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PTE writing: avoiding common grammatical errors

The Writing section of the Pearson Test of English (PTE) exam assesses your ability to communicate effectively in written English. To achieve a high score, it is crucial to demonstrate a strong command of grammar. Grammatical errors can negatively impact the clarity and coherence of your writing. In this blog, we will discuss common grammatical errors in the PTE Writing section and provide strategies to help you avoid them, improving your overall writing performance.

Subject-Verb Agreement:

One common grammatical error is incorrect subject-verb agreement. Ensure that the subject and verb in a sentence agree in number (singular or plural). Pay attention to singular and plural nouns, compound subjects, indefinite pronouns, and collective nouns when selecting the appropriate verb form. Review grammar rules and practice identifying and correcting subject-verb agreement errors in sentences.

Verb Tense and Verb Form:

Using the correct verb tense and verb form is essential for expressing ideas accurately. Be consistent in maintaining a consistent verb tense throughout your writing. Pay attention to verb forms such as past tense, present tense, present perfect, and past perfect. Practice identifying and using the appropriate verb tense and form based on the context of the sentence.

Sentence Fragments:

A sentence fragment occurs when a group of words does not form a complete sentence. It lacks a subject, a verb, or both. To avoid sentence fragments, ensure that every sentence you write expresses a complete thought. Review your writing for any incomplete or fragmented sentences and revise them to make them grammatically correct and complete.

Run-on Sentences and Comma Splices:

Run-on sentences and comma splices occur when two independent clauses are incorrectly joined without appropriate punctuation. Use proper punctuation, such as periods, commas, semicolons, or conjunctions (such as "and," "but," or "so"), to separate independent clauses. Be aware of the differences between coordinating conjunctions, subordinating conjunctions, and punctuation marks to avoid run-on sentences and comma splices.

Pronoun Antecedent Agreement:

Pronoun antecedent agreement refers to ensuring that pronouns agree in number, gender, and person with their antecedents (the nouns they refer to). Pay attention to pronouns such as "he," "she," "it," "they," "them," and make sure they agree with the nouns they replace. Review your writing to ensure clarity and consistency in pronoun usage.

Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers:

Misplaced modifiers occur when descriptive words or phrases are not placed correctly in relation to the word they modify, leading to confusion or ambiguity. Dangling modifiers occur when the word being modified is missing or unclear. Carefully place modifiers near the words they modify to ensure clarity and accuracy.

Apostrophe Misuse:

Apostrophes are commonly misused in writing. Understand the proper use of apostrophes for indicating possession, contractions, and plural forms. Avoid using apostrophes to create plural nouns. Review and practice the correct usage of apostrophes to avoid this common grammatical error.

Capitalization Errors:

Improper capitalization can affect the clarity and correctness of your writing. Pay attention to the rules of capitalization for proper nouns, the beginning of sentences, titles, and headings. Avoid unnecessary capitalization of common nouns, unless they are part of a specific name or title.

Agreement of Pronouns and Nouns:

Ensure that pronouns agree with their respective nouns in gender, number, and person. Pay attention to pronouns such as "he/she," "his/hers," "they/them," and make sure they match the nouns they refer to. Be mindful of pronoun reference and avoid ambiguous pronoun usage.

Consistent Verb Voice:

Maintain consistency in verb voice throughout your writing. Choose between active voice and passive voice and use it consistently within a sentence or paragraph. Shifting between the two can lead to confusion and inconsistency in your writing.


Avoiding common grammatical errors is crucial for achieving a high score in the PTE Writing section. By paying attention to subject-verb agreement, verb tense and form, sentence structure, pronoun usage, modifier placement, apostrophe use, capitalization, and verb voice, you can enhance the clarity and accuracy of your writing. Regular practice, thorough review of grammar rules, and seeking feedback from teachers or language partners can greatly improve your grammatical proficiency in writing. Strive for clarity, coherence, and grammatical correctness to showcase your language skills and excel in the PTE Writing section.