3

Basically the sentence flowed well enough for me not to notice the error.

This is the sentence:

More importantly was the renaissance discovery of the literature of classical Greece.

I now know that the error is "importantly" and that it should be replaced with "important".

Can someone please explain how I could have spotted that "importantly" needed to be replaced with "important"?

3

One proofreading technique is to ignore any modifiers that aren't grammatically essential: 

More importantly was the renaissance discovery of the literature of classical Greece
* Importantly was the discovery. 

 

Another technique is to restore canonical order, placing subjects, verbs and arguments in their usual locations: 

* The renaissance discovery of the literature of classical Greece was more importantly. 

 

A combination of these techniques is quite effective: 

* The discovery was importantly. 

1

The subject of the sentence you wrote is "renaissance discovery". Notice how this is a noun. The discovery is what is being described. Therefore, the adjective form is necessary in this case.

It's easier to see if we invert the sentence, like this:

"The Renaissance discovery of the literature of classical Greece was more important"

Notice that we cannot use "importantly" here.

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