Writing Problems

Writing Tools

Here you will find some typical problems and errors in student writing. Can you spot the problem? Can you suggest ways to fix the problem?

Try the following exercises

  1. Read each extract from a student thesis and decide what the problems are. What suggestions would you make to improve the writing?
  2. When you have done that, click on problem and answer to see if your suggestions match ours.

1) What is wrong with this sentence? There may be more than one problem.

"To reduce the cost, one of current problems in biodiesel synthesis, saponified esters from transesterification, due to existence of fatty acid and water in vegetable oil has to be solved".


2) What is wrong with this paragraph?

"Nucleosides are the basic constituents of nucleic acids, and this study is aimed at first functionalising a nucleoside with a suitable vinyl group then carrying out a polymerisation reaction".


3) What is wrong with this paragraph? 

"The duplicate record detection problem has been recognised as important for the last 50 years.  Almost all published previous work on duplicate record detection is based on specific application domains and hence gives domain specific algorithms.  For example some algorithms are specifically used for record matching for customer addresses, census records, or variant entries in a lexicon.  Other work on duplicate record depiction is not domain specific, but assumes that domain-specific knowledge will be supplied by a human for each application domain".


4) What is wrong with these sentences?

"None of the work we have encountered so far has proposed doing what we are proposing. While some studies come close, most fall into other areas of research".


5) What is the problem with these sentences?

"[3] proposed to compute a set of biased PageRank vectors based on a set of representative topics … The concept of 'partial vector' is used in [5]".


6) What is the problem with this sentence?

"Due to the limited understanding of dispersion and interfacial heat and mass transfer fluxes which limit overall chemical rates, problems are caused in scale-up and design of bubble column reactors such as formulation of proper boundary conditions, closure laws determining turbulent effects and the process of bubble coalescence and breakage".


7) What is wrong with these sentences?

  1. "The research is focus on the membrane development for carbon dioxide removal from the natural gas".
  2. "The cell of some serotypes from capsules and may join to form short filaments".
  3. "Currently, several research work have been carried out to improve this situation".
  4. "Most of the time finding the Lyapunov function of a system that satisfy Theorem (2.1) may proved to be difficult".


Check your writing carefully. Read it aloud to yourself so that you can hear if there are any errors, or if your sentences are too long.

See next: Links to other online writing help sites