Grammar and Mechanics

Now that we know what a grammar structure is, let's consider parallel sentence structures, or parallelism, and how they influence a sentence. Parallelism refers to using the same grammar structures throughout a sentence. Look at this examples: Parallel: The math teacher needed to include subtraction, multiplication, and division in the third term. Non-parallel: The math teacher needed to include subtracting, multiplication, and dividing in the third term. Can you identify the error? To maintain parallel structure and make a sentence easy to follow, we need to keep words and phrases in the same grammar tense, time, and number. In this example, the parallel structure uses the ending -tion to do this. Read this resource for more examples and a deeper explanation of how parallel structures work.

Grammar is the structure of written or spoken language. It refers to the parts of speech and how they combine together to form sentences. Mechanics refers to the rules of the written language, such as capitalization, punctuation and spelling. An understanding of both grammar and mechanics is required to clearly communicate your ideas in a paper. Here are some strategies to help you improve your grammar and mechanics:

  • Keep a list of your most common errors. For example, if you often get feedback from your instructors that you are using commas incorrectly and writing many run-on sentences, make note of these errors.
  • When you are proofreading your work, refer to your list of frequent errors and carefully read for correctness in these areas.
  • Read your paper out loud (or listen to someone else read your writing). If you have access to reading software such as Read and Write, make use of its audio function.
  • As you listen to your paper, you will likely be able to pick out sections that "sound right" and sections that don't. Then, go back to the rules of grammar and mechanics to fix any problem areas.
  • Use the spelling and grammar checking tool in your word processor. However, be careful! These tools simply make suggestions but may not always provide the correct solution. You need to decide if these suggestions are going to make your writing better or worse.
  • Read more about your problem areas, view examples and practice your skills.

Source: Lethbridge College,
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Last modified: Sunday, January 8, 2023, 8:06 AM