Grammar is a subject which divides people. Debates may rage about the content or opinion of a particular piece of literature or journalism, but question a fellow writer’s grammar, and it can go nuclear!
If you’re someone who is inclined to get rather geeky when it comes to grammar (which covers a fairly large proportion of people in the publishing and writing worlds) then you will have known the terrible pain of seeing a misplaced apostrophe and someone writing about ‘there dog’ eating ‘to much food’. You may also have a certain fascination with the use of the oxford comma, the correct position of adverbs and many of the other grammatical rules applied to the English language.
I imagine that there will be numerous grammatical mistakes in this article of which I am not even aware and I sincerely apologise for the mental distress this may cause. However, if you want to get some advice from people that really know what they are talking about, then there are a few websites that are worth checking out.
For reminders on commonly confused words and other tips, head over to Askoxford.com
The book which will help you lick your punctuation into shape is Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss. It has everything that you need to know on apostrophes, commas, colons and the rest of those funny squiggles. There are lots of amusing anecdotes too, which make for excellent reading. It’s available as an eBook here.
Grammar Girl offers some quick and dirty tips which will help explain the nuances in our language.
You can listen to them as podcasts or read the tips. The ads at the beginning of the podcasts are rather annoying, but if you can make it through them, it’s nice to listen to tips read out loud for a change.
How likely are you to pick up on a grammatical mistake? The Sentence Sleuth is there to spot those cheeky grammar gremlins when they attack.
So, take a peek and hopefully you will find yourself making less, I mean fewer, errors in the future.
(I know, I know… I’m heading there too!)
Let us know if there are any particularly good resources that you use for making sure your grammar is top notch by leaving a comment below.
Just to mention that Lynne Truss has another book called Talk to the Hand subtitled The Utter Bloody Rudeness of Everyday Life…or six good reasons to stay home and bolt the door.
I recommend this book which is a follow up to Eats, Shoots and Leaves, albeit examining a different area, not poor grammar or punctuation but rudeness.
It is entertaining and revealing.