10 Ways for Writers to Improve Their Grammar Skills

By Ashutosh Jha → Last Updated on Tuesday, February 26, 2019
It’s hard to underestimate the importance of good spelling and grammar. Studies say bad spelling influences everything from how much you make to whether you get that date. People may even make judgments about you based on the way you write an email or a text.

If you are a writer or want to be one, good spelling and grammar are a must. While you can always team up with proofreaders to watch your back, even they can’t catch everything. Getting it right in the first place is a better plan.

There are some tricky grammatical structures in English. Even the brightest of us sometimes mess it up. That doesn’t mean you can’t strive for perfection.

10 Steps To Improve Grammar Skills for Writers

In fact, you should be striving for the best. If you’re ready to give your writing a real polish, check out some of these ten tips. They’re guaranteed to help you improve your grammar skills.

1. Read, Read, and Read Some More

Great writers are often avid readers too. Reading is a great way to learn proper grammar since most published material is edited and polished. You shouldn't assume every sentence is correct, but most follow the basic rules.

You should read a wide variety of materials. Certain types of materials and authors have different styles. An academic paper might use long sentences, but your favorite author uses short ones.

Either way, you’ll be exposed to a wider range of grammatical use.

Even reading material with poor grammar can help you, since it can show you why something isn’t working.

2. Consult a Grammar Handbook and a Style Guide

Here’s a secret your editor won’t tell you. Your editor isn’t a grammar-correcting robot. They’re looking up most of the trickier grammar too.

You can borrow a page from their book and keep a few grammar handbooks on your shelf. These guides will walk you through the right way to handle different constructions.

If grammar seems like a boring subject to have a book on, don’t worry. Many authors try to make it fun, sometimes by using a quirky theme or pop culture examples.

You can also consult what’s known as a style guide. These books are often issued by trusted sources, like the University of Chicago, the Associated Press, or Oxford University. While they go over much more than grammar, they do contain plenty of information.

3. Remember That Practice Makes Perfect

If you want to improve your grammar, one of the very best things you can do is write. It doesn’t matter if you write a little or a lot, but writing every day will help you improve.

This writing practice is a great way to incorporate what you’re learning through other tools. Take what you learn in your reading or a grammar course and play with it during practice writing.

When you’re writing, don’t worry too much about spelling and grammar. This is all for practice, and mistakes help us learn.

Instead, focus on being playful and creative with the language at this stage. Combine sentences or try to mimic your favorite author’s style.

4. Read Your Work Aloud

Once you have a few practice writing pieces, read them back to yourself out loud. Are there places you stumble, or sentences that sound awkward?

This is a great test of your grammar. If it doesn’t sound natural when you read it out loud, there’s likely a problem with the sentence. Read it out loud a few times and see if you can identify the problem.

Once you know where the issue is, you can try fixing it. If you’re not sure why it doesn’t sound right, consult with a grammar book or another resource.

Reading out loud is also a great way to spot errors, such as missing words. Our brains tend to fill in missing pieces in our own work, because we’re so familiar with it. Reading out loud forces us to slow down and consider what’s on the page.

Don’t worry though. You don’t need to have an audience present for your reading.

5. Use the Sentence Combining Strategy

This is a fun game you can play while improving your grammar. Write some short sentences. Then try combining them in different ways.

Some of these combinations will work very well. Others won’t work quite as well.

Take a few minutes and think about why certain sentence combinations sound correct. For those that sound awkward, see if you can identify the reason they sound a little off. It’s usually the grammar.

6. Take a Class at a Local School

If you’re feeling the need to brush up a basic grammar skill, it might be time to head back to class. Refresh your memory on the basics before you tackle these other tactics.

Check out your local college to see if they provide English language classes. There may also be adult education programs offered in your area. These courses may be more affordable.

If you can’t access in-person classes, there are plenty of options on the Internet that you can consider. You may be able to sign up for distance education classes. Another good option is a short webinar or a series of tutorial videos.

Online learning options may also be more affordable. Some are even free.

Finally, taking a class can be a much easier and faster way to gather knowledge. It will probably take less time than trying to look everything up on your own.

7. Use an Online Grammar Tool to Check Your Work

The Internet gives you access to all kinds of free tools. This makes it easier to brush up your grammar skills.

Some of the best ones include browser extensions. There are even downloadable apps. Some free checkers let you copy and paste your text right into your browser, then perform the check.

Others offer innovative services. For example, Virtual Writing Tutor offers a pen pal service. You can sign up and start an online forum for exchanging notes.

8. Play Games to Improve Your Grammar Skills

You’ve heard word games can improve your vocabulary and your spelling. There are some games that can help you improve your grammar too.

We already talked about one kind of game, which is combining sentences. You can take it a step further and map sentences. Another idea is to combine random words into sentences.

Grammar quizzes can also be a fun way to test your knowledge.

You can often play online for free. If you’re on the go, try searching for free Android or iOS apps. Your boring commute to class or work just became a great space to practice your grammar skills.

If you’re in class or have an online group that wants to improve their writing, you can also play games with them.

9. Use Other Online Resources for Improving Grammar

There are still other online resources you can access to work toward better grammar. You could follow a few grammar bloggers to get daily grammar tips.

There are also plenty of YouTube videos and infographics out there. They can walk you through some of the trickier parts of English grammar. If you’re stuck on a particular grammar point, a video might have the answer you need.

There’s also a wealth of online practice exercises. These cover almost every grammar point under the sun. You can often find exercises appropriate for almost any level of grammar too.

10. Ask for a Helping Hand

When in doubt, ask for a helping hand with your grammar. A friend may be willing to look over your work. If you’re in a writing group, ask trusted peers for constructive feedback on your writing and grammar.

Relatives, teachers, and colleagues can also be helpful.

Another option you have is to work one-on-one with a tutor. Although this can be somewhat like taking classes, a tutor will work with you to meet your schedule. They’ll also help you focus on the aspects of language that you struggle with most.

You can always look for a tutor in your area. The Internet offers more options for finding a tutor who may be able to meet with you online.

Be sure to ask for feedback on what you could be doing better. It’s one thing to have someone catch mistakes and fix them. It’s another to have them explain what needed to change and why.

Give Your Grammar a Brush-up

Writers should strive to improve their craft, but they’re not the only ones who benefit from a grammar brush-up. Whether you’re texting a friend or writing a letter to your boss, your grammar skills are important. Good written communication is essential for success, whether you're blogging or writing emails.

Wondering what other skills you need to succeed in the world of business today? Take a look at our blog. Our helpful articles will help you learn about the skills that will lead you to success.
Ashutosh Jha

Ashutosh Jha is a professional blogger, Blog and IT Consultant. He writes about Blogging, SEO, Making Money, Internet Marketing and Web Design.
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