Get to grips with grammar – 10 Quick Tips

Get to grips with grammar - 10 Quick TipsWelcome to this new series of 10 Quick Tips. This time we look at 10 quick ways to sharpen up your grammar, spelling, punctuation, syntax and more…

1. Don’t listen to people who tell you that grammar, spelling, punctuation and syntax don’t matter. Especially if you’re in business, they do. If you make silly mistakes it can make you look unprofessional, and also can mean that your writing is misinterpreted.

2. Find a good online dictionary. Here’s what I use –http://dictionary.reference.com/. (Is US based but gives Brit spellings too.)

3. Use that dictionary if you’re even 1 percent unsure about the spelling of a word.

4. Forget the formal stuff you learned at school: it’s now OK to start a sentence with “and” or “but” and you can even use short sentences without verbs in them, as long as you do it cleverly. You have my permission…

5. Learn where to stick your apostrophes.

6. Don’t try to understand and cope with the sheer lunacy of the English language: just learn the basic absurdities like the erroneous “to loose” when you should write “to lose.”

7. US or UK spellings? Don’t be pigheaded about this. If you’re writing for a US market, use their spellings. If for Canada or other former “commonwealth” countries, use British spellings. For countries where English is a second language, take your cue from your target readers in those countries: which spellings do they use?

8. Watch out when you use jargon and colloquialisms. Only include what your readers will understand.

9. Don’t overuse exclamation marks or ellipses … !!!

10. When in doubt, keep your sentences, phrases and wording simple, especially online. People don’t have time to read long blocks of dense text.

What tips do you have to sharpen up grammar, spelling, etc., to add to this list? Please share!

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