Grammar – That dreaded seven-letter word despised by many writers and loved by editors. Understanding, learning and memorizing grammar rules is a basic requirement for all proficient writers. It’s an important part of mastering the English language. Rules assist in putting thoughts in a clear and concise manner. It also ensures that arguments are presented logically and coherently to a reader.
The problem is that even the most talented copywriters tend to forget how much good grammar skills can help them become successful. It can make you stand out in a sea of amateur scribes, present your thoughts with clarity and win over potential clients.
Would you hire someone with bad grammar skills? Would you read an essay rife with grammatical errors? And will you understand a blog that scarcely follows grammar rules? The answer to these questions is obvious.
Writers can use grammar to their advantage rather than fear its myriad rules. Use the below online writing tips and make grammar your best friend:
Editors often accuse writers of being vague in their sentences. Sometimes, vagueness in language can be a result of disarranged thoughts or confusion. If that’s the case, go back to doing research and be sure of what you’re planning to tell readers. If a writer knows a topic well, he or she is less likely to sound vague while presenting their thoughts to readers.
Here’s an example of vagueness and clarity:
Incorrect: There was extreme unrest in India.
What was the “extreme unrest”? Where in India was this “extreme unrest”?
Correct: Riots and protests erupted in the city of Mumbai in India.
Never Ever Use Two Negatives in a Sentence
Here’s one of the most crucial online writing tips: Unless there’s a really good reason, avoid using two negatives in a sentence since it perturbs readers.
Incorrect: He is not uninterested in poetry.
Correct: He is interested in poetry.
Restrict the Use of Passive Voice
In passive voice, the action rather than the subject is give importance in the sentence. In contrast, in active voice, the subject is more important that the action. Passive voice makes you sound dull, boring and unreliable. It’s usually used by people in power to avoid taking a blame.
Incorrect: Mistakes were made.
Correct: I made mistakes.
Use Hyphens Correctly
Hyphens can be used in three ways. The first is when you want to join two sentences to make a point but these sentences would be fine on their own without the hyphen. For example, she loved her two children a lot – But she also loved her husband equally.
Another way to use a hyphen is by introducing a surprise element. For example, he adored his two bulldogs, salt and pepper – and Fluffy, his Persian cat.
Lastly, you can use a hyphen for emphasizing certain words in order to produce a dramatic effect. For example, the children ate a hearty breakfast – consisting of porridge, fruits and boiled eggs.
Most online writing tips urge bloggers to use hyphens correctly.
Avoid Sentence Fragments
A common mistake made by several wordsmiths is failing to complete a sentence or forgetting to add an independent clause to a dependent clause or phrase.
Incorrect: From morning until night. She burned the midnight oil.
The first sentence makes no sense. What happened from morning until night?
Correct: From morning until night, she burned the midnight oil.
Have a Grammar Manual Handy
Online writing tips about grammar might help but it’s better to have a grammar manual handy while editing and proofreading your articles. Not only will this assist in sharpening your grammar but it will also put all your doubts about the myriad rules to rest.
If you’re struggling with grammar, it’s a good idea to go back to the basics and revise. There are lots of grammar tests, exercises, quizzes and books available online that will help you in brushing up your writing skills.
Don’t Stress Too Much About Grammar
Honestly, grammar is important but it isn’t the only thing that makes a blog or an article amazing. Most experts use the rules to present their thoughts with clarity but they also tend to break the rules occasionally to either produce a dramatic effect or purposely to get a reader’s attention.
The more you write, the more you will understand when it’s important to follow the grammar rules and when you can break them – and get away with it.
Use the above online writing tips to use grammar more effectively in order to stick out from the ocean of writers. The best writers know that grammar isn’t a seven-letter word to be feared or a best friend, it’s that frenemy that pushes you to be the best version of yourself.