Do you sometimes forget whether it’s affect or effect?
Would you like to become better at grammar today?
I have been dreaming about this article for a while now. Here’s the thing… grammar and typos are one of the fastest ways to lose or gain credibility with readers.
Writing blog articles that have good grammar and are free of typos is a daunting task. It is easy to make mistakes and when you do, somebody always catches you. I mean always.
- Have you ever made a grammatical mistake and had someone catch you?
- Have you ever hurried through proofreading because you just wanted to get the article posted in time?
- Have you ever revisited someone’s blog that had some major grammatical errors and typos?
You are not alone.
Please Don’t Judge… But, If You Do, I Understand
I have a confession, and I urge you not to judge me. If you do judge me, I understand. I love to write, and I can create content out of thin air. However, I hate grammar and I don’t like proofreading.
I spend so much time coming up with creative content, dreaming, writing, planning, and writing. When I get to the proofreading part, I just want to roll my eyes.
The reality is that if we are going to be great writers and win the respect of anyone who reads our blog articles, grammar can no longer be a dirty word.
Demystifying This Dirty Little Word
Today, I want to take a moment to demystify this dirty little word and present you with 3 easy ways to increase your grammar IQ. You can put all 3 ways into action today.
We can have power over grammar. We can win the respect and love of our readers without wasting our time. We can increase our grammar IQs. I know these are big promises, but I will deliver.
3 Easy Ways to Increase Your Grammar IQ and Supercharge Your Blog Articles
- Get a Proofreader
This may be an obvious concept, but it is a critical one. I know that I don’t love grammar or proofreading. However, I still take the time to proofread and make sure that my articles make sense. I think that I may grind my teeth while I do it, but I do it nonetheless.
I’m not perfect and the truth is that my eyes miss stuff. So, I’ve enlisted some help. Grammar is not my forte and the only reason why that’s OK is that I have help. Thankfully, Robin, my editor, is amazing with all of the little grammar rules that make me sick to my stomach.
I haven’t just enlisted Robin. I have shamelessly recruited my grammar-loving, scrabble-playing, and somehow-can-spell-almost-any-word husband. Even before I send my articles over to Robin, my husband reads them. Isn’t he sweet?
Quick Tip: Not everyone has a grammar-loving husband or a detail-oriented editor. I know that. That doesn’t let you off the hook.
The social media world is full of amazing people who can partner up and proofread each others’ articles. It may take only 10 minutes to proofread someone’s work.
It’s about getting extra eyes to help find the typos and grammatical errors.
- Use Hemingway
Thanks to the wonderful Rebekah Radice, I’ve discovered this amazing online grammar tool called Hemingway. All you have to do is copy and paste your article in and the program will analyze your article in five areas.
- Sentences that are hard to read,
- Sentences that are very hard to read,
- Points out the adverbs that you have used,
- Highlights words or phrases that can be made simpler and even offers suggestions,
- Shows you when you have used a passive voice.
It also will point out your spelling mistakes and show you what grade level you are writing at.
- Look for Common Grammatical Mistakes
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been actively trying to get better at grammar. The first thing I did was check out a book. I know that checking out a book from the library is a little old-fashioned. What’s even funnier is that the book I checked out is written by a blogger and her book is based on her blog.
The second thing I did was start dog tagging the pages in the book that pointed out an easy-to-make grammatical error.
The third thing I did was research common grammatical errors.
The fourth thing I did was put all of these easy-to-make grammatical errors into one beautiful list. My hope is that you and I can reference this list and someday have it memorized.
The Beautiful List of Common Grammatical Mistakes
- Where to Put That Apostrophe
According to the Oxford Royale Academy here are the rules for apostrophes:
- You use apostrophes to show possession.
- Use (‘s) when you are indicating that something belongs to one person. For example, “This is the boy’s cup”.
- Use (s’) when you are indicating that something belongs to more that one person. For example, “This is the boys’ cup”.
- Use apostrophes when writing a contracted word. For example, “Don’t”. In this example, the apostrophe is taking the place of ‘o’ in “do not”.
- Your and You’re
For some reason, I make this mistake most often when I’m texting.
- Use “your” when something belongs to you.
- You’re is literally short for “you are”.
Quick Tip: If you are not sure which one to use, ask yourself if you would say “you are”. If saying “you are” makes sense, then use “you’re”. If it doesn’t use “your”.Here are a few extra examples,
You’re lovely. – Here we would say you are lovely.
Can I have some of your bread? – Here we wouldn’t say you are bread.
- Their, They’re, and There
- Use “Their” to show that something is owned by a group.
- Use “There” when you are referring to a place.
- They’re is like you’re. It’s a contraction for “they are”.
In Hubspot’s own list of most common grammatical errors, they provide a helpful example for the use of their, they’re and there.
“Correct Usage: They’re going to love going there — I heard their food is the best!”
- It’s and Its
- Its is possessive
- It’s is another contraction. It’s = it is.
- Affect and Effect
If you have been wondering what book I check out, it’s (or it is) Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. What is even cooler is that I found the blog article based on one of my dog-tagged pages from the book.
According to Grammar Girl and other grammar experts out there,
- Affect: Means to influence. Affect a verb.
- Effect: Means a result in. Effect is a noun.
Again, Hubspot helps to shed some more light,
“When you’re talking about the change itself — the noun – you will use “effect.” For example, That movie had a great effect on me. When you’re talking about the act of changing — the verb — you’ll use “affect.” For example, That movie affected me greatly.”
- Than and Then
Than: Use than when you are comparing two different things.
Then: Use then to show something following something else. Like a step by step instruction or when you are following something else in time. According to the Oxford Royal Academy, you can also use it when you are planning a schedule.
- Who and Whom
Who: Refers to the subject of the sentence.
Whom: Refers to the object.
Here is more help from the Oxford Royal Academy to break this down.
- Who works the same way as he. Who did this? He did.
- Whom works the same way as him. Whom should I invite? Invite him.
Quick Tips for Proofreading
Almost all, if not all of these grammar mistakes are easy to make. To help root out these mistakes while proofreading, Hubspot offers an amazing tip. I couldn’t keep it to myself, so here it is: The author, Ginny Soskey, recommends using control + F or for Mac users command + F to locate grammar errors and make sure you are using them correctly.
We all know that typos and grammatical errors as easy to make. However, whether we are writing a blog article, responding to a Facebook message or posting something on Google+, our grammar must be on its best behavior.
If you are like me and grammar isn’t your forte, use these 3 ways to increase your grammar IQ.
Here is your chance to ask about any grammar issues you want to know about. I listed 7 common grammar errors, but there are many more. In the comment section below, please let me know what grammar questions you have.
Have a wonderful week everyone and happy blogging.