Let me share with you a couple of very common mistakes I see when grading students’ essays: the use of a single noun with a plural pronoun and the use of possessive apostrophes when they only mean to use a plural noun.
Folks, where were you when your teachers told you about this in writing class? Here’s the politically incorrect idea here: If you have a single noun (student) and want to use a pronoun with it, you need to use a single pronoun (his or her). Do not use the word “they.” That is a plural pronoun and should be utilized when you are writing about more than one student (students). Here are some examples of what I mean:
“A student should make sure their homework is done on time.” Nope.
“A student should make sure his or her homework is done on time.” Yep.
“Students should make sure their homework is done on time.” Yep.
Yes, I know that today some folks talk about “zim” and “zer” but those are, in my humble opinion, still single. They should not double-date.
The other issue is when a student means to have more than one noun but uses a possessive apostrophe with the noun. For example, he or she might write the following:
“In that situation, all fee’s could be waived.” Nope. [That was from a senior in college, by the way.] This student MIGHT have meant “In that situation, all fee is could be waived.” Since there was nothing that the word “fees” was possessing, I have to assume that the individual meant “fee is” but it just doesn’t work with the rest of that sentence. Double nope.
What the student meant to write was the following:
“All fees could be waived.” Yep.
Hope this helps! Have a superb day!