Some of the most common mistakes academics make are also the easiest to fix. One example involves spelling errors that spell-check will not find. Most academics know well enough that they need to run spell-check before submitting a paper. And, they also know that even though jargon such as neoliberalization or mestizaje might not pass muster in spell check, they are acceptable words in academic writing. Instead, the mistakes I see time and time again in academic writing are those that spell-check will not pick up because they are legitimate words; they just are not being used in the proper way.
Here are five of the most common mistakes I see in academic writing.
Mistake #1: Lead/ledProper usage: Some people may be led to believe that pencils are made of lead.
“Led” is the past tense of the verb “to lead.” “Lead” is the substance we used to put in pencils.
Mistake #2: Pour/pore or Pouring/poringProper usage: While I was poring over my book, my daughter began to pour coffee on it.
“To pour” means to spill a liquid on something. “To pore” means to read intensively.
Mistake #3: Lose/looseProper usage: You might lose your pants if they are too loose.
“To lose” is a verb that refers to something that you no longer can find. “Loose” means something is not tight.
Mistake #4: Eek/ekeProper usage: Having to eke out a living as a farm worker might make me scream “eek!”
“To eke” is a verb usually used to refer to stretching out scant resources. “Eek” is something you scream.
Mistake #5: Compliment/complementProper usage: She complimented me on how well my pants complemented my shirt.
“To compliment” means to give praise. “To complement” refers to something matching something else.
These are the five mistakes I see most frequently. Avoiding them will enhance your credibility. What are some mistakes you see?