One Paper, So Many Tiny Errors

 

iron“As I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen is about a mom who raised her daughter Emily after her husband left her. Mom was flat broke and couldn’t be ‘the good mom’ while also being the bread-winner. Now the social worker at Emily’s school wants to have a talk… while Mom stands there, ironing.

Student wrote a good paper, with lots of tiny grammar mistake that would change the grade from an A to a B… hopefully the paper will now get the A it deserves.

How does apostrophe s (’s) change the meaning of a sentence?

I placed the child with my sister.
I placed the child with my sister’s cousin.

  • Where did you put the child?
  • First with the sister, then with the cousin.

I placed the child with my neighbor downstairs.
I placed the child with my neighbor’s downstairs.

  • Where did you put the child?
  • First with the neighbor, then with the downstairs.

Extra comma

She was accountable for her daughter, Emily’s problems

  • This emily.jpgmeans that her daughter is Emily’s problems, not that her daughter Emily has problems.
  • She was accountable for her daughter Emily’s problems
  • She was accountable for the problems of her daughter, Emily.

Pronouns and antecedents

Her mother placed her with the neighbors downstairs in order to earn a living. She was then sent to her grandparents’ house.

  • Wait, which she? The mom? The daughter?
  • Pronouns only remember the most recent noun.
  • Emily was then sent…

 

Fix the comma splice:

Emily contracted measles, her mother didn’t allow her near the baby.

  • Emily contracted measles, and her mother didn’t allow her near the baby.
  • Emily contracted measles; her mother didn’t allow her near the baby.
  • Emily contracted measles. Her mother didn’t allow her near the baby.

Improper use of word:lightning bug.jpg

Emily has no friends and a sense of belonging.

  • She has no friends but she does belong?
  • Emily has no friends and no sense of belonging.

This toll takes an effect on Emily’s well-being.

  • ‘toll’ here means the damage done, but it is not used correctly.
  • This takes a toll on Emily’s well-being.

 Superb Sentences

These should raise Student by half a grade at least! It captures the essential sadness of the story.

Throughout her childhood, Emily saw caring figures come and go. She soon concluded that nothing and no one can be depended on.

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