The following guidelines should serve as a crib for major problems occuring in student dissertations. Each section is explained, then illustrated with an example. For further information and examples, visit the OWL at Purdue.
1. Run-on Sentences
A sentence should express only one central idea:
Home care has been expanding tremendously over the past decade partly due to technological advances that enable treatments to be a part of the home setting which at one time could only be performed within the hospital environment.
Home care has expanded tremendously over the past decade. This is partly due to technological advances that enable treatments to be a part of the home setting.
2. Faulty Parallelism
Building parallel elements into a sentence adds clarity and elegance. Make sure that the different elements are grammatically the same (i.e., “parallel”):
Eating huge meals, snacking between meals, and too little exercise can lead to obesity.
Better: Huge meals, snacks between meals, and too little exercise can lead to obesity.
Our coach is paid too much, obese, over forty, and a former champion wrestler.
Better: Our coach, a former champion wrestler, is overpaid, overweight, and over forty.
3. Vague Pronouns
Make sure that pronouns such as “it” and “this” refer to something specific. “It is” and “There are” beginnings not only add meaningless words, they can also create confusion. In this example, what does “it” refer to?
Employee absenteeism is an established element of inner resignation. It is also present in many long-standing employees who lack seniority in their departments.
Better: Employee absenteeism is an establisted element of inner resignation. The latter is also present in many long-standing employees who lack seniority in their departments.