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Improve Your Writing & Credibility as a Writer with Proper Grammar

Updated on May 23, 2014


Ensure that your writing is fully understood by your audience by complying with Standard English grammar rules. Understand the importance of having a grammatically correct article so that you can fully appreciate the hard work you put into making sure you have no mistakes in your writing.

Since we all age and forget the basic grammar rules we learn in grade school, I have provided a short guide on grammar for your review. Also, test yourself when you are giving birth to a masterpiece with a writing question checklist.

Plus, let’s not forget proper punctuation, commonly confused words, transitions, and other types of words that will help your writing flow like a river. Toward the end of this article is a section to help with grammar problems.


Source

Appreciate the English Language: The Importance of Correct Grammar


It is critical to have correct spelling and grammar in your writing as it builds your credibility as an author. Have you ever read an article online, planned to take the critical advice from the expert you believe you are reading, only to find many spelling and grammar errors? I bet that made you think twice about listening to his or her advice.

Have you ever thought that maybe some authors should use some TLC when writing? We all make mistakes, so it is only human to have errors in one’s writing; when people begin writing, they are often in a hurry or just are new to the writing world. That’s why the power of editing was invented!

Depending on why you write, you may find that writing with less spelling and grammar mistakes will increase your readership, increase your profits, or increase your score on your writing website. The possibilities are endless.

Editing does not take much work, just a bit of knowledge of the concept. Once you feel secure with your spelling and grammar skills, you will see that editing your previous articles is a simple task.


Source

Relearn the Basics: A Grammar Guide for Writers


These are just some basic guidelines that writers should be aware of in order to write professionally. Depending on who you write for, what you write about, and how informal you write, some of these guidelines are just that: guidelines, not rules. Just take what you find to be useful for your unique writing.

As it’s said in one of my favorite movies, Pirates of the Caribbean, “…it's more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.”

Here are some grammar basic tips:

1. Spell out numbers one through ten.

2. When closing out punctuation that is in quotation marks, keep the punctuation inside of the quotation marks.

3. Omit unnecessary words in order to make writing concise.

4. Include an introduction, a body with sub-points, and a conclusion.

5. When approaching a topic, consider a unique angle or point of view to entice your reader.

6. Avoid vague, overused language in your writing.

7. A lot is two separate words. “A lot” is not a word. That is a misspelling.

8. Avoid clichés, slang, and inappropriate use of jargon.

9. Try to use action verbs and precise nouns.

10. Clear up ambiguous references.

Now, let’s briefly review the parts of speech.

1. Noun – a person, place, thing, quality, or idea

Type of Noun
Description
Example
Proper
Capitalize
Oklahoma, Jennifer
Common
Normal
bear, clock

2. Pronoun – a specific noun that takes the place of the preceding noun of a sentence

Subject
Object
Possessive
I
me
mine
We
us
ours
You
you
yours
He
him
his
It
it
its
They
them
theirs

3. Verb – a word that describes the action in the sentence

Type of Verb
Present Tense of Verb
Past Tense of Verb
Normal
Cooking
Cooked
Normal
Hunting
Hunted
Normal
Yelling
Yelled
Irregular
Come
Came
Irregular
Bring
Brought
Irregular
Fly
Flew
Irregular
Go
Went
Irregular
Have
Had
Irregular
Lie
Lay


Note: I set up the conjugations of "to be" in the same way verb conjugations are set up in Spanish. Starting from top to bottom, and then left to right: I, You, He/She/It, We, You All, and the plural of He/She/It (They).



In the English language, we should feel lucky. Most languages conjugate all of their verbs in the manner that we conjugate “to be.” In learning the English language, we only have to learn the complicated conjugations of this one verb. So, let’s get to it.


The Present Tense Conjugations of "To Be"

 
 
I am
We are
You are
You are
He is
They are

The Future Tense Conjugations of "To Be"

 
 
I shall be
We shall be
You will be
You will be
She will be
They will be

The Present Perfect Tense Conjugations of "To Be"

 
 
I have been
We have been
You have been
You have been
He has been
They have been

The Past Tense Conjugations of "To Be"

 
 
I was
We were
You were
You were
She was
They were

The Past Perfect Tense Conjugations of "To Be"

 
 
I had been
We had been
You had been
You had been
He had been
They had been

The Future Perfect Tense Conjugations of "To Be"

 
 
I shall have (been)
We shall have (been)
You will have (been)
You will have (been)
He will have (been)
They will have (been)

4. Adjective – descriptive words; refers to color, shape, size, or type

Types of Adjectives

Positive
Comparative
Superlative
Standard form
Compares two nouns (add -er)
Compares one noun to many others (add -est)
The = Definite article refers to one noun; A/An = Indefinite articles

5. Adverb – describes a verb or adverb; typically ends with –ly

Types of Adverbs

Positive
Comparative
Superlative
Standard form
The word "more" comes before the adverb
The word "most" comes before the adverb

6. Preposition – expresses a relationship of a noun to another word.

Examples of Prepositions

Common
Compound
At
Ahead of
Before
Because of
By
By way of
For
In reference to
In
Instead of
Of
Out of
During
Up to
For
 
On
 
Out
 
Over
 
To
 
With
 

7. Conjunction – connects words in a sentence

Examples of Conjunctions

 
 
 
and
as
because
before
but
if
or
nor
since
so that
than
though
unless
until
when
whenever
while
where

8. Interjection – a word or more than one word that expresses emotions

Source

Test Yourself: A Writing Question Checklist


  1. Are all sentences complete?
  2. Are all words spelled correctly?
  3. Is the verb tense consistent throughout the article?
  4. Are contradictions used properly?
  5. Are there run-on sentences or comma splices?
  6. Is the page well organized and easy to read?
  7. Are commas, colons, and semi-colons used properly?
  8. Are all quotations closed off?

McGraw-Hill's Proofreading Handbook

McGraw-Hill's Proofreading Handbook (NTC Reference)
McGraw-Hill's Proofreading Handbook (NTC Reference)

This book can help ensure that your documents are letter-perfect every time. It walks you step-by-step through the entire proofreading process and shows you how to read for accuracy, how to train your eyes to hunt for tiny errors, and how to use the tools of the trade. It offers valuable style sheets, proofreading checklists, a list of commonly misspelled words, and a chart of proofreading symbols.

 
Source

Use the Power of Punctuation to Wow Your Readers

a. The Importance of the Comma

Commas help readers understand your sentence and not puzzle over your meaning.


1. Between independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction (and, or, but, so, for, and yet):

"Working and going to school can be difficult, but it can be done."


2. To separate an introductory word, phrase, or clause:

"When you complete all of your degree requirements, you will be rewarded with a degree."


3. To set off a nonrestrictive word group (extra information):

Nonrestrictive: "College degrees, especially in the technical area, are helpful in finding good jobs."

Restrictive: "The degree adds credibility that was not previously there."


4. To set off a transitional, parenthetical, or contrasting expression; an absolute phrase; or a conjunctive adverb (however, therefore, consequently, etc.):

"Besides, the degree makes you more competitive in the job market."


5. To separate three or more items in a series:

"Preparing for a job interview requires networking, resume writing, and interviewing."


6. Between a complete direct quotation and the text identifying the speaker:

"I said, 'I will begin writing my resume immediately.'"


7. To set off a direct address or a mild interjection in dialogue:

“John, you need to start writing now.”


8. Between coordinate adjectives (modify a noun equally and independently):

Coordinate adjectives: "My resume is a long, informative document."

Non-coordinate adjective: "It shows that I want to be a high school English teacher."


9. To set off dates, numbers, addresses, and titles:

"I will start teaching on October 19, 2012, for the Valley Home Independent School District."


10. To prevent misreading:

“John, Tom Smith is starting school on the twenty-sixth.”


b. The Fun of Using a Semi-Colon

A semi-colon is an excellent tool to use to continue a thought process without losing the attention of the reader.


1. To separate independent clauses not joined by a coordinating conjunction:

"I spent an hour writing my lesson plan; I spent three hours revising it."


2. To replace commas at certain places if the sentence contains too many commas:

"The first step in teaching is preparing the lesson; the second step in teaching is conducting, evaluating, and re-teaching the lesson if necessary."

c. The Many Uses of the Colon

A colon can make reading fun and interesting by introducing new things, providing a neat-looking list, or organizing quotations.


1. To introduce a new idea:

“There is one thing you need to know about pies: they look and taste like heaven.”


2. To introduce a list:

“The soup contained easy ingredients: canned chili, tomato sauce, and pepper.”


3. To introduce quoted material:

My favorite quote from the play was sung on the piano: “My love is as full as the mountain is high.”

d. The Value of the Period

Periods are used to indicate the end of a sentence. Periods are also used in some abbreviations and numbers. Periods are valuable, because they indicate the end of a thought.

“This day is stressing me out.”

e. The Trickiness of the Apostrophe

An apostrophe can clear up the meaning of words. It is very helpful for readers so that they will understand what you are trying to say.


1. To use with contractions:

She is = She’s

I would = I’d


2. To show possession:

Karen’s apron is dirty.

Source

Be Smart: Learn the Right Way to Use Commonly Confused Words

The English language is easy when it comes to conjugations, but there are many words that are commonly confused. These are just a few examples of words that can be written wrong, confusing the reader as to the meaning of your words. Look up a word if you are unsure if you are using it right or not.

a. Who’s versus Whose

Who’s = who is

Whose = A possessive word meaning “belonging to”

b. It’s versus Its

It’s = It is

Its = A possessive word for an object, such as “its performance”

c. There, Their, or They’re

There = referring to a place

Their = this is the possessive word for “they”

They’re = They are

d. To, Too, or Two

To = a preposition illustrating a location

Too = another word for “also”

Two = the number after one

e. Whether versus Weather

Whether = a dependent conjunction

Weather = the noun referring to the atmosphere outside

f. Affect versus Effect

Affect = a verb that influences the nouns in the sentence

Effect = a verb illustrating the result or consequence

g. Accept versus Except

Accept = a verb that means approval

Except = a preposition that means the exclusion of something

h. Passed versus Past

Passed = the action word meaning physically went by some place

Past = the opposite of the present (time-wise)

i. Your versus You’re

Your = Possessive; “Your umbrella” or “Your sister”

You’re = You are

j. Cite, Site, or Sight

Cite = List the sources you used in your paper

Site = a location

Sight = The function your eyes have

Source

Be a Smooth Operator: Words to Help Your Writing Flow


The list below has many words that can be used to make smooth transitions between thoughts, points, ideas, topics, or other information. Use these words to put your points in the right order and keep your reader interested in what you have to say.

Transitions

Transitions help your writing flow. They specify the types of relationships between ideas and help your audience read with a clear understanding.

Examples of Transitions

Reason
Example
To Add
Again
To Prove
For
To Show Time
Soon
To Repeat
As I said
To Emphasize
Never
To Show and Example
Take the case of
To Summarize
Hence
To Show Exception
In spite of
To Show Order
Next
To Compare
Where

Addition Words

These words should be used when you have several points to make on one topic.

Examples of Addition Words

 
 
 
again
also
as well as
similarly
furthermore
in addition
likewise
next
too

Cause Words

These explain why you brought up the reason you brought up and why you need to state the next sentence or phrase. It completes a thought or idea.

Examples include:

  • Because
  • For this reason
  • Since


Chronological Words

Use these words to keep your writing organized by maintaining points in the order of importance. They also help readers follow your train of thought better.

Examples of Chronological Words

 
 
after
always
at last
before
finally
first
second
third
next
then
until
when

Become a golden writer. Give readers creative imagery by using similes and metaphors. An example of a simile is “She was sexy like a fox.” An example of a metaphor is “Her hair is silk.”

101 Ways to Impress With Your Writing

The Best Little Grammar Book Ever!: 101 Ways to Impress With Your Writing and Speaking
The Best Little Grammar Book Ever!: 101 Ways to Impress With Your Writing and Speaking

This book reviews in a well-organized fashion a comprehensive review of all grammar, capitalization, and punctuation. It explores common errors and contains a glossary of grammar terms.

 

Contrast Words

These words contrast two opposing thoughts or phrases.

Example of Contrast Words:

  • Although
  • But
  • Conversely
  • Despite
  • Even So
  • However
  • Nevertheless
  • On the contrary
  • On the other hand

Comparative Words

Use these words to discuss two similar forces. When writing a simile, the word “like” is used. For a metaphor, “as” is usually used. Similes and metaphors capture readers with the beautiful tapestry of your ideas displayed in your writing.

Examples of Comparative Words:

And, Both, Like, Similarly, Unlike, & Yet

Concluding Words

A conclusion usually needs an indicator word showing that you are summing things up. Besides the concluding paragraph, you may use it in the body of your writing to show a logical order and an even flow to your subject matter.

Example of Concluding Words:

  • Finally
  • Hence
  • So
  • Overall
  • Therefore
  • Thus
  • In Conclusion

Do you edit your writing?

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Effect Words

Effect words explain the result of your point.

  • As a Result
  • Consequently
  • For this Reason
  • Resulting
  • Therefore
  • Thus

Emphasis Words

These words allow the reader to clearly see the focus of the paragraph.

  • Above All
  • Especially
  • In Fact

Repetition Words

Sometimes, you must reiterate a word, phrase, or point in order to show its importance. I would recommend using repetition with caution. However, if you feel you need to remind your reader of an important point, you should use repetition words.

  • Again
  • As Stated Before
  • To Reiterate

Ways to Improve Your Online Writing

Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing (Quick & Dirty Tips)
Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing (Quick & Dirty Tips)

This book covers grammar rules and word choice guidelines that can confuse even the best writer. This book also offers tips on style, business writing, and effective emailing.

 

Space Words

These are movement words. They can indicate points in other areas of your article or emphasis points in your current paragraph. You may also want to include a space word to explain a physical area, space, or location.

  • Above
  • Adjacent to
  • Alongside
  • Among
  • Around
  • Below
  • Between
  • Beyond
  • Down
  • Forward
  • In front of
  • Next to
  • On top of
  • Over
  • Under

Source

Stay Out of Trouble: Preventing Common Grammar Problems


These problems can often cause writers to lose focus and credibility. Stay on track by staying on top of these items.

1. Run-on Sentences – when two independent clauses are joined together without punctuation or connecting words.

2. Comma Splices – when two independent clauses are joined together by only a comma.

3. Misplaced Modifiers – these are words, phrases, or clauses that do not clearly point to the word or words that they modify.

4. Misused Homophones – homophones are words that sound alike, but have different spellings and meanings.

Source


Make your writing the best it can be by using the English language in the right way. Proper grammar will also help your readers understand what you want to tell them. Edit carefully, and respect your readers’ time. Realize they are taking time to read your written word. Sloppy editing can cause readers to misunderstand what you have written, causing you to lose readership and credibility.


Basic English Grammar Lessons

38 Common Spelling and Grammar Errors

Common 6 Mistakes to Avoid

The Writing Process


Start out your writing in the best way by following these steps: (1) Planning, (2) Researching, and (3) Editing. The planning article will help you learn how to be more organized. Learn how to write in an improved manner by following the easy ideas in the planning article listed below.


Ensure proper research in order to entice your reader. You want your writing to be a page-turner. If you have hard core facts, figures, diagrams, charts, graphs, etc. you show that you have done your research on the topic. Being comprehensive in your subject matter will make your reader come back to your article again and again in order to reference it, because it has all of the information he or she needs.


Now that you have planned out and written your masterpiece, you need to make sure what you wrote can be understood by the reader. Regardless of your message or the amount of research you do, if you do not edit or check over what you write, you could be unfairly ignored. Think about it. If a reader begins to get drawn into your writing, but finds out that commas are missing or colons aren't used properly, he or she may not understand what you are trying to say.


If the wrong words are used, the reader may not know what you mean. In fact, often readers misunderstand what the writer is saying. This can make readers frustrated and cause them to stop reading, especially if they realize halfway through a story that they were thinking a character was someone he wasn't. In other words, choose your words wisely, and ensure that what you write makes sense.


Why is the APA Style of Writing Important?



Many websites require that you use the writing style of APA that you learned in school when referencing sources in your writing and when creating citations at the bottom of your writing. Therefore, it is crucial to learn the elements of this writing style.


I will admit that I had always written my papers in MLA style, so when I entered my Master's degree program and began writing on HubPages, I was required to learn the APA style. It seemed like a foreign language to me, but once I got it down, it was not so difficult. Learn the style so that you can properly cite sources in your writing, or if you are in school, get ahead by learning this style.



Disclaimer:


Pictures: The images provided in this article were provided by Michele Jones.

Videos: The videos provided in this article were found free on YouTube.

Editing: If you find any spelling or grammar mistakes in this article, please let me know, so that I may correct them for others.

HubPages: Feel free to ask me a direction question regarding this article in the comment section. If you found this article to be useful or interesting, please:

  • Rate it
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  • krbalram profile image

    rahul 4 years ago from Bangalore

    misslong123,your tips of improving grammer is quite practical.I will like to apply this in my hubs.I will like to share and vote it up.Thanks

  • Austinstar profile image

    Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Whoa! You have pretty much covered all of the basics. I'll have to bookmark as a reference. Voted up and sharing.

  • misslong123 profile image
    Author

    Michele Kelsey 3 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

    Thank you! :)

  • misslong123 profile image
    Author

    Michele Kelsey 3 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

    You are more than welcome to share this hub if u think it may help someone. Thanks for voting up! :-) Michele

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Oh my goodness. I think you pretty much covered every single rule of grammar in this hub. Well done, Michele. Whew! I'm exhausted reading this. LOL Seriously, thank you for linking to mine and an excellent source of information here.

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

    I'm also bookmarking this hub. It contains very useful information and back links to even more information. Now, I'm ready for a nap. I feel as if I just repeated all of grade school in 15 minutes time!

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

    This is basic english 101 and so useful for writers. It refreshed my grammar skills! Excellent post.,

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

    Sorry misslong, but you asked!

    As it’s said on one of my favorite movies, Pirates of the Caribbean, “…it's more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.”

    This should read, "as it's said in one of my favorite movies..."

  • misslong123 profile image
    Author

    Michele Kelsey 3 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

    Thanks Bill. I got carried away when I did my edit on this hub and really wanted to cover several aspects of the English language that you cannot easily find elsewhere. I hope it helps some writers out there!

  • misslong123 profile image
    Author

    Michele Kelsey 3 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

    Sorry it was so exhausting! I am glad you found it useful though! I hope you refer to it if you find it helpful. Thank you for the read! :)

  • misslong123 profile image
    Author

    Michele Kelsey 3 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

    I am honored to have that comment from you given that I assume you are a teacher! Thank you for stopping by and reading my article!

  • misslong123 profile image
    Author

    Michele Kelsey 3 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

    Thank you for reading so closely! It shows you were paying attention! lol. Plus, I appreciate the help greatly! I fixed the error. Muchos Gracias! :)

  • GreenPrince profile image

    Prince Edike 3 years ago from Philippines

    You have just created a full semester class on English grammar for everyone. Well done misslong123.

  • misslong123 profile image
    Author

    Michele Kelsey 3 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

    Thank you. I'm thinking about splitting this in two so it isn't so overwhelming. I don't know yet. :)

  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

    I found this hub to be a very complete review of grammar school English. For that matter, it brought back a lot of memories of things I've learned. I especially like your list of space words. They are very useful with helping the reader visualize the physical area being described, as well as its surroundings.

    You're right about the way authority is presented with one's proper use of grammar. I stop reading articles sometimes when I find too many mistakes that display signs of an uneducated author, such as spelling a lot as one word and not knowing proper use of conjugations. If they don't appreciate that they will lose readers, then why should I bother to read any further. That's how I feel when I see these mistakes. That shows me that the author doesn't care.

    Your hub is definitely a great resource for one to come back to as a reference.

  • misslong123 profile image
    Author

    Michele Kelsey 2 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

    Thank you! I feel the same way. I feel like an author is not respecting my time if they are making me struggle to figure out what they are trying to really say due to incorrect spelling and/or grammar. I also struggle to find them experts or even knowledgeable about whatever I am reading if they can't even write correctly. I question their advice. I'm glad you found this useful! :)

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