How To Avoid Common Grammatical Errors

In a world where many people are politically correct but not grammatically correct, you could really stand out by taking the time to prepare well-written papers with proper English grammar.  A grammatically correct resume is more likely to be received in a positive manner by a future employer than one that was not.  Grammatically correct college papers will make higher grades.  The list could go on and on.  There are several ways to improve your grammar and avoid common grammatical errors.

  1. Take a grammar course.   Many of us have forgotten our grammar lessons from high school, or we did not pay much attention to them in the first place.  Many colleges and universities offer non-credit grammar refresher courses.  These courses are usually offered at night, but they may have an online option as well.  By taking a course like this, you can dramatically reduce the number of common grammatical errors in your writing.  If you are interested, contact your local community college or university.  If you do not live near one, check online to see what is offered.  These courses are usually inexpensive, and could be well worth the time and money.

  • Take advantage of spell-check.  Another way to avoid common grammatical errors is to take advantage of your computer's spell-check feature.  Many spell-check programs will catch grammatical errors and will either give you tips on how to fix them or automatically fix them for you.  Just remember that spell-check will not catch all grammatical errors, so do not rely on it to find all of them. For example, you might end up using one of the homophones "there," "their," and "they're" incorrectly; if you spelled the word correctly, it will not show up as a grammatical error on spell-check. Also, spell-check might not catch misuse of commas in a series or a missing comma in a compound sentence.
  • Invest in a good grammar manual.  There are several good grammar manuals on the market today, such as The Chicago Manual of Style and the Harbrace College Handbook.  You can use your grammar manual to look up any grammar rules that might puzzle you.  The English language is in a constant state of change, so try to get the latest edition of whatever manual you choose.

  • Proofread your work.   Many grammatical errors occur from being in a hurry, making careless mistakes, or mistyping your work.  If you simply take the time to carefully proofread your work, you might catch many common grammatical errors yourself.  It is also a good idea to let someone else proofread your work.  Sometimes another person can catch a mistake that you could not.

  • Use the internet.  The internet offers a wide range of grammar websites to help those in need of a little clarification.  Simply go to your favorite search engine, type in "grammar help" and several useful and informative sites will appear.
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