Much like putting the right ingredients in the right amount to produce a mouthwatering soup, a captivating blog post needs several key elements to work in perfect harmony. You need accurate information, influential sources, a seamless flow, a sturdy structure and good grammar. Unfortunately, most writers tend to ignore grammar and focus all their energies on research and flow.
Grammar is what separates a good writer from a successful one. Because a successful writer knows that misplacing a single comma can change the entire meaning of a sentence, and sometimes it can alter the meaning of your content piece.
Inaccurate information and incorrect grammar are the two reasons why people stop reading your article. So why not brush up on your grammar? You want people to concentrate on what you’re saying not how you’re saying it, right?
There are countless grammar tips for writers in 2018. So we’ve handpicked a few important ones. Use them as a checklist while proofreading and editing your article or occasionally refresh your grammar skills by reading them:
Its vs. It’s
“Its” is a possessive indicating something belongs to someone while “It’s” is a short form of “it is.” It’s a common mistake authors, bloggers and journalists make.
Example: It’s (it is) raining outside.
The dog was chasing its tail.
As a general rule of thumb, numbers from one to nine should be written in alphabetical form and numbers 10 and above should be written in their numeral form.
Example: Mary has four roosters in her backyard.
John received 23 marks out of 25 on his math exam.
Passive vs. Active Voice
You know what makes a blog boring, lifeless and weak? Passive voice. Myriad writers tips always emphasize the importance of using active rather than passive voice. What is a passive voice? A sentence is written in passive voice when the object is put at the beginning of the sentence. The action (or verb) is more important than the person performing it.
In comparison, a sentence is written in active voice when the person performing the action is placed at the beginning of the sentence. The subject is more important than the verb or what he or she is doing.
It’s a little difficult to understand but hopefully, the below example will help.
Example: The letter was e-mailed by Mary.
Mary e-mailed the letter.
See? The first sentence sounds weak but the second one has more of a punch to it. If you’re still confused about the two, Grammar Girl explains it well here.
I’m betting you’ve seen this grammatical error lots of times in blogs and advertisements but never knew what it was called. This blunder occurs when a writer fails to explain comparisons between two objects or people.
Example: This cat breed is more docile.
More docile than what? A dog? Another cat breed? A better sentence would be:
This cat breed is more docile than a Ragdoll.
Chalk this down as one of the best tips for writers in 2018.
Your vs. You’re
Remember that episode of Friends where Ross told Rachel the difference between your and you’re. Your refers to something someone owns while you’re is a contraction of “you are.”
Example: Your books are heavy.
You’re (you are) a very kind person.
Using words incorrectly
English can be a confusing language for many people. Some words sound the same but have completely different meanings. For example, except excludes something or someone from a group or category while accept means believing something or a proposition to be correct. But, honestly, they both sound the same.
Pay attention to these similar-sounding words while proofreading your article. Other words that can easily be interchanged if you’re not paying attention while writing include they’re and their, affect and effect, to and too, a lot and allot, chose and choose, lose and loose, assure and insure, farther and further and breathe and breath.
If you’re confused about which similar-sounding word to use in a sentence, quickly Google both the words and understand their meanings.
All writers tips online stress the importance of using commas correctly. Putting a comma where it shouldn’t be or not putting one at all can change the entire meaning of a sentence.
Commas should be used to:
Separate elements in a series
Separate independent clauses
Examples: She packed apples, oranges, and bananas for the road trip.
Even though Mary achieved her goals in life, she felt something was missing.
En Dash and Em Dash
En dash (-) and em dash (–) look extremely similar by they’re used differently. While the en dash is used to connect values in a range or values that are related to one another, the em dash is used to separate phrases or give someone credit for a quote.
Example: It will take 20-25 (en dash) minutes for her to reach the station.
There are two reasons why people are choosing to watch movies online over going to a theatre – convenience and easy access.
“If you want to see the true measure of a man, watch how he treats his inferiors, not equals”—JK Rowling.
Final Words of Wisdom
You don’t have to be a grammar expert to be a good writer. All you need is the basic understanding of grammar rules to become a be an excellent writer. Editors are usually the ones that hire writers and if they spot errors in your otherwise well-written, creative and thought-provoking blog piece, they’ll search for other accurate, grammatically correct scribes.
Use the above writers tips as a springboard to craft meticulous and factually faultless content. But always aim to improve yourself. Let’s be honest: We can all develop better writing skills.
Interested in learning how to producing flawless content? Iris Content is always looking for storytellers that have a way with words.