Fundamental Grammar Rules Every Writer Should Know
The more experience you will gain as a writer, the more you will realise that writing is certainly one of the toughest skills to master. It is never enough to just tell an excellent story or share an exceptional idea. Writers should pay special attention to their craft. Although the message of your writing holds supreme importance, the way you use the language also plays a critical role.
Bad grammar has always been considered a distraction. It is true that if you can write a fascinating story, readers will likely ignore a few of your grammatical mistakes. However, it is worth noting that every mistake or wrong construction will briefly pull the readers out of the story. This makes up for an unpleasant and negative reading experience, which is not ideal for your writing career. Here are the basic grammar rules every writer should know.
1. Use Active Voice
One of the first grammar rules every writer needs to follow is writing in an active voice, whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction. When it is time to choose a verb, prefer the active tense of that verb. Basically, the subject of your sentence needs to be acting instead of having the action done to it. Passive voice is the opposite of active voice. For instance, “the apple was peeled by mother”. In this sentence, the apple can be considered the subject while the mother is doing the action. Refrain from using passive voice and use active voice as much as possible.
2. Keep Homophones in Mind
Homophonic words are those types of words that are known to be pronounced in the same way as other words despite having different meanings, even if they can be spelt differently. This might lead to confusion. Unluckily, there are plenty of such words in English. Here are some examples:
As a writer, you need to be aware of such differences so that you do not end up using the wrong words for a specific sentence.
- Your - You’re
- Eye - I
- Its - It’s
- Their - They’re - There
- Hear - Here
- Brake - Break
- Flour - Flower
- Hour - Our
3. Stay Consistent with Verb Tense
You might not use the same verb tense throughout your entire book or article. However, it is vital to maintain consistency with each and every sentence. Not doing so can lead to your writing looking sloppy. In fact, it can ruin the flow of your readers and they may have trouble following the story. This will often happen when a writer or editor changes one verb’s tense but does not do the same in another. Due to this, there will be a break in the tense agreement. For instance, “He goes to the library and picked out a book” is incorrect. “He went to the library and picked out a book” is correct.
4. Refrain from Using a Double Negative
There are often two ways to express a negative concept in English. For instance, if you would like to say that the room is empty, you might say, “There isn’t anything in the room” or “There is nothing in the room”. It is true that “anything” and “nothing” have the similar meaning. However, “nothing” is utilised with an affirmative verb, while “anything” has been utilised with a negative verb. The same rule applies to other words such as:
As a writer, following this rule will likely make your writing better.
- Any - none
- Anybody - nobody
Knowing about these grammar rules and using them in your writing will certainly take some time, but it will be worth it. Your writing will improve significantly, and you will have an easier time holding the reader’s attention.