As an author, or an architect who uses words, it’s important for you to know basic rules of grammar and to continue increasing your current skills. Even if a first draft of your book is rough, you should be able to clean up punctuation, spelling, capitalization, and sentence structure issues in a subsequent rewrite. This should happen before you send your manuscript to an editor, so they can focus on other issues you missed (because it’s not possible for one person to find every typo and error). So how can you improve your grammar skills? Here are some ideas.
Take a Class
If you don’t have formal training on grammar (and really, high school doesn’t count unless you were in a high-level honors program), a class is the fastest way to gain skills. You likely have a community college near year that offers a grammar class you can take for a small fee. Classes involve studying, finishing assignments, and receiving feedback, all of which will quickly improve your grammar skills.
Study Grammar Books
You could take a few minutes each day studying a grammar book. The best way to learn is to study, and then practice what you studied. So you might read about a grammar concept on the first day of the week, and then write practice sentences and watch out for that certain grammar issue in your and other people’s writing for the rest of the week. The Chicago Manual of Style, while it is a dry read, offers a myriad of mini grammar lessons with helpful examples. The Copyeditor’s Handbook is another grammar book I love.
Read Grammar Blogs
There are a log of grammar blogs out there that are written in a more conversational tone. These sites may only cover common grammar issues, which is helpful if you don’t know what you don’t know, so to say. Again, focusing on one grammar topic at a time and practicing it until you’ve mastered it is the best way to internalize grammar lessons. We have a lot of grammar blog posts on Book Cave, if you want to check them out. Other grammar sites include Grammar Girl (a grammar reference), Daily Grammar (where you can complete daily grammar challenges), and GrammarBook (where you can view grammar rules and take some grammar quizzes).
Read Your Writing Out Loud
A lot of grammar rules may actually come to you intuitively, and you’ll catch a lot of grammar errors simply by reading your writing out loud. By doing this regularly, you’ll become better at seeing and fixing grammar mistakes in your own writing.
What have you done to improve your grammar skills? We'd love to hear in the comments below!
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