How can I improve my written grammar?
By Lisa Brown
It is always disappointing when you read a good book or article, but the grammar is not quite right. Every writer should take some time to improve their language skills before sending their work out. Perhaps you have a great imagination, and new ideas come easy, but if you have poor grammar skills, you might never be published. There is no quick way to improve your grammar, but with time and dedication, you can get it right.
There are many great writers out there who still do not have perfect grammar, but their intention is to improve a little every day. Research common grammar issues and try to perfect a few at a time. It takes a while, but once you get a grasp of it, you will never forget that rule. Continue with this learning process for as long as you can. There are so many grammar rules out there, and you will probably never learn them all, but you need to know the basics at least. Once you know the basics, you can use it as a foundation and continue to build.
Here are some tips and strategies you can apply to help improve your grammar.
In everything you want to master, it comes with constant practice. You cannot sit for one hour and learn everything. It is just not how a language works, especially English. Do a lot of research and try and apply a little at a time. You have to write as much as you can to improve your grammar. Set a word count for yourself every day and try to achieve that word count. With time, you will realise that certain things come more naturally to you.
Read a lot
Apart from writing regularly, you also need to read as much as you can. Reading is where you really can learn the most because you can read content that has been through an editing process. This means that the content is almost guaranteed to be grammatically correct. Pay attention to the flow the writer is using and look at the grammar used that you sometimes struggle with. There is no better way to improve your grammar other than reading.
Research the rules
There are many websites where you can check the basic grammar rules. You can also find more advanced options available once you’ve mastered the basics. The rules are not as easy to apply as you may think. In fact, each grammar rule always has a tail, exception or a separate rule that can throw you off. You have to continue to research as much as you can to become an excellent writer. See this as a study module you are doing and put just as much effort into your grammar as you would an upcoming exam.
Register for a free online class
Sometimes we have to go back to basics before we can move forward. There are free English classes online, and even though most of these are directed at beginners, there are some great tips you can pick up. If you start at the beginning, you can only build from there. Make sure your foundation is correct and then start to add more words and phrases to your vocabulary.
Say it out loud
There is such a distinct difference between speaking and writing. The truth of the matter is that there should not be such a big difference. You will often say something the right way but then write it down completely wrong. If you are unsure about a sentence, read it out loud. By hearing it, you will often pick up on some errors. Once you identify these inconsistencies, write them down the way you say it. After that, read it out loud again and see if you’re pleased with the outcome. This works for me every time.
Once you start writing a lot, you will probably notice the common mistakes you make. You can also put your work through a grammar checker and see what comes up most often. These are the issues you have to focus on. Learn as much about these rules and practice them in your next written piece. You can also do a search for the most common grammar mistakes and then go back to your work and see if you fall into that bracket.
Check your passive voice
If you run a piece of your work through a grammar tool and most of the comments come back as ‘passive’, it might be time to learn more about active vs. passive voices. You can use a passive voice checker online 50 times, but if you do not apply what is suggested, it will be a waste of time. Always apply what you learn if you want to improve. Use a voice checker 30 days before you need to submit your work because it does take some getting used to.
We all make mistakes, and most of us still have grammar issues we are trying to master. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you do not know every little rule. Most of us don’t either. It’s all about learning something new every day and working towards a goal. If you want to be good at something, you must be willing to put the work in to get there.
You might be one of the best writers, but your poor grammar is holding you back. You do not have to accept it because you can change it and become the writer you were meant to be. Many readers will judge poor grammar because the standard for writing has become so high. This should not make you feel inferior, but instead, motivate you to become a better writer.
Everyone has to start somewhere and the only thing standing between you and your dream is practice and hard work. Start applying these tips today and see how much you improve. Set a goal of 6 months for yourself and do your best to learn as much as you can during that time. You will become a good writer with practice and a little extra knowledge.
Lisa Brown works as a content manager. She is specialized on writing useful articles for writers, students and people who want to improve their writing skills. Her hobby is reading, travelling and blogging. Lisa`s life motto is “Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching”.