Edited American English Essays

2.4: Spelling and Punctuation

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on March 23, 2009 .

This resource discusses the conventions of Edited American English (EAE), which is the language standard applied to the GED. Specifically, this page deals with spelling and punctuation.

Conventions of Edited American English

When you are in a rush to get your ideas on paper, it can be easy to overlook sentence-level correctness. However, carefully editing your composition for correctness is an important step to writing the GED essay. Following conventions of Edited American English (EAE) is one factor readers will use to score your essay. This lesson provides information about the conventions of EAE. The lesson also provides examples of common errors and how to correct them. Lastly, the lesson discusses strategies for finding and correcting your own errors. As you review ESE and practice finding your errors, the lessons for Part I of the Language Arts Writing Test might also be useful.

You may initially feel overwhelmed by the task of proofreading for Edited American English. Part of this is that “Edited American English” sounds like a pretty broad term, and it can be hard to know where to begin. However, there are a number of specifics you should review. Once you know what these are, proofreading becomes a less intimidating task. The conventions of EAE that you should look for when proofreading are listed below.

  • Spelling: Is each word correctly spelled?
  • Punctuation: Have you used periods, question marks, commas, colons, and other punctuation marks correctly?
  • Complete Sentences: Are all of your sentences complete, and neither fragment nor run-on sentences?
  • Sentence Structure: Do you vary the sentence structure you use?
  • Subject-Verb Agreement: Do the subjects and verbs in each sentence agree?
  • Verb Tense: Is each verb in the correct tense?
  • Capital Letters: Do you use capital letters correctly?

Common Errors

The list below includes many common errors that writers make. Reviewing this list will help you know what to look for when proofreading your own writing. With time, you will get used to the errors that you make most often. Using this list will also help you proofread because you will understand what errors to look out for when revising your writing.


IE/EI: Words like “receive” and “their” often cause problems for writers because it is so hard to remember whether the “i” or the “e” comes first.

You’ve probably heard the rule below before. Keep it in mind while checking your IE/EI words.

Write I before E
Except after C
Or when it sounds like an A
As in "neighbor" and "weigh"

There are a few exceptions to the rule: seize, either, weird, height, foreign, leisure, conscience, counterfeit, forfeit, leisure, neither, science, species, sufficient.

Homonyms: These are words that sound alike but are spelled differently. Even very experienced writers have difficulty with homonyms, especially when writing quickly. Below are some words that people commonly confuse:

  • They’re/Their/There
  • Hear/Here
  • Your/You’re, Whose/Who’s and Its/It’s
  • Accept/Except
  • Affect/Effect
  • To/Two/Too
  • Whole/Hole
  • Write/Right/Rite
  • Whether/Weather


Comma splices: A comma splice occurs when you try to link two main clauses with just a comma, as in the following:

I enjoy watching television, I really like reality shows.

You can correct a comma splice by adding a conjunction (and, but, for, or, so, yet):

I enjoy watching television, and I really like reality shows.

Apostrophes: Remember that you need an apostrophe ( ‘ ) each time you show possession (as in, Mike’s house) or use a contraction (as in, they’re for they are or he’s for he is). You don’t need an apostrophe when making a word plural (as in, Rachel has four cats).

American English Essays

530 Words3 Pages

The question of whether or not English should be an official language has been a controversial topic since our country was founded. The English language is a tie that helps combine the many pieces of our society together. Our nation should not acclaim bilingualism, but should enfold English as the national language spoken in the United States, to secure the future unity of our nation.

The United States is a nation composed of many immigrants from all around the world. We are a country of many cultural and racial ethnic groups that are constantly reacting to shape the American culture. The English language binds and unites immigrants with native- born Americans. English allows us to communicate with each other and discuss each…show more content…

It is starting to become the international language as well. Speaking one language helps the ability of all backgrounds to communicate with one another. With so much diversity in the United States, we need something that joins us together. To speak a language that is used by the world, will help all Americans. English is the common bond of our community, and understanding it is the only way a citizen will be able to fully participate in democracy, business, and education. It is the language of international relations, as well as the language of our historical documents, of communication and of safety. By making English the official language, it will help to bring together Americans, not propel them farther apart.

Many Americans are composed of Hispanic origin. With such a great number of the population speaking a second language, bilingualism will more than likely become an even more common occurrence in many states, in the future. This thought strongly associates with the job market of the United States. The second generation is becoming more bilingual, using one language for their home and the other for business. Workers are going to have to be able to communicate with one another to get the job done. Should native- born American employees learn to speak Spanish to communicate with other fellow employees? My answer would have to be, no. A system that accommodates immigrants in their native languages removes the

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