citizens love to watch Hollywood or foreign films
Choosing the right verb tense depends on the perspective the writer adopts in connection with time. Usually, current events are narrated in the present tense (e.g. “I am at the office right now.”). Past events are narrated in the past tense
Chinese learners tend to overuse topic-comment sentence structures in English. These are typically introduced by “FOR”. Wrong: *For the students, they think it is better to have more internship opportunities during their study. Right: Students think it is better to
Wrong use of a verb form. Wrong: *This problem is cause by insufficient support from the government. Right: This problem is caused by insufficient support from the government. Example 1 is a sentence with “is” as its main verb.