We can all improve one way or another when it comes to our writing abilities. Although I do believe I have an excellent command of the English language, my grammar is no where near perfect because… Well, I don’t write the way I… write. I write the way I talk. So when I write my content, it’s in a way that I would feel comfortable saying out loud. Which is precisely why I’m notorious for run-on sentences and unnecessary fragments. I can almost see my English professor clutching his chest and falling to the floor in sheer shock and disappointment.
Now, before you start worrying yourself over perfecting your grammar, keep in mind that some rules are meant (and best) to be broken. As mentioned above, I prefer writing in my flow, however I always like to polish it up with some sexy grammar afterwards. This makes my content distinctive, but also makes it easier for my readers to digest. It’s always advantageous to be authentic in your writing, so if you have no interest in following grammatical rules, then don’t. And if you’re someone who’d like to continue writing from the soul, as well as improve their grammar, that’s awesome too! The best part of owning a blog is that you get to make the rules.
Now, without my aching desire for continuous blabber, here are the 5 easy grammar tips you can incorporate in your blog posts.
1. Redundant Words
Redundant words simply mean that two or more words have the same definition.
Examples of popular redundant phrases are:
– “Repeat again” (the word ‘repeat’ already means something is being redone)
– “Prior/past experience” (all experiences have passed)
– “Combine together” (the word ‘combine’ has already brought multiple things together)
– “Add an additional” (the word ‘add’ has already joined to something else to increase an amount)
– “Ask a question” (the word ‘ask’ already posed the question)
– “ATM machine” (the ‘M’ stands for machine)
Key Takeaway: More words don’t necessarily bring more meaning.
2. active vs. passive Voice
An active voice is traditionally the subject + the verb + the object.
In a passive voice, the subject is placed after the verb in the object position. If you can add “by unicorns” after the verb, you’re in passive turf. If you can’t, then you’re speaking in active voice.
An example of this would be:
Donté wrote (by unicorns) an article about his love for freelancing.
— Doesn’t make sense, right? This would make this sentence active.
However, if the sentence was written like this:
An article about freelancing was written (by unicorns) by Donté.
— “By unicorns by Donté” doesn’t make sense, but the ability to place “by unicorns” after the verb tells us that this sentence is passive.
More Active vs Passive Examples:
Active: Our company is working on mail list building.
Passive: Mail list building is being worked on by our company.
Active: Leena used to pay the invoices.
Passive: The invoices used to be paid by Leena.
Active: Lately, Chen has been doing the editing.
Passive: Lately, the editing has been being done by Chen.
Key Takeaway: Writing in a passive voice clouds the message you are trying to convey.
3. Serial/oxford Comma
Three or more terms? Use a serial comma.
I’d like to thank my business partners, Buddha and Barack Obama for inspiring me.
(Unless Buddha and Barack Obama are in fact your business partners, this is a no go. The absence of a serial comma also suggests that Buddha’s last name is Obama.)
I’d like to thank my business partners, Buddha, and Barack Obama for inspiring me.
Margie finds tranquility in cooking her family and her 3 cats.
Margie finds tranquility in cooking, her family, and her 3 cats.
The patient’s symptoms included being unable to eat diarrhea and nausea.
(the regular consumption of loose stools is not advisable anyways.)
The patient’s symptoms included being unable to eat, diarrhea, and nausea.
Key Takeaway: The serial comma resolves ambiguity.
4. and I vs. and Me
The simple way of figuring this out is by removing the other person in the sentence and seeing if it still makes sense.
Two examples of this would be:
My wife and me have been reworking our marketing strategies.
— vs. Me have been reworking our marketing strategies.
(Using ‘me’ in this sentence makes it illogical. “My wife and I” is appropriate for this situation.)
Our coworker brought Amelia and I some vegan celebration cake.
— vs. Our coworker brought I some vegan celebration cake.
(Doesn’t make sense! In this situation, using “Amelia and me” is correct.)
Key Takeaway: It is not always “and I”.
5. i.e. vs. e.g.
Both i.e. and e.g. are abbreviations for Latin terms.
i.e. stands for id est and means “that is” or “in other words.
e.g. stands for exempli gratia, which means “for example.”
Here’s how to use them:
My assistant is assigned to do many tasks here at the office (i.e. scheduling pins, verifying receipts, and responding to inquiries).
i.e. provides clarification, so this means that these are the only tasks she does at the office.
My assistant is assigned to do many tasks here at the office (e.g. scheduling pins, verifying receipts, and responding to inquiries).
The words following e.g. are examples, so you know that these are only some of the tasks she does at the office.
Key Takeaway: They both don’t mean “for example”.
Have any grammar tips to share? Let’s chat below!