Common ESL Grammar Error Types and Feedback

Error Types
Error examples and feedback (correction)
Verb tense
After that, the ruling regime fell down and the new government cannot recover.
Feedback (after, FB): Be consistent - use “past” tense (-> “could not”)
Verb form
(errors in formation of the verb phrase except for tense markings)

Being grown up in the minority group feels confusing.
FB: Use “active” verb form (-> “growing up”)
It is better to stop it than to let the situation going out of control.
FB: Let + obj (N.) + base verb (-> “let the situation go”)
Subject-verb (number) agreement
EstablishingS new laws and resources at both state and federal levels arev necessary.
FB: A subject in a(n) “~ing/to~” form is singular (-> “is necessary”)
(e.g., Missing or wrong referent / agreement with the antecedent)
It is unfair to treat someone badly just because they are suspected.
FB: Someone” is singular (“they are” -> “he/she is”)
I am from different universe.
FB: Which universe your came from is unknown to the reader (-> “a universe”)
Internet offers many options for photo storage and organization.
FB: There is only one internet that everyone knows (à “the internet”) Refer to “Article” handout
Noun endings
(e.g., plural or possessive endings)
I received a lot of positive feedbacks.
FB: This is a non-count noun (-> “feedback”)    
Word choice
(e.g., incorrect use of idioms, using informal words, collocational problems)  
He looks down to others who are less fortunate than him.
FB: Idiom error (-> "look down on"  someone)
I hope to succeed the goal.
FB: Collocation error (-> “achieve/reach” the goal)
Word form
(Using a wrong part of speech)
We need to analysis this problem.
FB: This is a noun form. You need a VERB here (-> "analyze”)
Sentence structure
It was reported that administratorss decidedv to make Chicago River swimmable intensifiedv the debate.
FB: You have two verbs in this that-clause. Only one subject + verb is allowed in one clause. (“intensified” -> “,which intensified”) 
Sentence structure
(e.g., run-on sentences)
Technology cannot behave as powerful as the traditional teaching method all the time, combining both could make our teaching-and-learning system much more effective.
FB: You can’t join two complete sentences (independent clauses) using comma alone. You should add a conjunction word in addition to the comma. (“,” -> “,so”)
Sentence structure
(e.g., fragments)
One stereo type is that the Islamic religion treats women very badly. Which is not true.
FB: This is not a complete sentence, which can’t stand alone with a period. Connect it to the previous sentence with a comma (-> One stereo type is that the Islamic religion treats women very badly, which is not true”)
Alumnus Max Abramovitz an architect of New York City’s Lincoln Center designed Krannert Center.
FB: You need to enclose this phrase in commas because it’s a break within a sentence that supplements and adds information to the subject. Refer to Punctuation handout  
Missing elements
(e.g., Missing object, verb, subject, relative pronouns, complementizer [1])
The advantages of preventing are bigger than disadvantages.
FB: Preventing WHAT? You’re missing an object.

I have received a lot of complements.
FB: Check the spelling (-> compliments)
Informal language
Cloning is an awesome technology.
FB: This is informal. Use more formal, specific word (e.g., beneficial, useful)

[1] In a syntax term, this problem has to do with missing “arguments”. Certain verb requires certain number of arguments (agent, patient, beneficiary, recipient, etc.) this could also be categorized as sentence structure problem.

Note 1: Run-on sentences and fragments (#10, 11) could also be labelled as “Sentence Boundaries”. The informal language (#15) could also be seen as a word choice (#7) error. Using passive voice, categorized under verb from (#2) in this table could also be its own category. Note that many example sentences in this chart include multiple types of errors, but focus on the type of error that each sentence belongs to. Depending on your student’s level and needs, you may provide the comment with or without possible revision (i.e., phrases in parenthesis). 

Note 2: For unfamiliar grammar terms, please refer to Grammar Term Glossary 

Ferris, D. (2002). Treatment of Error in Second Language Student Writing. Ann Arbor, M.I.:UM Press. The example sentences are mostly compiled from ESL 505 Summer 2011 and ESL 501 Fall 2011 student essays)