Grammar

Ways to brush up on your grammar

Studying in school is not enough when it comes to learning grammar and language for that matter. After all, those technical terms on verbs, nouns, pronouns and conjunctions can be pretty confusing when you take them all in. Not to mention all those rules on verbs. When do you exactly put an S and an ES. When do you use the words HAVE or HAD. Why would you use the PAST and not the PAST PARTICIPLE. Honestly, the rules can give you a headache.

But there are other ways to learn the language without really going through all the rules. Like language, you need to use it in order to learn it. The same with grammar, you have got to use it. This means constant exposure on the language. You need to live, breathe and work with the language in order to master it. For though you will not necessarily memorize anything while reading or speaking, your mind will remember the structure and thus, books will be purely instinctual. And unlike learning a language for the first time, you already have the basic foundation and thus, you can already easily grasp the rules.

Here are some of the easy ways that you can brush up on your grammar.

1. Read.
This is the most basic thing that you can do to brush up on your grammar. Reading allows you to expose yourself to the language in a leisurely way. Thus, you can relax while you are learning. Although reading a book will not really give you a technical lesson on grammar, constantly reading will allow you to discover the various ways that words can be weaved and used. You will also be exposed to the various word forms and sentence forms. As an added bonus, you will also be able to learn a few more words that you can add to your vocabulary, something which you need to be able to write effectively.

2. Write
Practice makes perfect. As clichéd as it sounds, it is true that when you constantly do something, you hone your craft. Writing and grammar can be developed with constant doing and revising. Do not be afraid to write because your grammar is not perfect. Even the best editors in the world also commit mistakes when they were young and like you, they worked on their grammar by constant practice.

3. Consult
Criticism is not a bad thing. In fact, when taken the right way, criticism can help you brush up on your grammar. If you want to learn, ask people that you respect in terms of grammar to read your work and give their advice on them. Make sure that they explain why they have said such criticisms and learn from their words. By constantly having your work critiqued, you will learn your usual mistakes and be able to correct them in the long run. Even the best editors in the country also edit their own work and have people also edit their own work.
Grammar should not be something that we should be afraid of. With constant practice and effort, one can also learn how to write well and write the right way. One just needs to have the commitment and the drive for excellence.

Ways that you can brush up on your grammar

Grammar has never become more important to people than now. Because of the Internet revolution, more and more people are coming out with personal blogs and websites. And on these sites, they write their thoughts, feelings and opinions. The rise of these blogs have made people writers and more importantly readers, a practice that people have lost in recent decades because of the rise of the television and other forms of media.

But with these revolution on the internet, there comes a bigger responsibility: to stay true to the rules of formal writing and grammar. Many English experts, language experts for that matter have lamented on the degradation of the language because of the lack of training and skills of some bloggers. Also, because of how fast communication is being exchanged thru text messaging, chatting and message boards, people are writing in shortcut.

For instance, most people have used words that are spelled as they are pronounced. Never mind the double Ds and the silent Hs. Some even type without the vowels in them to make typing and writing fast. There is also that business about acronyms being used in chat rooms like OMG and GTG. Although these are quite common and in some way understandable, we are forgetting that writing still is something that all people should be able to understand and not just a handful of people who are part of the new generation.

Brushing up on your grammar is actually not that hard especially with the English as your native language. It is far easy for you to learn the rules than say people who are just starting to learn the language. With you, all you need to do is adhere to the rules and everything will come naturally. After all, language and grammar is basically instinctual. When you are exposed to the language, it will just come to you when you write or speak.

Below are two of the ways that you can brush up on your grammar and improve your writing skills.

1. Read
This is perhaps the best way to improve one’s writing skills. All writers are readers. They use not only the information that they get from the books that they read but they also utilize the words that they encounter into their stories and write-ups. One can even pick up neat phrases and idiomatic expressions that people often use. Also, reading exposes you to the language. With constant reading, you will be more comfortable in using the language. When you write, the words will just flow through you.

2. Write
Practice, practice, Practice. That’s the name of the game if you want to improve your skills as a writer. Don’t be afraid to make an article. Once you have finished your first, the rest will be easy. If you have already been writing and just wants to improve your grammar, just write and article as best as you could and ask someone who is an expert in English to edit it for you. But don’t just let them edit without asking why. The best way to learn the language is to do it yourself and learn from your mistakes. Ask why one part is edited and the other is not. This way, you can learn the rules of grammar as you go along.

The current state of grammar

Rules change. And the rules of grammar are not impervious to these changes. In fact, the language is constantly changing that some of the rules that were being enforced before are no longer applicable today. There are also words now that have been added to dictionaries that are not used before the same way that there are archaic words that have been deleted from the dictionary because they are not being used anymore.

But with the birth of the internet, words and language have gone into a major change. This is because more and more people are already using the language and most of these people do not know anything about the rules in grammar. They write as they talk and as most editors will tell you, the way we talk is a lot different from the formal rules of writing. In blogs right now, people use language without rules. Some blogs feature grammar that is so atrocious, language professors and grammar experts are lamenting on the degradation of the language. And the worst thing about this situation is the fact that people don’t care. They don’t care how it is written as long as the actual content of the article is interesting. Some are even criticizing these blogs, thay this is the start of a different kind of language, which does not follow any rules.

Some people however feel these blogs will further the field of language because people have become readers once again. What televisions have done to us, the internet is doing now. Because of television, only few people read. They get their news on TV as opposed to reading it from the newspaper. However, with the internet, people are starting to read their stuff from the internet because it is faster. And with people reading more now, some people feel that language will benefit greatly.

But this can only happen if what they are reading is the correct form. The problem is that although people are becoming readers through the internet, what they are reading are not necessarily right and subscriber of the rules of grammar. This can lead to the birth of a new language and new grammar rules. Spellings are even given different forms. Because of how fast information are being transferred now, spellings of words are written in contracted forms with vowels missing. Words are often spelled according to the way it is pronounced.

Experts believe that it is important now to teach bloggers the rules of grammar as they will be the next proponents of the language. They are the ones being widely read right now and it is vital that they set a good example for the young on the rules of language. This is why people are starting to also post grammar rules on the internet to cater to this market. These grammar sites are being administered by people who are also experts in their own rights in the language. Some dictionary sites are also adding pages on grammar and the rules of the language. This helps people who want to check on their grammar instantly and to also look at some of the rules that they should be following. Usually, people have problems on their verbs and their prepositions. You will find a lot of websites dedicated to these subjects.

Practical Reasons Why Proper Grammar Should be Observed

Many people are wondering why many others are very particular about grammar and usage. During this age when the Internet is proliferating, many online users are assuming that it is enough for any message to be understood, especially the written pieces. This could be true in the case of instant messaging exchanges and communication. In the use of short messaging services, poor grammar could be excused because people might just be exhausted of pressing keypads. Many texters also make shortcuts for speed of typing words.

Be informed that it is still not considered acceptable to run improper grammar in public writing arenas like blogs or business Websites. There are many practical reasons for this. The most pressing and compelling of those are described below.

First, poor grammar could be taken as a sign of many other problems. Suppose you are onboard an airplane. During the flight, you experience poor service from one of the flight attendants. You surely and logically would extrapolate that the plane’s engineers might also not be properly maintaining the entire aircraft either. Analogize that to proper grammar use. This kind of inductive reasoning is very well applicable to use of correct grammar.

If there are errors in grammar in your communication pieces, especially professional correspondences, you would lead your business contacts to thinking less about your ability and capability to perform many other tasks and responsibilities as well. If you would be careless in using incorrect plural forms, expect that other people may instantly think you have bad or sloppy practices in quality assurance, unacceptable customer relations, and poor product building.

Second, poor grammar could alter your command of professionalism and respect. It is just too hard for many people to accord high respect to a high-ranking executive or business official who could not even come up with a grammatically correct sentence. This disability could display lack of prestige and lack of education at the same time.

There is a need for you to be able to respect yourself first. However, experts assert that before you are able to do so, you must learn to command others’ respect first. You would not be able to get that exact kind of respect if your correspondence is obviously sprinkled with grammatical errors. At stake is your reputation. Particularly, professional business correspondences should be impeccable. Business blogs should take this call.

There is always a need to speak well and write well to be able to acquire respect and admiration of people. Many listeners and readers count the message as most important, but the way the same message is sent or communicated also matters. It is never too late to strive to improve your grammar capability. If you have missed out on many of your Language lessons when you were a student, it is time you re-learn the basics.

When speaking and writing, always choose your words very carefully. Be sure to be always mindful of even those little nagging and disturbing grammar problems. You may realize that doing so is like preventing the presence of a small chip on a mug. In restaurants and coffee shops, even the smallest chips on mugs could effectively tarnish the business’ entire image and credibility. Do not let that happen to you and to your business.

Practical Reasons for Learning Correct Grammar

Not known to many, proper grammar and usage is very essential for effective communication. Many skeptics would argue that people would surely understand the message even if the usage is erratic. In truth, it could be. But it takes a knowledgeable, decent, and wise person to make sure his words are grammatically correct when conveying messages. It could indicate so much about the overall education and bearing of any person.

Practically, it is also observed that improper use of simple grammar like subject-verb agreement could possibly bring about misunderstandings. Anyone could truly be difficult to understand and could bring across the message wrongly if there are grammatical errors in words and sentences. In worst cases, exact messages could also be altered or lost. No one would want to secure poor perception from other people due to improper grammar and usage.

Perception – A person who uses grammar correctly could be perceived by other people as a person of great knowledge and education. It is just reasonable that use of improper grammar could develop a perception that he is uneducated or he is not well-read. In reality, most people are not judgmental, but it is just natural for anyone to make sure he gets good perception from everyone.

Miscommunication – You always have to make sure your message is received by its recipient in its proper and accurate context. Use proper grammar to do so. Some people are laughing out at compositions that are not grammatically correct. Worse, many others just simply ignore messages that are beaming with poor grammar.

Job opportunities – These days, most employers are particular about job candidates’ speaking and writing fluency. Most of them are hinging on job applicants’ ability to send messages across accurately, without altering messages. Good communication is also essential to all job activities. Thus, good grammar is always counted. It may not be directly stated in a job post, but it sure matters.

Offensive – Some people take improper or poor grammar as offensive. This is particularly true in the case of people who speak in slang language. More often, messages sent in poor grammar construction are ignored by recipients.

Business – Needless to say, marketing materials with poor grammar could possibly result to loss of prospective sales. Customers usually do not buy products from any manufacturer that obviously does not even care to sell itself and its goods properly. Again, use of improper grammar is considered offensive by many consumers.

Readability – As mentioned, the readability of any material could be altered or affected by poor grammar. Many people are already aware that grammar and usage could greatly affect messages. For example, improper use of subject-verb agreement in sentences could lead to confusion about the number of subjects involved.

Seriousness – There could be a tone of seriousness in compositions that are written in a way that they are grammatically correct. Some people could not help but laugh at grammatical errors. It might spoil the overall tone and intended impact of your communication.

Respect – Most people who could use proper and correct grammar are often enjoying respect from others. This could still be attributed to the right perception of people. Those who could always come out with grammatically correct compositions could be considered as people who take time to make sure there is always quality in outputs and communication.

Improper Grammar and Other Problems Editors Do Not Want to See in Manuscripts

When reading an important manuscript, every discerning editor should always take note of the usual errors and problems that may be spread in the entire composition. Some editors instantly return the copies for revising after discovering screaming grammar errors and content distortions in the initial pages. Most writers get too occupied that they overlook poor grammar and usage, misspellings, typographical errors, improper punctuation, and other problems.

Most copies and manuscripts are not approved for publishing after submission. Editors require revisions to make sure the compositions are impeccable and are perfect. Many writers strive to lessen possible problems for revisions.

Poor grammar is the top problem writers and editors have. Every sentence should be grammatically correct so that the message would be sent across more effectively. Most editors are strict when it comes to grammar because they assume that all writers are already very adept and careful when it comes to such. No editor would ever let poor grammar go without correction. There is an exception to this. If the improper grammar is within a character dialogue or within exact words of quoted persons, then, it should be written as it is.

Here are some others of the most usual problems editors take note that prompt them to seek revision or worse, totally reject a copy.

Redundancy mirrors coherence and consciousness of the writer. No reader would be appreciative of a copy that is full of redundant ideas. The space should be used wisely and efficiently. Repeating of ideas should be avoided, unless there is a strong emphasis. Redundancy could also be observed in improper use of words. Examples are: repeat again, period of time, refer back, past experience, free gift, and the likes.

Improper paragraphing occurs when paragraphs are either too long or are improperly separated. As rule of thumb, make sure there is only one idea tackled in a single paragraph. Good ones are also almost always about three sentences long. Ten sentences in a paragraph may be uneasy to the eyes and to the idea.

Erroneous facts are considered mortal sins when writing. Proper and adequate care should be accorded when including important information and facts in the composition. Accuracy always matters. Any writer should make sure data are well researched so that readers would not be misled. It is the responsibility of editors to make sure such errors would not happen, but it is also more of the responsibility for any writer to make sure erroneous facts are avoided.

Punctuation errors are as grievous as grammar mistakes. This is because punctuations play a critical role in readers’ comprehension and smooth reading. There should be no jerky stops and starts. Writers are expected to have already mastered the use of periods, questions marks, commas, exclamation points, and even apostrophes. There are many other punctuation marks that are involved. But experts advise writers to stay away, as much as possible, from parentheses, colons, and dashes, if they aim to significantly avoid possible mistakes.

How to brush up on your grammar

With blogs being created left and right, people are becoming their own newspaper editors and writers. Some grammar experts however are lamenting on how the English language have taken a beating because of what is happening. You see, with blogs becoming more popular, people are slowly able to accept bad grammar as something that they can live with.
But this should not be because grammar is a standard that all should subscribe to. We need to be able to express ourselves within the rules. Otherwise, we would not be able to pass on anything to our children or to the next generation.

Grammar is actually easy. When you really study it, you’ll realize that it is actually quite easy. Here are some of the most basic rules in grammar.

1. Singular and Plural verbs
The most basic verb forms can be added with an S or not. A singular verb takes on a verb with s. When you say singular meaning the doer or the subject of the verb is only one. For example, Sheila dances to the tune of Macarena. The subject here is Sheila. She’s only one. Thus, the verb dance has an S on it. Another example is The stuffed toy sits comfortably on top of the stool. Again the stuffed toy is singular. Thus the verb is written with S.

Plural verbs on the other hand should take on verbs without an s. Plural verbs are those with doers or subjects that are more than one. For example, Sheila and Elysse dance to the tune of Macarena. There are two nouns or subjects here, Sheila and Elysse. Thus, you should be using a verb without an S.

2. The use of IS and ARE

The verbs IS and ARE can be used in two ways: As verbs that can stand on its own and as linking verbs, which takes on the form IS/ARE + Verb with ING. The verb IS should be used with singular subjects and nouns while ARE should be used with plural subjects and nouns, for both the basic form and the linking verb form. An example of a linking verb form is: IS DANCING. Another is: ARE SITTING. Linking verbs are used to denote a verb or situation that is happening in the present as it is being observed especially when it is being compared to another event or situation.

For example, Sheila is dancing to the tune of Macarena while waiting for the instructor. Notice the use of the verb IS. On the other hand, when the sentence is this: Sheila and Elysse are dancing to the tune of Macarena while waiting for the instructor. Notice the use of the verb ARE. For the basic form, we look at this example: The stuffed toy is sitting comfortably on the stool for days now. Notice the use of the singular verb IS. Another example is this: The stuffed toys (a plural subject) are sitting comfortably on the stool for days now.

These are actually the most basic grammar rules and sometimes, things can get complicated when you encounter some other words like non-countable nouns. But as they always say, we only need to study to be able to learn. Grammar is very important as we will be showing the sophistication of our people through the language that we use.

Grammar Without Tears

Many a school child had shed buckets of tears during grammar classes all throughout history, and not just in one country or in one language. Grammar, it seems, is such a difficult and strict subject worthy of tears and pain (from teacher’s stick). Here now is our take on grammar – without tears.

First, the not-so formal definition of grammar.

Grammar is a field of linguistics that involves all the various things that make up the rules of language. Subfields of linguistics that are considered a part of grammar include syntax, phonetics, morphology, and semantics.

Grammar is also used as a term to refer to the prescriptive rules of a given language, which may change over time or be open to debate.

Again, from a layman’s point of view, most people think of grammar as simply a matter of arbitrary pronouncements, like defining « good » or « bad » language. Samples would be the word « ain’t » and such declarations as « Never end a sentence with a preposition. »

Linguists do not subscribe to this dictatorship, nor are they interested. They believe that grammar is simply the collection of principles defining how to put together such things as a sentence.

Once in a while, there are declarations that such-and-such a language does not have grammar. However, that is far from the truth.

Every language on earth has restrictions on how words must be put together to construct a sentence. These restrictions are the principles of syntax, and every language has one.

For instance, every language has rules in constructing sentences that asks questions needing a yes or a no, like « Can you hear me? » Or questions that invites other answers, « What did you see? » Other sentences express commands « Drink the water. » Or sentences that declares or makes assertions. « Whales eat plankton. »

In formal terms this time, the syntactic principles of a language sometimes insist on some order of words or may allow other choices.

In English, for instance, sentences must have swords in the order of subject-verb-object. In « Whales eat plankton, » whales is the subject, eat is the verb and the object is « plankton. »

In Japanese, sentences allow the words to be in several possible orders. Of course, the normal sequence is subject-object-verb. In the Irish language, the order is verb-subject-object.

You may have noted that even if the language allows several orders of the phrases in the sentence, there is still a system that regulates the choice.

Not only do languages have syntax, there are also similar principles of syntax found all over in many languages in the world. English, Swahili, and Thai have similar word orders, even if they are totally unrelated in any way. Sentences in Maori, Irish, Masai, and ancient Egyptian are remarkably similar, too.

Another aspect of grammar where languages differ more radically is morphology, the principle that governs the structure of words. For instance, the English word « undeniability » which is a complex noun from the adjective « undeniable » which came from the adjective « deniable » and formed from the verb « deny. »

German and Eskimo languages permit more complex word-building than English. Others like the Chinese and Vietnamese do not.

In another language aspect, English have different pronouns for use as Object or Subject in a sentence (they or them). In Chinese, there is no variation of shapes of words.

In any case, we have just skimmed through some grammar lessons in our grammar without tears. Is anyone crying yet?

Grammar – A Short Run-Through

What is grammar? Is it different from semantics? Or is it the same as linguistics? This short run-through on grammar and some of the details will walk you through some important but unfamiliar terms, names, and other items related to grammar and linguistics.

Grammar is actually a branch of linguistics dealing with the form and structure of words (called morphology) and their inter-relations in sentences (called syntax). The study of grammar reveals how language works.

Kinds of Grammar

There are two kinds of common categories of grammar: descriptive and prescriptive. Both of these are in wide use, although linguists tend towards a descriptive approach to grammar.

Those who are teaching English tend to go for the more prescriptive approach. Usually, however, there is a bit of give and take in both approaches.

Descriptive

A descriptive grammar looks at the grammar of any language (or dialect for that matter) as it actually exists. A sentence is judged grammatical based on the rules of the speech group in which it is spoken, and not from the arbitrary set of rules.

An example « He done got thrown off the horse » would be grammatical and it can be defended with an entire set of rules of grammar that would explain why that sentence is indeed grammatical. Other versions of the sentence might also be judged grammatical in other communities, and with only a version « He was thrown off of the horse » considered acceptable by all.

Prescriptive Grammar

On the other hand, a prescriptive grammar looks at the norms of speech as given by authoritative sources (upper-class groups or the academics) and creates strict rules by which all speech within that language must abide to be considered grammatical.

Nowadays, only a few linguists would take a prescriptive approach to grammar in the modern age. They prefer to describe language as it exists in a given speech community.

However, many teachers, grammarians, and pedagogues in general still have a prescriptive approach towards grammar. They hold to standardized rules as being the only proper way to speak the language.

Prescriptive grammar is used in teaching a language to non-native speakers. When teaching English, for example, it is deemed important to use a « standard » form of English as some form of basis to teach from. It had been declared that these also help reduce confusion among students.

Once the language has been acquired, of course, a less-prescriptive approach will necessarily take over. Today, the movies and television, plus some books are the places where non-native speakers learn the regional rules of the sample English language. Some of the rules may not conform then to the prescriptive grammar the student originally learned the English from.

There are other approaches to the study of grammar aside from the prescriptive and the descriptive kinds. They are the historical, comparative and functional kinds, too. They usually focus on word building and word order, concerned mainly with the structure of the language.

These types are also distinct from phonology (the linguistic study of sound) and semantics (the linguistic study of meaning or content).

The American linguistic scholar Noah Chomsky approached grammar as a theory of language. Language here means the knowledge that men have that allow them to acquire a language.

The man on the streets would argue that grammar is how one person uses a set of rules of any language to communicate to another. So far, this short run-through of grammar has not as yet ascertained which set of rules to follow: that of the prescriptivists or the descriptivists?

Five Common Grammar Errors in Blogs

Blogging, like good copywriting, should always be in a conversational style. There is a need to be personal and to communicate as if the blogger is addressing a close friend. This does not mean grammar errors would be excused and neglected. Many blogs fail to attain and secure the credibility they aim due to the writers’ inability to avoid and correct common grammatical pitfalls.

It is obvious that many bloggers routinely end many sentences with prepositions, improperly use punctuation marks, or dangle modifiers inappropriately. Such grammar and usage mistakes often detract credibility. If you want more people to link or subscribe to your blog, prevent these five common and dumb mistakes in writing.

First, be mindful of the use of ‘your’ and ‘you’re.’ Remember that ‘your’ is strictly a possessive pronoun, whereas ‘you’re’ is just a contraction of ‘you are.’ You should not say ‘Your a beautiful person,’ or ‘I want to see you’re pet.’ Many bloggers overlook this. The result, many readers are offended as they think bloggers take them as dumb people. Many blogs also fail to command respect and credibility because of the constant appearance of this problem.

Second, avoid being troubled by the use of ‘it’s’ and ‘its.’ To avoid this common mistake, think through the message you intend to say. ‘It’s’ is a strict contraction of ‘it is’ or ‘it has’ so use it as such. On the other hand, ‘its’ is a mere possessive pronoun (third person). To help you prevent this mistake, read aloud your sentence and use ‘it is’ to replace ‘it’s’ or ‘its.’ Doing so could help you identify the presence of the problem in your copy.

Third, do not use ‘there’ instead of ‘their.’ Both are pronouns, but they are of different uses, though they may sound the same. ‘There’ should be used as a reference (as in ‘Put the book there.’) and as a pronoun (as in ‘There is the object of your desire.’) ‘Their’ is the plural form of possessive pronoun (third person). You say ‘Their class was suspended,’ instead of ‘There class was suspended.’ This could be very simple, but amazingly, many blogs frequently commit the same mistake.

Fourth, observe the proper use of ‘affect’ and ‘effect.’ This could be a little confusing so it is not surprising that many bloggers are caught in the web of trouble. Take a moment to re-consider your sentence to make sure you are using the words appropriately and correctly. ‘Affect’ is used as a verb, while ‘effect’ is its noun form. To illustrate: ‘The power interruption would affect the flow of the meeting.’ ‘The possible effect of the power interruption is not known to many.’

Lastly, observe the dangling principle if you want to make sure your blog is free from any grammar problem. This could also be confusing because use of dangling modifiers surely could be troublesome, to begin with. This mistake damages correct flow of writing and affects overall comprehensibility. To illustrate, take this sentence as example: ‘After rotting in the attic for days, my sister threw some of the mangoes.’ The sentence when taken literally could mean the sister rotted for days, instead of the mangoes. To correct this, you should say, ‘My sister threw some of the mangoes that have already rotten in the attic.’