By Liz Browning
After a rough break-up, I finally decided to put myself back out into the dating world. Of course, I figured a good place for a young, intelligent, college girl like me would be Tinder. I downloaded the app, created an account, and added a few sassy selfies and an interesting bio that didn’t reveal too much info but it wasn’t too vague either.
After about a week of matching and chatting with guys, I was about ready to give up. Then, I received a message that was quite odd and slightly insulting. He didn’t even say “Hi,” his message simply said, “You’re pretty, but your grammar in your bio is not very good.” When I received this message, I didn’t respond right away. I pondered for a couple minutes in astonishment and at a loss for words. I didn’t want to unmatch him or ignore him because I thought that he needed to know just how I felt about his failed flirting attempt.
I wasn’t insulted or anything because I know that I am not a grammar expert by any means. I decided to respond with something witty. I replied, “If that is some cheesy pick-up line, you have failed miserably.” We both laughed and continued chatting for a while. As It turns out, “Grammar Guy” was actually pretty nice, and we even went on a few dates.
As I said before, I know that I am not a grammar perfectionist and that my skills could use a little work. After receiving that message, I realized that grammar and proper writing is important, not just for a relationship, but for life in general. These skills might even be useful in a future career?! Basically, you can have the best content (or the best Tinder bio), but if the reader can’t understand it because of all the grammatical errors, it’s basically a piece of garbage.
Thus, “Grammar Guy’s” diffident first impression provoked me to talk to tutors in our college writing center. Since they spend their days editing papers, they might be able to give me some tips for improving my grammar (and Tinder) skills. They helped me determine some of the most common writing mistakes and shared ways to improve my skills. I’ve decided to list some of them with you so you can improve your own writing and avoid embarrassment from potential professors, employers, or even a possible soul mate.
5 Most Common Errors seen by College Writing Tutors
1.No Thesis Statement
Many students come in with a paper that either lacks a thesis statement or it is very weak. Remember, a thesis statement is not a summary of the introduction, rather, it’s a statement which tells your reader what the paper is going to be about. Think of it like a brief roadmap for the rest of the essay.
2. Incorrect use of Commas
There are two types of writers: those who use too many commas and those who do not use them at all. Comma placement can be tricky, but a few main areas to use them are before a quote, in a list, and after subordinating conjunctions (and, but, yet, so, etc..). If you find yourself constantly struggling with commas, consider using an application like Grammarly to catch the tougher mistakes. (Pro tip: run your Tinder bio through Grammarly to avoid awkward interactions with the grammar police.)
3. Use of Semicolons
A semicolon is used in place of a period to combine two separate sentences. Students either use them in writing improperly, or they use them too much. Think of a semicolon like Tinder dates: exciting in theory, but actually disappointing in practice.
4. Incorrect use of Possessive Apostrophes
Apostrophes are confusing, let’s be honest. The most common ones are “it’s” and “its” and “your” and “You’re.”
“Its” means belonging to the subject of the sentence. For example, “Tinder is better than its review would suggest.”
“It’s” is a contraction for “it is.” For example, “Why do you use Tinder? It’s creepy.”
5. Improper Citations in all Formats and Writing Styles
Professors are very specific as to which format the assignment should be in whether it’s APA, MLA, or Chicago be sure to refer to the Purdue Owl Online Writing Lab to ensure that you are citing your paper correctly. Tinder dates can also be sticklers for proper citation. That Lion King quote you included in your profile bio needs to be properly cited in order to really impress your potential matches!
My improper grammar has always been the crux of the jokes between my friends and I. When I told them about my the first encounter with “Grammar Guy” they said sarcastically, “Well Liz, this proves that you have to have the G to get the D.” (D standing for date…don’t get the wrong idea.)