Some famous authors admit they aren’t great at the nuts and bolts of grammar. It’s not uncommon to be able to capture a mood, convey emotion, and paint a mental picture for readers, but stumble over comma usage and sentence structure. For those of us who can’t remember the endless rules of grammar from secondary school, there are guides that help.
The Elements of Style (Strunk and White)
This is the gold standard of grammar guides, relied on by everyone from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists to novelists and graduate students. If you want a reference book at your fingertips, this is the one to buy. Quickly find grammar rules, frequently misused or misspelled words, and sentence structure tips. The Elements of Style is a detailed guide that is required reading at many universities.
Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation (Lynne Truss)
Grammar isn’t entertaining unless you’re reading Truss’s delightful little book about punctuation and spelling. She turns a dry subject into an amusing riff on the how, when, and why of proper punctuation. It also offers tips for easy ways to remember rules of punctuation and apply them properly.
Grammarly.com offers one of the most accurate and exhaustive programs for reviewing any written work and offering suggestions for correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure. You can use the website or download the app, which is usable across various electronic devices. The first time you upload your writing, you may be discouraged when Grammarly tells you how many errors need fixing, but the offered suggestions are usually spot-on. The site also provides an analysis of your most common writing errors and tips for better structure. It’s almost like having a kind English teacher by your side.
This blog by professional writers is a wealth of quick tips and longer lessons on all things grammar. You’ll also discover articles on ways to address common writing errors such as clichés. Videos, articles, and quizzes are a pleasant way to polish your grammar skills. The site also offers an editor tool similar to Grammarly, although not as detailed in scope.
If you visit Grammar Girl’s website, you’ll find dozens of articles on a wide range of grammar topics, all written with a bit of sass. Not sure whether to use either or neither? Concerned about proper paragraph length? Concise articles educate with humor. If you love the history of language and obscure tidbits about popular phrases, Grammar Girl has lots to offer. You easily get lost in the wealth of information in both her articles and podcasts.
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