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Simple Key to Improving Scores
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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© 2011 Evylyn Rose