8 facts about Grammar that can make smart people look dumb
When to spell a number? What is the problem in writing “Profit margin was affected by the sales growth.”?
In my earlier article, we discussed that content has become one of the most important marketing tools for businesses. Each day more than two million blog posts are made. On an average, 8 out of 10 people will read the headline and won’t dive further into details. You cannot afford to let this diminishing number (20% visitors) to shrink further due to some silly grammatical mistake.
Is it just the content site where grammar is important?
74% of the visitors pay attention to the grammar and spellings on a company’s website.
In fact, 59% said they won’t do business with a company that has glaring grammatical mistakes on their website. Grammatical errors represent a lazy, taken for granted and careless attitude.
In the world where businesses are leaving no stone unturned to lure the customers, you cannot take the risk of committing blatant errors.
Grammar follows you everywhere. Grammar Nazis are all around! One loose sentence and your image is thwarted and bullied by the grammar police.
Now that you have understood the importance of grammar hiring a proof-reader or an editorial assistant would sound a wise investment of time and money.
Many of us do not have English as our first language, for those, I would recommend not to outsource this job. Learn while doing it yourself.
You might think your MS- word would be taking care of your grammar errors but it falls short at many points like verb-tenses, contextual spellings and indefinite article etc.
Try checking MS-Word with following sentences:
I will be going there yesterday.
I want apple.
You will not get any correction suggestion.
For the last six months, I have been using a tool which has not only saved me hundreds of dollars but has also helped me improve my grammar for free. Yea, you heard it right, it’s a free tool. It is called Grammarly. Although there are few other tools in the market like Jetpack, Ginger and Hemingway but Grammarly is the most popular one.
We have discussed how to write a 1500 words article in just 2 hours, it becomes even more difficult to edit and proofread if you are using voice dictator. You may expect an amplified number of spelling, grammatical mistakes in such an article since your mistakes are clubbed with the recording errors.
Coming to the most common Grammar mistakes
1- Strong nouns instead of trite adjectives
Trite or Banal adjectives are those that lack freshness and effectiveness because of the constant use or excessive repetition. For example “Very”, “own” “literally”. These words are often considered to be lazy and redundant, since, they add no other value than emphasising the adjective used next to it. However, there are “very” good, sorry, superb words that can effectively communicate your point.
Here is the cheat sheet to enhance your vocabulary and write a compelling content.
As it might seem difficult for you to cram these words in a jiffy, moreover, this is certainly not an exhaustive list of words that can substitute banal adjectives, here is another smart solution.
Write your sentence in Grammarly and the tool will be at your service with appropriate suggestions.
This is the premium feature of the tool.
I’ll also tell you the smart way to try the premium feature for free!!!
Check out this new update from Grammarly. A friend in need is the friend indeed. Catch hold of your best friend asap.
The free version checks 250 types of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. The premium version checks your content more thoroughly for advanced grammar and spelling checks, vocabulary enhancement, plagiarism detection etc.
Subscribing to the premium version is worth the price if you are running a blog or content site.
2- Five tips to blog or 5 tips to blog
When to write a number in words? Three or 3, Fifty-nine or 59? Can I start a sentence with a number? What about a sentence having two numbers placed adjacent? Look at the following sentence:
100 13-year old boys were playing in the park, four percent of them were male.
There is no set rule Grammar Nazis converge, on which numbers to write in letters. APA style of writing says the numbers that are smaller than ten should be spelled out.
Never start a sentence with a numeral, either spell it or rewrite.
Always write percentage in numbers even if it falls in the category of 0-9
It might have become clear to you that the sentence should be:
Hundred 13-year old boys were playing in the park, 4% of them were male.
However, you can still write a small number in letters and vice versa since there is no one rule on which all the authorities converge. You may write numeral to highlight the number in a title thus both the titles “Five tips to blog” or “5 tips to blog” are correct.
3- Passive Voice
Passive voice is again not a grammatical error but a style choice.
The Active voice describes a sentence where the subject performs the action stated by the verb. In the passive voice sentences, the subject is acted upon by the verb eg.,
Active: I cleaned the house.
Passive: The house was cleaned by me.
Many grammar fanatics would suggest you always to write in active voice. They are right because of the following reasons:
A- Lack of detailing
The sentence “ research has been done on top grammar mistakes” although is complete and grammatically correct but shows the lack of detailing and conviction.
“ABC did research on top grammar mistakes” is a more authentic statement since it mentions the subject.
B- Lacks brevity
Writing in active voice saves time and words and thus, considered a more efficient way of writing.
Mary was punished by the teacher. (Passive voice)
The teacher punished Mary. (Active voice)
C- SEO disadvantages
Content performs better when you use short sentences, short paragraphs, words with fewer syllables, and active rather than passive voice.
This helps you optimise your page for the search engine.
Nothing can be more important than writing the article appropriate for SEO. Content in passive voice is considered to be outdated. Since passive voice gives an impression that act has already been completed, SEO doesn’t give priority to such content.
You are still with me on the article if you have noticed a couple of sentences written above are in passive voice. As I mentioned, writing in passive voice is not a mistake at all. Moreover, everything cannot be put in the active voice. So you may take the liberty of writing passive statements if:
- The act is more important than the subject. eg., His father, was murdered 40 years back.
- The subject is understood and obvious. e.g., He was operated for four continuous hours. It seems quite evident that the subject here is the doctor.
- The subject is not known. He was looted.
4- Use of similar sounding words
loose and lose
lie and lay
whom and who
Then and Than
Compliment and Complement
Affect and Effect
Find out the mistakes in the statements below:
If you are scared that you will loose your audience due to grammatical errors, than use Grammarly. Grammarly will surely effect your writing skills than you will receive enormous complements from your friends.
These are called homophone. The words sound quite similar, but their meanings could be poles apart. A homophone is a word that sounds the same as another word but has a different meaning and/or spelling. “Flower” and “flour” are homophones because they are pronounced the same, but you certainly can’t bake a cake using daffodils.
Now it is clear that the above statement had many mistakes, and this is how Grammarly doesn’t miss out pointing one single mistake in your comment.
5-Use of Commas
While proof-reading my article, I realized that most often I commit mistakes on the proper use of punctuation including commas.
In the infographic shown above you must have noticed how deadly it can be to misplace a comma or forgetting it altogether.
Let’s go out and eat daddy.
Let’s go out and eat, daddy.
6- Oops! Incomplete comparison
With my new shoes I can run faster.
Than what? Than your previous running speed, your competitors or an early starter who has just started running? Although, it may sound complete to many, but any grammar checking tool will underline the sentence and request you to add a comparative subject.
To avoid writing incomplete sentence be careful using following words. Following are the examples of comparative words
Better, More, Closer, Than, So, Higher, Faster, Longer
As a strict rule you should explain “Than ” what in the same sentence. Like,
Wrong: He drives the car so fast.
Right: He drives the car so fast that I couldn’t manage the cap on my head.
Can you find any problem in the following sentence?
Wrong: Rahul’s car is bigger than Rohit.
Wrong: Rahul’s car is as big as Rajat.
The reason above two sentences are wrong is that Rahul’s car is being compared to Rajat and Rohit and not their cars.
Right: Rahul’s car is bigger than Rohit’s.
Right: Rahul’s car is as big as Rajat’s.
7- Repetitive words
Writing a comprehensive article that has a high ROI (maximum return to your reads for the time spent) is an art that develops over time. Grammarly can expedite the process of your learning by suggesting you alternatives to the repetitive words.
My customers are my priority because I believe, the customer is the king.
Repetitive use of the same word twice in a sentence can be boring and distracting for your readers. It could be written:
My clients are my priority because I believe, the customer is the king.
To improve the overall readability of your post you may use Hemingway. It can help you enhance the readability of your sentences apart from pointing out common grammar mistakes. You need to just hover over the highlighted part and the tool will suggest you appropriate alternatives.
Most of us struggle with this part of Grammar. I cannot forget the days when I use to cram Barron’s guide to English vocabulary.
Although the above mentioned tools can advise you a better pair words in your sentence, but there is no substitute to building your own army of strong words. Here is a list of 317 powerful words you can use in your your writing to write an effective content.
Alternatively, I Google the word and search for its synonyms, check usage and then use the word in my writing.