As I edit and revise my writing I come across mistakes. Some are ones I know are simply typos and some are mistakes that I know are wrong but not why they’re wrong. If you missed a previous post on Grammar, simply click on the purple crossed-out title in the list below to see that post.
Within Grammar here are the most common issues I had in my story:
7. Incorrect use of progressive tense
8. Incorrect noun form
In the last post, I featured Redundant preposition. In this post, I’m going to confuse things a bit with a confused proposition.
Confused prepositions are words that are incorrect in the context and though in the writer’s mind it may read just fine, the reader might be confused by what is trying to be expressed.
Here are two generic examples before I get to the ones I made in my draft.
Incorrect The store is in the far side of the street.
Correct The store is on the far side of the street.
Incorrect Anne ran in the hall to get away from Curt.
Correct Anne ran into the hall to get away from Curt.
Here are some I found. Now when I go through my draft I often find ‘grammar’ errors that point me toward a larger problem. Sometimes the error doesn’t need to be fixed, the entire sentence does.
This sentence is out of context. She is rubbing a painful mark on her arm. However, changing it to the ‘suggested’ correction of ‘on’ completely changes the sentence and now it wouldn’t fit in. “I rubbed it through my shirt.” Now could be read as rubbing something literally through the shirt. I ended up changing this one altogether. ‘I rubbed my arm that is covered by my shirtsleeve.’
Incorrect I got up and looked out to the open office area.
Correct I got up and looked out at the open office area.
That makes sense so I kept the suggested correction. On to example number two.
Incorrect I was rolled to my back.
Correct I was rolled onto my back.
Again the correction made sense and so I kept it. Here is another:
Incorrect Years if I’m honest to myself.
Correct Years if I’m honest with myself.
I have no idea how I put ‘to’ there instead of ‘with’… I’m shaking my head on that one. Here is my last example:
Incorrect He gestured for me to walk with him around the crowd.
Correct He gestured for me to walk with him through the crowd.
The “correct” statement here is actually incorrect given what is actually happening. They are avoiding the crowd and walked around it. I did change this if only because the sentence is super awkward. Another moment of a grammar error pointing out a much larger problem. Around is actually the wrong word since around suggests they went around it but no destination was given so around and around they go for no purpose.
Winner: Karl gestured for me to follow him to avoid the crowd.
My advice about confused prepositions:
Nobody likes to be confused, especially in a sentence. Take the opportunity to look at an error more broadly and see if the problem isn’t just one word that needs to be fixed, how is the rest of the sentence?
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