Welcome to the third video in the video series about 5 common mistakes in STANAG 6001 writing and how to avoid them. If you’ve missed the first two videos, you’ll find the previous two below, so don’t worry, you can catch up.
Today we’re going to talk about the last two areas in which mistakes are commonly made and that is accuracy and vocabulary choices. Let’s start with accuracy. Accuracy is basically correctness, so make sure that your text is grammatically correct. That is quite obvious that this is a common thing to make a mistake in (grammar). All right. So, how to check if your text is grammatically correct? There are a few places in which you can look for mistakes, for example: are all the sentences complete and finished? So, read your sentences again and make sure that they are all complete and finished. Check if all the sentences have a subject and a verb: a person/thing doing the action and the action. Do subjects and verbs agree? Check if the subject and the verb have the agreement. If it is ‘she’ or ‘he’ in Present Simple there should be an ‘s’ at the end (of a verb), for example. Do you use appropriate tenses? Make sure that you’re using the tenses that will tell the reader what you want to tell them. Avoid unnecessary shifting from one tense to another. It may be confusing. Do pronouns, such as ‘it’ or ‘they’ have a clear reference? If you’re using ‘it’ or ‘they’, does the reader know what they refer to? So, these are the ways in which you can check very quickly if you don’t have grammatical mistakes.
Also, avoid using grammar that you are not sure of. If you are not sure how to use a grammatical form, don’t use it. Don’t risk it. Just use a form that you know very well instead. Especially if it’s the exam. Avoid copying language structures from your native tongue, which is called calque and is a result of translating structures directly, word-by-word from your native tongue into English, and it can be very confusing for native speakers, but also for other language speakers when they read what you’ve written.
How to make sure that your text is grammatically correct? Plan before you start writing. Plan grammar structures that you’re going to use in your text before you start writing. Read and edit your text after you’ve finished. It is really important not to resign from this part of writing. Editing is a part of writing. Don’t forget to do it. Leave some time for yourselves at the end of the exam to read what you’ve written. Read it once again.
And here are the mistakes or the issues that can disqualify you from passing the exam, such as frequent grammatical errors which sometimes hinder understanding. If there are many mistakes in your text, even if they are minor, you can fail. Word-order mistakes – it’s using a sentence structure from your native language very often.
Vocabulary. Use varied vocabulary. This is very important. Try not to copy the same words in many different sentences in your text. Avoid using vocabulary you’re not sure of. As in the case of grammar, if you’re not sure what the word means or how it collocates, don’t use it. Use the word that you know instead. It’s a very good idea to replace simple, common words with more formal equivalents, such as instead of saying ‘buy’ you can say ‘purchase’, instead of saying ‘see’ you can say ‘consider’ or ‘perceive’. You can do it intentionally. Avoid copying vocabulary from your native tongue. Beware of false friends. This is very often a problem in writing.
Here are very frequent mistakes in vocabulary use that can disqualify you. For example, vocabulary sometimes used inappropriately – if you choose wrong words or wrong collocations, if you use loan translation I’ve talked about, using the words that you’d use in your native language, if you mistake parts of speech and use a verb instead of a noun or vice versa.
Thank you very much for watching episode 3 and the other episodes I hope. If you are interested in doing a practical workshop with me in which instead of talking about theory, as I have in this series, we can work on your texts and learn how to avoid mistakes on the examples from your texts, then you’re more than welcome to join the workshop which is going to be run online and it starts on 9 September. The group is going to be small, up to 6 people. For the 8 consecutive weeks, ending on 2 November we’ll be meeting twice a week to discuss your work and every week you’ll write two pieces of writing which I will check, correct and send you back in writing, and after that we’ll meet altogether to discuss your texts in a group on Zoom. Check out the details below and I hope to see you in the workshop.