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Simple Key to Improving Scores

Updated on December 23, 2014
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Recently, I had a fellow Hubber tell me my article scores were amazing for being so new and asked for some tips. I looked over his articles. He has some awesome information to share with the world. However, I spent so much of my time just trying to decipher what he had written that I could not get a lot out of his articles. When I explained that his English grammar and word choices were, well, in need of improvement, his response was that my grammar is good but his is okay. Never mind that my grammar is excellent, his was far from "okay." Many factors go into determining the scores on our hubs; however, proper grammar and spelling go a long way in being able to effectively communicate with our audience.

"Okay" grammar is easy to read through, but with several red marks on misspelled words, the incorrect words (ex: "there" instead of "their"), or a misplaced comma. The audience can read such writing just fine, but may cause an annoyance to individuals who are sensitive to perfect grammar. Although the aim should be for excellent grammar, okay grammar will not cause readers to run away. If the audience can read your articles without having to use more concentration, patience, and deciphering skills than usual, you will not have to worry excessively. However, as a writer, it is important to demonstrate good, effective writing skills. Never stop improving.

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Bad grammar, however, is a killer to the success of your hubs. Word choices are awkward, punctuation is incorrect, spelling is so-so, and the sentence structure is nauseating. With considerable effort, readers can decipher the message. However, if what you have to say is not exactly what they are looking for, they are not going to waste their precious time trying to figure out what you have written. For the most part, a reader who comes across bad grammar can easily tell if the individual just never took the time to learn how to write correctly or if the writer simply is new to writing in English. Regardless of which may be the case, no reader wants to have to sit around trying to decipher an article just to maybe learn something new. If what is killing your scores is a case of bad grammar, you need to do something (anything!) to improve it.

Tips to Improve Grammar

  • Study. Pretty basic and too easy. If you are serious about being a writer, you can be serious about improving your writing skills. Pick up a textbook on grammar or surf the web for online materials. Practice makes perfect and the sources you find for your studies can make for excellent reference material if you get stuck later on.
  • Take a class. Some individuals learn material faster and more effectively through instruction. If you are one of these individuals, check out what classes are available in your area. If the only ones are at the college and you cannot afford the tuition for even a single class, consider online classes. Some are self-paced and available for free.
  • Find a tutor. Individuals who have great writing skills sometimes enjoy sharing their knowledge. Unless enrolled in a school, tutors may not be free. However, friends and family may be willing to volunteer as a tutor. You will not know if you do not ask.

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When All Else Fails

Sometimes we simply have cognitive blocks that make learning certain skills feel impossible. If you have great things to share with the world, but good writing is just out of the question for you, try these:

  • Writing software. Something as basic as Microsoft Word will do wonders for catching spelling and some grammar mistakes. It will even offer suggestions for grammar when it knows what you are trying to say. If you have bad grammar skills, Word can help improve your writing to at least okay grammar so long as you are actively considering the correct choice for Word's suggestions. Other writing software exists that can do even more with features that can help with anything from brainstorming to building an outline to offering suggestions. Take a look around and see what can help you.
  • Enlist a friend. Friends and family are an amazing support network. You are bound to know at least one individual personally who is an excellent writer. Ask for help with editing your articles. Of course, their time and effort deserves a return gesture. If you cannot afford to spend money, you can volunteer services you are good at. Perhaps they could use a little help around the house or need assistance with transportation. The possibilities are endless.
  • Hire an editor. If you have exhausted all of your resources (or simply have the money), hire on an editor. Professional editors will more than likely have a set fee for their services. However, if you come across an individual who has excellent grammar and writing skills, it does not hurt to ask if they would consider working as an editor. Of course, you will have to work out an agreement on payment; however, the end result will be well worth it.

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What to Aim For

Good grammar is your best friend as a Hubber. It makes your writing easy to read, does not annoy anyone, and effectively communicates the message you are sending out to the world. If you go no further, as a writer, you should get at least to this level. Yes, the occasional typo occurs and you may find yourself editing an awkward word choice from time to time. After all, what sounded right the first few reads through may not be entirely right. There is no shame (or harm to your audience) for little mishaps from time to time so long as they are minimal and not a constant occurrence. The important thing is that you can recognize the problems on your own.

Excellent grammar is, of course, the ultimate goal. Much like good grammar, you may still find you have a minor error on occasion. What really separates good grammar from excellent grammar has more to do with audience. Here at Hubpages, our writing benefits from a more personal, down-to-earth feel. In this way, we can expand our audience to include all English-speaking individuals. However, an individual with excellent grammar recognizes the many word choices and phrases that are, in fact, not grammatically correct. For example, we often use the phrase "due to" when not discussing matters of deadlines or money. The correct phrase is "because of." Likewise, phrases such as "there are," "that is," and "it is" are grammatically incorrect as they mean nothing. However, writing in such a scholarly and grammatically correct manner can make the writing feel less personal and friendly as such commonly used phrases make sense to and are sometimes even expected of us from our readers. Because of this, excellent grammar is ideal, but not necessary for success as a Hubber.

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Grammar goes a long way in improving our scores. We all know that Hubscores are based on several factors. Grammar and spelling may only be one, possibly insignificant, factor. However, if our articles are well-written and clearly articulate our messages, we get more traffic, we get more return visitors, we get more votes up, we get more feedback, and we get more out of our HubPages experience. Not everyone is expected to be good at writing. However, every time you publish a hub you are announcing to the world that you are a writer. Our audiences expect us to prove it.

Word Crimes by "Weird Al" Yankovic

© 2011 Evylyn Rose

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    • mjfarns profile image

      mjfarns 5 years ago from Bloomington, Illinois USA

      A case for grammar! Awesome! A subject close to my heart!! Do you know why we see so much poor writing out there, mechanically speaking? In my opinion, it's because sentence diagrams are no longer taught in grade school or high school. I really think that's why I have grammar competency, because I learned the parts of speech: how they should work together to produce a complete thought and how they should be punctuated within a complete thought, for navigation purposes.

    • Evylyn Rose profile image
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      Evylyn Rose 5 years ago from Colorado, USA

      I think there may be something more to it than that. I never heard of sentence diagrams until you mentioned it. Of course, after doing a little research on it, I think the technique could make for an excellent teaching tool for those students who are not learning the material. One of the biggest problems facing grammar today is text speak. Students write papers as though they were sending them by text message. However, they continue to miraculously pass their courses. Why? "No Child Left Behind" does not mean we should just pass everyone without correction. It means we encourage excellence from everyone and develop plans and programs for those who are struggling. The day I saw grammar die in this country was the day I walked past, froze, and backed up to take a look at the new Mountain Dew logo. "MTN Dew." Really? Next thing you know we're going to have "P3p$!" as the new Pepsi. Encouraging illiteracy is not cool, creative, or revolutionary.

    • mjfarns profile image

      mjfarns 5 years ago from Bloomington, Illinois USA

      Fo shizzle! (just kidding, I agree with you!)

    • gabgirl12 profile image

      gabgirl12 5 years ago

      Every time you touch, tweak, edit, add and take away you show the world and yourself how committed you are. Goodness, it can be hard work! But it's very rewarding to see the end result and the fruit of your labor, no matter how small. In all honestly, a person has to love writing, and have the desire to dedicate time and effort to do it well. Practice makes perfect!

    • Evylyn Rose profile image
      Author

      Evylyn Rose 5 years ago from Colorado, USA

      Well said!

    • katedonavon profile image

      katedonavon 5 years ago

      Amen!!! What more can I say? Voted up and awesome!

    • Evylyn Rose profile image
      Author

      Evylyn Rose 5 years ago from Colorado, USA

      Thank you! :)

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Great hub on a subject we need to remind ourselves of time and time again. In newspaper editing, I found my reporters wanted to write the way they talked. It makes for difficult reading because the only thing you have to work with is the words, without inflection, facial expressions or other aids to communication face to face. A good rule of thumb: when you reread what you've written, anything you have to stop and read a second time to understand, you need to rewrite. Slow your readers down too much and they move on to something else.

    • Evylyn Rose profile image
      Author

      Evylyn Rose 5 years ago from Colorado, USA

      Exactly the point I was making. ;) How much you can get away with grammatically will depend on your audience and their patience with errors.

    • itfergs profile image

      itfergs 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      As a novice writer and a new user to Hubpages I find myself browsing articles such as these, I have a long road of improvements ahead of me. Grammar and sentence structure is something I need to practice - I appreciate the help and good advice. Thank you!

    • Evylyn Rose profile image
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      Evylyn Rose 5 years ago from Colorado, USA

      You're welcome. Looking over what you have written so far, I say you are already off to a wonderful start! Keep challenging yourself to improve and you will be an amazing writer in no time. ;)

    • georgethegent profile image

      georgethegent 5 years ago from Hillswick, Shetland, UK

      Thank you so much for putting this forward. It is so much easier to read and understand a written piece if it makes sense. It is a pity that some of us are so lazy and believe that they can get away with it. Definitely voted up!!!

    • Evylyn Rose profile image
      Author

      Evylyn Rose 5 years ago from Colorado, USA

      You're welcome. ^_^ From my experience talking with individuals who did not have English as a first language, sometimes it's less a case of being lazy as it is a matter of them being unaware of how hard it is for others to understand their writing. That's actually what inspired me to write this hub. Thanks for the comment and vote!

    • Kiela Starcatcher profile image

      Kiela Starcatcher 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Voted up. Well stated!

      Side note... I'll never forget the day we "arrested" a teacher aunt (for charity) for "dangling her participles!" (~_^)

    • Evylyn Rose profile image
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      Evylyn Rose 5 years ago from Colorado, USA

      What an awesome way to raise funds for charity! Maybe we need to the get the English departments in all of our local school districts to take a look into doing the same for their students. A memory like that can do wonders for getting the material to stick! ;)

      Thanks for the comment and vote!

    • Turtlewoman profile image

      Kim Lam 5 years ago from California

      Hi Evelyn,

      I really need an article like this one to remind myself to study up on grammar all over again. It's been a very long time since I considered writing again. As I browse through many of the hubber's profiles and their work, I realize most of them are professional freelance writers, editors, teachers, etc...it gets a tad bit intimidating. With a background in science, I used to hate to write. But for some reason, it's been fun to write on hubpages! By the way, the correct usage of commas drive me nuts! I am guilty of overusing them. :-) Voted up and awesome.

    • Evylyn Rose profile image
      Author

      Evylyn Rose 5 years ago from Colorado, USA

      To be honest, I don't see a point in excel in grammar to the point that you have all the terminology memorized and know the difference between a preposition and a compound-complex. Brushing up on grammar rules is definitely great! But don't feel you need to be at English professor level to excel in writing. ;)

    • debbie roberts profile image

      Debbie Roberts 5 years ago from Greece

      Although I know my writing is far from perfect, I don't have the patience to read badly written hubs. I agree with what you have written in your hub, that we can't all be excellent writers, but if we want readers then it is important to keep trying to improve our writing skills as best we can.

      We must remember that for a lot of writers here at HubPages, English is their second language and we must make allowances for that.

      Your hub will have many of us triple checking our writing now!! Thankyou for sharing.

    • Evylyn Rose profile image
      Author

      Evylyn Rose 5 years ago from Colorado, USA

      Thanks for the comment, debbie! I disagree about making allowances for those whose first language was not English who insist on writing articles for English-only sites. This isn't to say we should make a big fuss if they have that one or two phrases that are typical of English as second language writers, but that if their English is so off that their writing is or nearly is impossible to read through, there is no excuse. They either need to work on their English more before publishing hubs in English or they need to hire an editor who can help them with it.

      For example, I studied French in high school, but if I were to try to write in French for a French-only site, a French-speaking individual would have a headache trying to read it. I would expect those who speak French to advise me to improve my French writing skills or hire a French-speaking individual to edit for me. This isn't to say individuals with awful grammar who are not fluent in English should not write, simply that they should consider writing only in their native language or spending more time learning English writing skills before publishing in English.

    • debbie roberts profile image

      Debbie Roberts 5 years ago from Greece

      Hi Evylyn Rose,I do agree with you that having English as a second language isn't an excuse for constantly publishing badly written material.I was referring to people whose second language is English and their overall English writing is of an excellent standard and not to those who obviously can't string two words together.

      Reading a persons work is for pleasure and there is no pleasure gained from reading badly written articles.

      I'm still blurry eyed from sleep and my coffee has not kicked in yet. I wanted to reply because I didn't want my last comment misunderstood.

    • Evylyn Rose profile image
      Author

      Evylyn Rose 5 years ago from Colorado, USA

      You're good, debbie. :) I just figured we should elaborate on that point seeing as how it happened to be just such an individual who could not string two English words together who was the inspiration for this hub. ;)

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