Authored by Peter Chris

5 Sentence-Structure Errors in Essay Writing That Annoy Professors

Professors are annoyed quite easily. I admit this "essay writer". I have been a student and I know how a professor can pick up the smallest of mistakes and turn it into a big deal. But you gotta understand. For many professors, these little mistakes mean more than bigger mistakes. Also, they are super tired and have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. So, that really counts as well. But I get how frustrating a professor’s annoyance can be. And nothing will annoy your professor more than mistakes in sentence structuring.

But the problem is that you are bound to make these small mistakes. Unless you are a professional essay writer. But since you are not, you need to know about the most common mistakes. Here are five mistakes that you seriously need to avoid if you want to keep your professor happy.

Here they are.

Mistake #1: Fragments

You have probably heard a lot about sentence fragmentation. Probably from a disgruntled professor who was just done with his students.


Sentence fragmentation is a big deal. For real!

So? How does sentence fragmentation even happen?

You see, if a sentence is going to be considered a proper sentence then it needs to have two things: a subject and a predicate.

The subject is the thing that we are talking about while the predicate tells us what that subject is doing. These two, combined, form a proper sentence.

If a sentence does not have both of these then it’s a fragment. This means that it is incomplete and thus it cannot be included in a formal, academic essay.

Most fragmentations are written in a way that they are easy to spot.

For example, a fragment would not have a predicate or the dependent clause would be written on its own.

Mistake #2: Run-on Sentences

Note that the phrase says “sentences”, not “sentence”. This is because the problem of run-on sentences is caused by two sentences being meshed together.

What happens is this.

Two sentences, or clauses that are independent of one another, are combined in such a way that it becomes grammatically incorrect.

For example, we have two sentences or clauses “The operation was performed” and “The patient did not survive”.

These two are perfectly fine on their own. They do not need to mesh together.

If you write these two like “The operation was performed the patient did not survive” then that you can be wrong.

You need to put a word or a punctuation mark between these sentences to make it grammatically correct.

Mistake #3: Comma Splices

Comma. Splice. This means that a comma is splicing i.e. cutting a sentence. And it is doing it in a way that is making no sense or ruining the sentence itself.

The problem over here is that just like run-on sentences, we have two independent clauses here.

In run-on sentences, these causes were not joined. Here they are joined but a comma is used to join them.

That is not the right way to correct a sentence.

For example, if you write “The operation was performed, the patient did not survive” then that is incorrect.

You can write it in two separate sentences or you can just add a coordinating junction.

“The operation was performed, but the patient did not survive” is a correct sentence.

Mistake #4: Coordinate Junction and Commas

Make note of the comma that I have used in the corrected sentence “The operation was performed, but the patient did not survive”.

This comma needs to be in place whenever you use a coordinating junction.

But what is a coordinating junction?

That would be words like for, and, not, but, or, yet, so, also known as FANBOYS.

These are the words that you can use to join two complete sentences or independent clauses.

Whenever a coordinating junction is used, you need to place a comma before it. Like I have done in the example.

Remember! The comma comes before. Not after. Before.

Mistake #5: Overly Short/Long Sentences

Technically you can write a sentence as long or short as you want. As long as it's grammatically correct, you should not have a problem.

But we all know that this won’t be enough to satisfy our professors.

So, if a professor gets annoyed by short sentences or long sentences then they usually don’t care if it is grammatically correct or not.

And since you do want to keep your professor happy, it’s best that you use mid-length sentences only.

To be fair, long sentences can become overly complicated and that makes it harder to understand so use them.

As for short sentences, they make an essay seem informal so try to avoid them too.

Just stick to what you know makes your professor happy and I am sure that you will get a wonderful grade.

Are YOU Unsure?

If you think that you won’t be getting a good grade because of these grammatical or sentence structure mistakes then you should try alternative options of learning.

Really! There are other ways to learn if college isn’t helping. You must have heard of those websites that advertise things like “essay writing service”. Well, why not give them a try?

I, for one, know that you can learn a lot from professional writers that work for these companies.

Their essays can teach you all that you need to know about writing professionally.

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