UPDATED MARCH 2023
Thanks to school, most of us have strong feelings about grammar. Fear. Loathing. Frustration.
That's largely because we don't really do a great job of teaching grammar in school. It's frequently out of context. Or unexplained and therefore seemingly arbitrary. Because rules.
When should I care about grammar?
Here's my take on grammar. It is super important for some audiences, of course. But most of us worry about it at the wrong time.
Drafting? Don't worry about grammar.
Revising? Fix any grammatical errors you find, but don't sweat over it.
Proofreading? Lean in, baby!
The best time to focus on grammar is at the end of the process. After all, we and our revising friends are likely to create errors as we go, so why invest time and energy on something so technical in those early parts of the writing process?
How can I get better at grammar?
If you're good at grammar, you probably quit reading this post a few grafs ago. If you're still here, offer your services to those of us who may not be similarly gifted. We need you!
If grammar isn't your thing, you're not alone. If you don't have a grammar expert in your midst, there are tools that can help you catch at least the most egregious grammatical errors.
- MS Word and Google Docs have grammar checkers on board. Like its cousin, spell checker, it's pretty good, but not perfect.
- Grammarly is an app that has a decent free version and robust paid version (we use the free one, personally; several of our clients bought into the paid version). You can also integrate it with GDocs.
Use these resources to uncover your grammatical habits so you can learn from your mistakes. By looking at repeated errors and how they're corrected, you can improve your ability to understand and fix them yourself.
Now, go celebrate!