If you are having trouble with grammar, don’t worry—you’re not alone. The reality is that most people don’t use perfect grammar in their everyday lives.
Whether you’re talking with friends online or watching a TV show, you are constantly surrounded by casual language. And it becomes tempting to use this sort of English in papers and reports for school. Doing this often results in disastrous grades and a lot of red pen. If you want to keep your teacher from visiting the office supply store every time you hand in a paper, follow these tips to use grammar properly.
Relax! It may sound simple, but people often make grammar mistakes because they second-guess their own writing. It is important to have confidence in your writing ability and not change something to make it sound more educated or intelligent. Just let the writing flow and don’t try to write in an unnatural way.
Develop your own voice. When writing a paper or report, people have a tendency to not read what they are writing.
Ever gotten to the end of a sentence and forgotten what you were trying to write? To avoid this, make sure to read as you write. Over time you will develop an ear for how the writing should sound. When something sounds unnatural or confusing, stop and track down where the mistake occurred.
This especially helps with punctuation that has to do with timing, such as commas and periods. If you read aloud to yourself while you write, you will have a better idea as to where you should pause and place those pesky commas.
Even if you feel self-conscious, do it—nothing makes a bigger difference to your writing than hearing how it actually sounds.
Keep an arsenal of test sentences. Never go to battle with your paper without a few example sentences in your back pocket. You’d be amazed how far one grammatical example can go.
If your teacher keeps marking the same mistakes on paper after paper, look up the proper grammar rule and memorize a sentence that uses the rule. It may sound painful, but once you have that sentence ingrained in your memory you’ll be sure to avoid the much more excruciating red pen. (Picking an example sentence that is amusing makes it much easier to remember!)
You are what you read. Read articles that require professional editing. Newspapers and magazines are a good place to start. Watch for certain grammatical features in the articles and incorporate them into your own writing.
Grammar goes a long way when it comes to communicating a point. Although it may be a pain to remember all the rules, it pays to have them under your belt when it’s time for a job interview or that first college paper. First impressions are important, and your first written one should show you have the tools for the job.
Share some of your tips for remembering the rules of grammar.