Grammar Tips For The Brain
Grammar can stump us all. Even those of us who write for a living. Many grammar rules can conflict depending on opinion and whether you’re in the UK or US.
With many ways to grammatically fail, it can all be a bit overwhelming. Because of this, we’ve collated 7 easy-to-use grammar tips to take away with you. Tips which will help you in daily life and also boost your Peak Language Score along the way.
Ready to enter the grammar zone?
Whether you’re reading aloud to yourself to check your work or reading to a child, the benefits are vast.
Author and grammar boff, Karen Deetlefs, describes how a reader is “more likely to pick up mistakes when they hear the words read out loud.” Reading aloud enables the reader to notice bad grammar more easily.
Read these two sentences out loud:
- He’ll go to the park.
- Hell go to the park.
Note the forgotten apostrophe. You may have missed it if you were just scanning through. However, when reading aloud, you’re more likely to spot the mistake.
Reading aloud can also help develop your literary and oral skills too.
Findings by Psychology Professor Dominic Massaro in his study, Two Different Communication Genres and Implications for Vocabulary Development and Learning to Read, show that when it comes to children, “the richer language of storybook reading can provide young children a richer oral language that will make a positive contribution to their future reading skill… Reading offers a potentially powerful strategy to prepare children for competent literacy skills.”
Reading books as part of your weekly ritual is the perfect way to expose yourself to the correct use of grammar. One accessible tip is to use a well known author’s book to see how that author has punctuated their work. And copy them. (Check these books out.) But make sure you follow the next tip…
You may peep inside a book or two for grammar guidance, however, make sure that you stick with consistent grammar rules. Especially when it comes to American and English grammar and spelling.
Option 1: Colour (En).
Option 2: Color (Am).
Option 1: Realise (En).
Option 2: Realize (Am).
Option 1: At the weekend (En).
Option 2: On the weekend (Am).
Apostrophes are used for omissions in place of ‘will’. And a great way to make your writing more conversational.
- He will – he’ll.
- We will – we’ll.
- She will – she’ll.
They’re also used for possession of something, if someone or something owns something else.
- The cat’s tail is like a snake.
- Peak’s games are challenging.
If, however, the noun that owns something ends with an ‘s’ then just add an apostrophe to the end of that noun. Do not add an ‘s’ after the apostrophe.
- James’ car is an awful green.
- The boss’ suit was all crinkly.
- The virus’ ability to spread was over-exaggerated.
A comma splice is a comma which can rub some people up the wrong way. It’s a comma used instead of a full stop, connecting two full sentences rather than separating them.
Comma splice examples:
- The lizard sneaked across the path without looking back, it didn’t even look back to see if it was being followed.
- Welcome to your new membership with Plump’s Gym, you’ll find your new membership card inside.
Read the sentences aloud and notice how long the pauses are – too long for a comma in some people’s opinions. The safe option is to stick with sentence dividers like full stops. Not only can shorter sentences be easier to digest, you can also avoid misinterpretation.
Conjunctions allow the writer to link ideas with just one word. They include the following:
- For, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.
- His trousers were covered in chocolate, but he hadn’t noticed.
- Poppy dropped the entire crate of eggs, yet so few actually cracked.
- It was hot, too hot and we were running out of water.
Conjunctions break up the pace of the wording and keep things interesting.
Its And It’s
These two stump many. The best way to tackle the pair is to realise they are completely different.
‘Its’ is the possessive form of ‘it’ and means ‘of it’.
If you think of the pronouns ‘his,’ ‘hers’ and ‘its’ as being in the same category, that can help jog your memory. All are possessive and none require an apostrophe.
- The noisy owl has made its nest in the attic.
- The pigeon was jealous of its rival’s nest.
Think of ‘it’s’ as a shortened form of ‘it is’. See the apostrophe as a word shortener.
- It’s beginning to look a lot like summer.
- It’s crazy out there. The wind is pummeling the windows.
Start fine-tuning your grammar skills today with our top grammar tips. You’ll soon see the benefits in your daily writing and your Peak Language Score.