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Modern Social Problems

Common writing errors
Printable Intro Soc Required Reading
Printable Syllabus for Intro Sociology
Final exam
Syllabus for Social Problems
Reading and Class schedule
American Values
Free e-books online
Common writing errors
What gets an "A"? My best students' essays
Suggested essay topics
Wealth, Poverty, other Interesting stuff

If you don’t know these, you shouldn’t graduate from college!

1. If you can’t state the differences in the use of their, they’re,  and there, then don’t use contractions!  This means you should write they are  when you need  they’re  or we are when you mean  we’re  or  you are  when you mean you’re .  Their  and your are only used as  possessive pronouns, as in their dog, their ideas  and your turn or your clothes.  It is NEVER acceptable to write when your going  when you mean when you are going.   The apostrophe means a letter is missing in a contraction.

2.  You need to learn the differences between to, too and two.  Two is 2. Too is about  excess, as in too much coffee or too many people  or it can mean also : Take me, too  or He wants one, too .   “To” is a part of a verb’s infinitive form, as in “to go” “to have” “to see”. It is also  a  preposition, used in conjunction with another word to indicate direction: to school  or to  the doctor’s.

3.  Speaking of much and many:  If you can count the things, there are many, as in “many people were in the room”, or “there were so  many snowflakes falling” .  If you can’t COUNT the amount (as in liquids),  you use much: “ there was so  much snow falling”or  “there was so much water in the tub” or “there was much ado about nothing”.

4.  Weather is sunshine, rain, snow.  Whether or not you use it  depends on whether your topic has to do with climate. 

5.  A witch is a person who practices wicca, which is a modern version of a pagan religion.

6.  You may accept the honors given to you, except  when you don’t deserve them.

7.  There is NO apostrophe in a simple plural:  six dogs, 2 parents, a hundred shoes. 

8.  I think this needs repeating:  YOU DO NOT NEED AN APOSTROPHE TO MAKE A SIMPLE PLURAL!

There IS an apostrophe when it is a simple possessive:  it is my dog’s  collar  and  I broke my shoe’s heel  (only ONE shoe’s heel).   When  there  is a plural noun of possession,  the apostrophe goes after the ‘s’:  it is my parents’ car and   my shoes’ style .  If you don’t know the difference,  go the long way around to avoid the possessive:  it is the car of my parents or that was the style of my shoes .

8.  A sentence has a verb in it. A verb is an action word.  If you have thing words in a line, and they don’t do anything, it isn’t a sentence.

9. Affect / Effect:   Affect is usually a verb:  Something I did affects other people.  Effect is most often the noun you are seeking: When you treat someone kindly, it has an effect on  them. 

10.  If you lose something and want to tell someone as it is happening, you say you are losing your mind.  If you are untying the stays of your corset so you can breathe,  then you are loosing the stays.  In the first case the s is pronounced like a z, in the second, the s is soft.  When you make a choice,  however, you are choosing.  English is funny that way. 

11.  When you breathe, you are taking a breath.  The first one is a verb, the second one is a noun. 

If you have never seen a saying in a written form, you would probably be safer NOT using it!  I have frequently had to repeat  out loud what you have written to get a clue as to what you mean:

“right off the back   turned out to mean  “right off the bat

“ We should not place athletes on a peddle stool” was actually a “pedestal”

Now and days” doesn’t make any sense “nowadays”. 

While I read Vogue magazine and shop for designer clothes, I don’t remember taking the “pledge of elegance”.  However, as an American, I have frequently recited the “Pledge of Allegiance”. 

Although it is true many Mexicans do hard physical work in American, we do not call it “manuel labor”, but rather “manual labor”.  Manual means “by hand” . 


I'll add more as I see them!