Common 2 and 3-Star Errors That Should Be Avoided
Learn how to avoid common 2 and 3-star mistakes at Textbroker. It can be difficult to catch every mistake, but following these tips should help.
Meagan RiggsQ&A Editor
Here’s your dilemma: You want to improve your rating but don’t know where to begin. When you’re at the 2- or 3-star level, your best option is to look at your common grammar mistakes and at your writing process.
Common Errors at the 2-star Level
What separates 2-star writing from that of a 3-star author? Clarity is the top factor. Across the board, 2-star writing tends to contain awkwardly phrased sentences, missing words, misspellings, odd punctuation and illogical arguments that detract from the reader’s understanding.
Spelling, Spacing and Punctuation
Example: To indulge his love of sience,he went to the libary to gind books about biology,geology and psychics.
Correction: To indulge his love of science, he went to the library to find books about biology, geology and physics.
The way your order looks is apparent before the first word is read. Typos are expected in 2-star orders, but they shouldn’t take away from the meaning of a sentence, as in the example above where reading about psychics would not fit in with a love of science, or the overall theme of the order. Running your article through the spelling and grammar checker in Microsoft Word or a similar program will pick up many errors while any words you are unsure of deserve a quick check in the dictionary or at Merriam-Webster. Also, watch out for colloquialisms and slang terms in formal writing as using them can add confusion to a broad audience of readers.
As for punctuation and spacing, always place a period at the end of a complete sentence, and add a space after commas, semicolons, periods and other punctuation marks. Most Textbroker orders call for multiple paragraphs or sections. A paragraph is generally about three to five sentences, and leaving a blank space between paragraphs helps the overall presentation to the reader.
Fused Sentences, Sentence Fragments and Comma Splices
Example: I walked my dog yesterday the dog park is really fun, we go there all the time. Especially when it’s sunny.
Correction: I walked my dog yesterday. The dog park is really fun, and we go there all the time, especially when it’s sunny.
When a sentence is a fragment, an incomplete sentence, or combines multiple complete sentences without punctuation as in a fused or run-on sentence, it creates confusion for the reader and diminishes the point you are making within the article. Comma splices, which are similar to fused sentences but with commas, are also common among 2-star writing.
Awkward Sentence Structure
Example: Wanting to play outside, the broccoli on her plate needed to be finished first.
Correction: She wanted to play outside but needed to finish the broccoli on her plate first.
Sometimes, awkward sentences come from misplaced phrases. It makes sense. You’re trying to get the information on the page, and not every sentence will come out right the first time as in the above example. This is where proofreading, going back over your work to check for errors, helps you make corrections and create logical thoughts. If you find yourself having trouble with clear sentences, this site offers tips on sentence structure and mechanics.
Errors at the 3-star Level
When you’re at the 3-star level, your argument might be clear, but it’s still hindered from rising to the level of 4-star writing by grammar obstacles like homonym errors, comma mistakes and filler—a writing style that presents its own set of issues with passive voice, redundancy and leading the article off-topic.
Homonyms and Common Misspellings
Example: You’re decision to drop out of school defiantly doesn’t effect me.
Correction: Your decision to drop out of school definitely doesn’t affect me.
In addition to missing typos that actually spell other words correctly, like “defiantly” and “definitely,” 3-star level misspellings often come in the form of homonym errors. These words sound alike but have different meanings and are not spelled the same. Two of the most common might be “your,” as in something that belongs to you, and “you’re,” which is a contraction of “you are.” Here’s a list of other easily confused words like “their,” “there,” and “they’re.”
Comma Use and Parts of Speech—Sometimes
Example: If she had listened to the traffic report, she would have taken side streets, and arrived on time to work.
Correction: If she had listened to the traffic report, she wouldn’t have taken the freeway and arrived on time to work.
Typically, 3-star writing shows understanding of comma usage about half the time. In the above sentence, the introductory comma is correct, but a comma that appears before a coordinating conjunction is only used when both clauses are independent. A basic grasp of grammar, such as proper article use (a/an/the) and consistent subject/verb agreement, help make the writing clear at this level, although more complex punctuation like semicolons, colons and hyphens are more of a challenge.
Example: This incredible product makes a variety of foods that suit your needs.
Correction: This toaster oven not only perfectly heats your toast in the morning but warms up last night’s pizza for lunch, making it practical for any meal.
Filler is anything that does not add value to your article. This can be in the form of repetitive phrasing or ideas, being vague as in the example above or making obvious or irrelevant statements. The last of these often takes the article off-topic. Another characteristic of filler is the use of passive voice, which takes the action out of a sentence and often distances the reader from your argument or topic.
Examine Your Writing Process
How you approach your article will make a difference in the quality of your content. Since making a clear statement to your audience is at the heart of all writing, try making these three things part of your process on the path to improvement.
1. Comprehension: When you start writing, check that you understand your topic. Read and research thoroughly, and then, summarize what you’ve learned. This will help not only prevent plagiarism but clarify that you know your subject. If you have time, don’t be afraid to walk away from your summary or a first draft, even if only for five minutes, so that you return to your writing with fresh eyes.
2. Reading out loud: If you’re working somewhere that it’s permitted, read your article out loud to catch awkward sentence construction and ensure logical flow. You’re more likely to gloss over something if you’re reading it silently.
3. Spell check: Before you hit submit, give your text one last run through a spelling and grammar checker. It’s worth it.
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