Today is Grammar day, the day every writing blog waits for to tell you how to improve your grammar, and there are about 1,200,000 fighting you’re your attention—yes YOU!
You have opened this because you want to improve your grammar and I bet it is to do with work. Okay, there will be students and a few writers, but I’m going to focus to the office working masses.
I will give you 10 secrets to improve communication with your boss, your boss’s boss, and the annoying guy or girl who is your “peer”.
But first, we are not talking about grammar we are going to focus on a syntax because 99% of the time when people say Grammar they mean syntax—writing stuff.
Even the brilliant Grammar Girl admits on her blog she deals with syntax but "grammar" sounds sexier.
In the office, we don’t care about perfect grammar just good grammar. What do we care if you end a sentence with a preposition? BTW, I just heard a good story on the House of Cards about that.
Two girls meet for the first day in the room they will share in dorm at university. One girl is from mid-state New York and one girl is from down south. The New York girl and her mom are hanging curtains in the room when the southern girl walks in.
“Hi, where y’all from?” the Southern bell asks.
“We are from a place where we know you should not end a sentence with a preposition,” says the girl form New York.
The southern girl smiles and says, “Oh beg my pardon, where y’all from …BITCH?”
10 ways to fix it for those who care more about the syntax than the content:
Basic good old solid sentence foundation; S.V.O.—Subject, Verb, and Object.
Sam kicked the Ball.
Subject = Sam
Verb = kicked
Object = ball
2. The difference between an “Independent Clause” and a “Dependent Clause”
An Independent Clause can stand alone as a sentence, beginning with a capital and ending with a terminal punctuation such as a period.
A dependent clause cannot stand alone and must be attached to an independent clause.
Which are Independent Clauses?
- he often went swimming
- although Sam wanted to play football
- the young woman liked to watch him swim
- because the water was hot
- the pool was closed on Sunday
3. Introductory phrases like The Time or The Place
If you have a sentence with a time or place, state them first, add a comma, and then start the sentence.
<INTRODUCTION> <COMMA> <SENTENCE>
- In November, it will snow more in Dallas than Vancouver.
- Watching TV, it’s impossible to feel you are not fulfilling your life potential.
4. Use the Serial Comma
When three or more elements are listed in a series and a comma is inserted before the “and” it is known as a serial comma.
Red, white, and blue.
To omit it is faulty. Consider the following:
Yesterday, David, Jane, Peter and Paul all packed and left to go their respective homes.
Did Peter and Paul leave together to the same home? Sounds like they did.
5. Using ME or I in a sentence
When to use ME or I in a sentence (with other people in the sentence too) is an easy one to remember and a great one to get correct.
You have got to support David and I.
This sentence might sound right but it is wrong. Remove “David and” and we get “You have to support I.”
You have to support David and me.
You have to support me.
David and me went on to win gold.
Me went on to win gold.
David and I when on to win gold.
I went on to win gold.
6. Using i.e. and e.g. correctly
i.e. means in other words, it is a full list. I like playing sport, i.e., football and cricket. I do not like any other sport.
e.g. means for example, it is not a finite list. I like playing sport, e.g., football and cricket. I like at least one other sport.
Do not forget the comma before and after e.g. and i.e.
7. Erroneous Semicolon
Do not separate groups of words that are not grammatically equivalent.
To have researchers find the next fund formula; to have a money manager own and sell that fund; these are the things we need to put in place.
The first semi colon is correct as it separates parallel phrases. The second one is incorrect as the third sentence is a summational independent clause.
8. Comparative vs. Superlative
Be careful when comparing to things, say reports, performance reviews, or blogs. Ensure you use comparative words not superlative words.
Better, nicer, more, worse: these are comparative words to use when comparing two things.
Best, nicest, most, worst: these are superlative words for when comparing three or more things.
I read the two blogs and I think Writing is Simple is the best. The sentence might sound right but alas it is not.
I read the two blogs and I think Writing is Simple is the better. Correct.
I read all the Grammar Day blogs and I think Writing is Simple is the best. Correct.
9. BTW: How to spot a preposition
A preposition is anything that a squirrel can do to a tree. Run around it. Run from it. Run to it…into, over, outside, underneath, etc.
10. Read My Blog
Most weeks, I write A quick 5 point novel guide to using…READ THEM!
Finally, share this blog today, on GRAMMAR DAY!