So, I’m grading papers now, which is not my favorite part of adjunct teaching but is a hazard of the job. Along the way, there are, of course, grammatical and stylistic mistakes that drive me a little mad. Here are some:
Too Many Commas: some writers seem to think that an overabundance of commas is a good thing. While I tend to be a fan of the comma, and use it a lot in my own writing, it’s important to place them in the right spot.
Too Few Commas: complex sentences demand commas. If you’re writing one, you must set off the introductory dependent clause with a comma in order to cue your reader that the clause is over and the sentence proper is beginning.
Rhetorical Questions: it is, in my humble opinion, lazy writing to begin or end an essay with a list of rhetorical questions. I’m reading your essay for answers, not questions.
Rhetorical Quote Marks (a.k.a., “scare quotes”): while appropriate for Bennett Brauer, rhetorical quote marks are rarely appropriate in an academic essay.
The Academic “We”: sorry, Scot, I’m not a fan. We’re not going to explore something in this essay. You are, and I’m going to read about it.