I write. I write a LOT. Even so, or perhaps because of it, I regularly have to check my grammar. English grammar is tricky, but I’m getting better at comma usage (thanks to my editor!), but I’m still terrible when it comes to compound words. I’ll get better at them eventually!
I’d like to share a few resources I’ve found to be useful and reliable.
- Grammar Girl
Mignon Fogarty is the Grammar Girl. She provides quick tips for better writing in a short, friendly, and concise manner. When I Google the phrase “affect vs effect” her answer is always near the top of my search. (And sadly, I Google that phrase all too often!) She covers grammar rules and word choice options and makes learning about those obscure rules FUN! (Maybe not fun for some people, but for me it’s fun!) She even offers some memory tricks to help remember how to apply the rules. Too bad I can’t get that affect/effect one to stick!
I use Google Chrome as my browser, and a while ago I discovered that Grammarly offers a FREE plugin for Chrome. It will quietly check your grammar as you write a post. If you have an error, it displays a little red circle in the bottom right corner of your editing screen with the number of errors it found, and it underlines the error in red. Sometimes you can figure out how to fix it on your own, sometimes you might choose to ignore it, or sometimes you might simply hover your mouse over the underlined text and select the suggestion that Grammarly offers. It’s easy as can be, and I’ve come to rely on it. It catches most of my spelling errors (I tend to type fast and miss keys occasionally). If I could just learn to pause a moment before hitting enter when making a post, I’d have fewer errors!
- Use English Punctuation Correctly
Here’s a fairly quick and easy “crash course” on using punctuation. Let’s not even get into the discussion of the Oxford Comma. (I’m steadfastly in the PRO Oxford Comma column on that one.)
- Chicago Manual of Style
For me, this is the last word in grammar and editing. If I want a definitive answer, this is my source. I happen to have a paperback version, but I most often rely on my editor when I have nitty-gritty questions on grammar that only an expert can answer (Thanks, Amanda Sumner! You’re my go-to grammar goddess!)
These are, of course, just a few quick resources for answering grammar questions. I hope they get you off to a great start!