Every profession requires the person to know basic skills related to that profession. A baker needs to know how to bake and a musician needs to know how to play an instrument. Similarly, a writer needs to have basic grammar skills to be successful. However, the internet and the phenomenon of self-publishing have made it easy for anyone to write anything and publish it on the web. Many online writers ignore grammar and punctuation rules and even make up their own spellings.
If you want to establish yourself as a reputable writer online or want to improve the quality of your assignments at work and school (without support from the school help desk), you must improve your grammar skills. Following grammar and punctuation rules while writing makes it easier for the reader to understand your message and reduces the amount of time readers need to read your article. Becoming a grammar guru does take time but you don’t have to read hefty grammar books everyday. Here are a few habits that will help you imbibe grammar skills over a period of time.
Look up the answer to grammar questions
While you are writing, if you come across any grammar question, you need to look it up. It takes only a few minutes to look up the answer on the Internet. Making a note of the question so that you can look it up later is not a wise thing to do because most people forget all about it. You may not want to stop writing to break the flow, but you must take a few minutes off writing to find the answer to your question. You will slowly develop the habit of looking up answers and you will be improving your grammar skills in the process too.
Gather good resources
There are excellent textbooks and guides that have become grammar bibles and essential grammar reference books. Wren & Martin and the Chicago Manual of Style are some of the books that grammar -Nazis turn to every time they have a doubt. Purchase these books and keep them within arms reach when you are writing. Also, read these books when you have some free time. There are excellent websites too – mainly maintained by universities around the world, where you can find answers to any grammar doubt. Bookmark these websites so you can refer to them easily whenever you need to.
Read good books
Don’t waste all your free time reading blogs, ebook and cheap paperbacks. Read classics and books written by famous authors. This is the only way you can learn good grammar and punctuation. Also, don’t just skim through these books. Keep a look out for excellent grammar and punctuation usage and underline them. Try and use them when you are writing later on.
Many a times, grammatical errors arise due to poor proofreading. Even if the writer has good grammar skills, he/she is bound to make mistakes and these mistakes get missed because the writer has not proofread the article. Always proofread every article that you write at least twice to identify and correct as many grammatical errors, typos and misspelt words as possible.