Jerome Eberle earned an English degree from North Park University, where he completed his undergraduate studies, and has held editorial positions for more than a decade. Among other companies, Jerome Eberle worked for the American Library Association, copy editing book reviews for proper punctuation, grammar, and spelling.
Editors frequently find that writers have difficulty with sentence structure and punctuation. A common mistake involves run-on sentences. The excessive use of semicolons or a lot of commas and conjunctions is a red flag. Breaking down such constructions to create stand-alone sentences is the solution and helps creates clarity for the reader.
Another area of concern is the use of the proper verb tense and consistent verb tenses in a list. Verbs have six tenses: simple present, present perfect, simple past, past perfect, future, and future perfect. Choosing the right tense avoids ambiguity and establishes unity of time. For example, stating that an instructor “taught for 10 years” indicates that he or she is no longer teaching. Conversely, a sentence that states that he or she “has taught for 10 years” indicates that the individual worked in the profession for a decade and continues to teach. Grammatically, when listing actionable steps, a writer should use the same verb tense throughout the entire sentence.