I would like to start this article by stating that I am probably the world’s worst person to tell someone else about grammar! I am pretty good at spelling, and I can usually tell if something “sounds right,” but I admit to never taking a formal grammar course. Thus, I don’t employ extremely accurate grammar rules on a regular basis.
That said, I am well aware of the fact that having good grammar, as a writer, is enormously important. It makes your writing professional, and concise. As a writer, you are a role-model of the English language, and you should represent to the best you can.
Sometimes, grammar correction should be left until editing. Many times, though, it is easier on yourself, your editor, and your readers to simply start writing with good grammar in your first draft. In my case, I do the best I can to come out with my best draft, then I encourage my editors and proofreaders to find all of my mistakes. Again, this is because I severely lack grammar knowledge
- 20 Common Grammar Mistakes That (Almost) Everyone Makes
- Warning: Common Grammar Mistakes You Should Never Make
- 15 Grammatical Goofs That Make You Look Silly
- 7 Commonly Corrected Grammar Errors (That Aren’t Mistakes)
- 50 Common Grammar Mistakes in English
- Common Grammar & Usage Mistakes
- 10 Grammar Mistakes That Can Keep Your Content From Spreading
The Editing Checklist
- Is the title of my essay at least moderately informative and interesting?
- Do I identify the subject of my essay (author and title) early?
- What is my thesis? Do I state it soon enough (perhaps even in the title) and keep it in view?
- Is the organization reasonable? Does each point lead into the next without irrelevancies and without anticlimaxes?
- Is each paragraph uniﬁed by a topic sentence or a topic idea? Are there adequate transitions from one paragraph to the next?
- Are generalizations supported by appropriate concrete details, especially by brief quotations from the text?
- Is the opening paragraph interesting and, by its end, focused on the topic? Is the ﬁnal paragraph conclusive without being repetitive?
- Is the tone appropriate? No sarcasm, no apologies, no condescension?
- If there is a summary, is it as brief as possible, given its purpose?
- Are the quotations adequately introduced, and are they accurate? Do they provide evidence and let the reader hear the author’s voice, or do they merely add words to the essay?
- Is the present tense used to describe the authors work and the action of the work (“Shakespeare shows,” “Hamlet dies“)?
- Have I kept in mind the needs of my audience, for instance, by deﬁning unfamiliar terms or by briefly summarizing works or opinions that the reader may be unfamiliar with?
- Is documentation provided where necessary?
- Are the spelling and punctuation correct? Are other mechanical matters (such as margins. spacing, and citations) in correct form? Have I proofread carefully?
- Is the paper properly identiﬁed– author’s name, instructor’s name, course number, and date?
Break The Rules
Sometimes rule-breaking is okay, and even encouraged. Writing is not like math, where everything must be accurate and precise. Writing is meant to get across a point– to convey a message. It’s an art form. As long as what you write conveys your point, then who cares if you broke a rule? The Grammar Police only exist on Facebook. So go ahead and mess up– on purpose, or by accident! Your editors and proofreaders will (hopefully) catch your accidents!