Grammar for native english speakers

33 replies
Hi fellow warriors!

I'm a native english speaker and I know if a sentence sounds right or not. The thing I don't know is the exact rules for grammar.

Is learning the exact rules of grammar worth it? (eg. Taking classes and spending hours on learning grammar).

Like again, I would know if a sentence is grammatically correct and kind of know how to fix it. But I can never be 100% sure that my grammar or sentence structure is correct.

Let me know what you guys think!

Btw the goal for me is blogging and maybe in the future have guest posts.

Thanks,
Kim
#english #grammar #native #speakers
  • Profile picture of the author AlexanderBeloev
    Originally Posted by kimonerz View Post

    Hi fellow warriors!

    I'm a native english speaker and I know if a sentence sounds right or not. The thing I don't know is the exact rules for grammar.

    Is learning the exact rules of grammar worth it? (eg. Taking classes and spending hours on learning grammar).

    Like again, I would know if a sentence is grammatically correct and kind of know how to fix it. But I can never be 100% sure that my grammar or sentence structure is correct.

    Let me know what you guys think!

    Btw the goal for me is blogging and maybe in the future have guest posts.

    Thanks,
    Kim
    Hey Kim,

    I know a milionaire who is running a blog without even following the simpliest rules for grammar. And almost all of his millions came thankfully to the blog.

    So it is not something you need to focus on.

    Regards,

    Alex

    EDIT: Maybe I said it the wrong way. Grammar is something important, but you do not need to spend all of your time on grammar issues.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8335697].message }}
  • If you start writing perfect English, most marketers won't be able to understand it.
    Signature
    Arnold Stolting - Stolting Media Group
    "I LOVE The Song! The Vibe Is Positive And Firm!" - Kymani Marley. (Son of Bob Marley)
    "Keep Up The Good Work!" Tony Lindsay - Lead Vocalist, Carlos Santana.

    "Very High Quality!" Jeremy Harding - Manager / Producer. Sean Paul.
    "They Are FANTASTIC!" - Willie Crawford.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8335703].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Sarevok
    Take Bill Oriely as an example.

    He always has MORE THAN ONE BOOK on the top sellers list.

    Do you know how he writes his books?

    So a third grader could understand them.

    Translation: You don't have to be a master technical writer in order to write to the masses.

    Also.. About understanding grammar.. The best thing to do is READ.

    Read as much literature as you can.

    Just my $.02.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8335747].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      If you're a blogger or a writer, or just send out regular communications like emails, I believe it's best to develop your own "voice" or style.

      I think proper grammar is appreciated. If you have difficulty forming a sentence and expressing yourself in a way that others can understand, your messages won't have the impact they otherwise could have.

      It never hurts to learn about language, but no, I don't think you ought to spend a lot of time or money on it, especially since you say you already do pretty well with your communications.

      Maybe one of the keys to effective writing is to get your message across to the audience in a way that "touches" them. They feel what you're saying and know exactly what you mean.

      I think you can do that without perfect grammar.

      Good luck to you,

      Steve
      Signature

      Steve Browne, online business strategies, tips, guidance, and resources
      SteveBrowneDirect

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8335784].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Melkur
    Originally Posted by kimonerz View Post

    Hi fellow warriors!

    I'm a native english speaker and I know if a sentence sounds right or not. The thing I don't know is the exact rules for grammar.

    Is learning the exact rules of grammar worth it? (eg. Taking classes and spending hours on learning grammar).

    Like again, I would know if a sentence is grammatically correct and kind of know how to fix it. But I can never be 100% sure that my grammar or sentence structure is correct.

    Let me know what you guys think!

    Btw the goal for me is blogging and maybe in the future have guest posts.

    Thanks,
    Kim
    I'd say it depends on what you're blogging about, and who your target readers are. I find poor grammar / structure (and I'd be the first to admit that mine isn't perfect, either!) to be offputting in a document that's supposed to be authoritative in any way - if they can't be bother to fix their writing, can they really be bothered with the details of the product / service they're promoting?

    That said, I don't think you need to go to the lengths you're suggesting, either - spending hours learning the ins and outs of English grammar seems overkill to me. There are plenty of simple grammar books around that should be good enough for most purposes. Just have a flick through some of them, then keep them by your desk and refer to them if you need them - that should be good enough, I'd say.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8335763].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author kimonerz
    haha thanks guys!

    I guess I don't need to completely know every single rule of grammar, especially when it involves blogging.

    I have another question though..

    If you're getting paid writing your articles (say writers in like fiverr), and you're a native english speaker, do you think that they will need to know the exact proper grammar every single time?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8335765].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author AlexanderBeloev
      Originally Posted by kimonerz View Post

      haha thanks guys!

      I guess I don't need to completely know every single rule of grammar, especially when it involves blogging.

      I have another question though..

      If you're getting paid writing your articles (say writers in like fiverr), and you're a native english speaker, do you think that they will need to know the exact proper grammar every single time?
      In my opinion, when it is a paid service, no matter if it is an article or car repair, the quality really matters. So, in this case it is something that a paid writer has to know.

      Regards,

      Alex
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8335804].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Melkur
      Originally Posted by kimonerz View Post

      haha thanks guys!

      I guess I don't need to completely know every single rule of grammar, especially when it involves blogging.

      I have another question though..

      If you're getting paid writing your articles (say writers in like fiverr), and you're a native english speaker, do you think that they will need to know the exact proper grammar every single time?
      Hmmm, if you're marketing yourself as a native English speaker, then that implies that your knowledge of the language is better than that of non-native English speakers. Now, of course, that's not necessarily the case - there are many, many non-native English speakers whose English is far superior to that of people born and bred here in England! - but if you make a point of it in your promotional material, then there's a suggestion that you know what you're doing.

      Even so, though, I still don't think you'd need to go to the lengths you were contemplating in your first post. As others have said, simplicity is good, and isn't too difficult to get right, either. Unless your client requires absolutely correct grammar, I would think that would be good enough.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8335811].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author wtatlas
      Originally Posted by kimonerz View Post

      haha thanks guys!

      I have another question though..

      If you're getting paid writing your articles (say writers in like fiverr), and you're a native english speaker, do you think that they will need to know the exact proper grammar every single time?
      If you pay a plumber to mend a tap, you would expect him or her to know the correct procedures and to have the right tools for the job. Similarly, if you employ a writer, then you would expect him or her to know the basic rules of grammar. (One of the "tools" of the trade).

      Good writers often flaunt the rules to create a particular effect but you can be sure that they know what the rules are before they bend them.

      When you're writing for your own blog then you can please yourself how you write.
      Signature

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8342267].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author mr criminology
    I envy you, Native English speakers because learning grammar would be easy for you unlike us where English is just our second and most of the time third language. The basic subject verb agreement is already confusing to us, how much more the advance lessons in grammar.
    Signature
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8335819].message }}
  • You can make millions without good grammar the downside you have to have thick skin to take all the nitpicking that will come your way.

    One person said they read my newsletter just to see how many mistakes I make. That person has spent thousands of dollars by the way.
    Signature
    soon people... Relax...
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8335924].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author katherineolga
      Originally Posted by HelpingYouBeAnExpert View Post

      One person said they read my newsletter just to see how many mistakes I make. That person has spent thousands of dollars by the way.
      NICE!!!

      I once made a HUGE typo in a pitch letter for a magazine. It made me cringe it was so obvious and awful. I got the gig and after reading how bad the typo was, I was shocked they were on board with paying me to write for them.

      Goes to show you, they either didn't notice or didn't care.

      I say, know the rules but don't obsess.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8336142].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author thatjc
    Microsoft Word has a built-in grammar checker - just use that. Here are Microsoft's instructions:

    Word
    1. Click the File tab, and then click Options.
    2. Click Proofing.
    3. Under When correcting spelling and grammar in Word, make sure the Check grammar with spelling check box is selected.
    4. Select Show readability statistics.

    After you enable this feature, open a file that you want to check, and check the spelling. When Outlook or Word finishes checking the spelling and grammar, it displays information about the reading level of the document.

    What's the best reading level? I try to keep it down to a 6th grade level.

    It helps to follow good web writing principles, like:

    • Only 1 thought per paragraph. New thought = new paragraph.
    • Use the journalist's "Upside-Down Pyramid" style.
    • Avoid passive voice.
    • Ruthlessly remove each and every unnecessary word.
    Signature
    "You can count the seeds in an apple, but you can't count the apples in a seed."
    Online Visual Communication expert
    Visual Marketing Info signup: Visual Marketing Online
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8336105].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author timpears
    Good grammar is the best way, but perfect grammar is not required.

    For God's sake, don't use there if their is correct. Don't use here if hear is correct. Simple stuff like that will irritate me, and I believe many others. But stuff like passive phrase and such is going a bit far if you don't understand it, most others wil not either.
    Signature

    Tim Pears

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8336117].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author katherineolga
    I would learn about grammar by doing one simple thing - reading The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White. It's a must read for any writer.

    Then, I would follow grammargirl's blog.

    When people make obvious grammatical errors, it sticks out. I cringe and I can't help it. It drives me crazy and I will likely stop reading the blog.

    I also don't expect perfection, though and I KNOW that I screw up sometimes, too. I just don't want people to think "a whole nother" is actually a phrase, and I want people to know that "nother" truly isn't a word... Like I said, obvious things.

    One thing I can tell you is that you're totally fine. Your posts really ARE grammatically correct so that tells me you know what you are doing.

    I would read through Elements of Style once but don't be obsessed with it and then browse through grammar girl now and then just to see the common mistakes people make with the language and how to not do them. It really couldn't hurt.

    I wouldn't take it any further than that because as a native speaker you know what you're doing on instinct.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8336127].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Max Greenflame
    It depends on the kind of audience you target by blogging. If you target industry experts writing something difficult for an average person, you should learn grammar to fit in their society. Otherwise it's not necessarily a challenge.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8336168].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author DeborahDera
    It's an interesting question. If you are writing a blog, you are trying to be casual, so while you want to follow BASIC grammar rules so that your sentences make sense, you don't have to be perfect. Again, though, you need a basic grasp on general rules; and this in no way excuses poor spelling or punctuation.

    Originally Posted by kimonerz View Post

    Hi fellow warriors!

    I'm a native english speaker and I know if a sentence sounds right or not. The thing I don't know is the exact rules for grammar.

    Is learning the exact rules of grammar worth it? (eg. Taking classes and spending hours on learning grammar).

    Like again, I would know if a sentence is grammatically correct and kind of know how to fix it. But I can never be 100% sure that my grammar or sentence structure is correct.

    Let me know what you guys think!

    Btw the goal for me is blogging and maybe in the future have guest posts.

    Thanks,
    Kim
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8336312].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Ben Acharyaa
    It really depends tho. Using some fancy words, having no grammatical errors might make you an expert in English but you're not trying to become a professor, are you? Its more important that people get the message you're trying to convey. its useless writing a 2000 words article if you fail to connect with your readers.

    Sorry for my stupidity but is "this aint no high school" a correct sentence structure? people seem to love it!! well i wouldnt know coz i wasnt born in a native english speaking country.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8337057].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author webrankingservices2000
    Banned
    It is content what matters and not the grammar. Although if you are a lot serious then add plugins like Ginger to the chrome. They will take care of the grammar itself.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8337098].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author TimothyTorrents
    Grammar is important but you do not necessarily want your articles to sound more technical than a Wikipedia article.

    When I am not sure if something I wrote is grammatically correct, I read it out loud to myself, and if it sounds a bit off, I rephrase the sentence. It helps improve the flow of the article.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8338924].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Douriff
    Originally Posted by kimonerz View Post

    .

    Is learning the exact rules of grammar worth it? (eg. Taking classes and spending hours on learning grammar).


    Thanks,
    Kim
    Hi, I was studying languages so this is how it goes. Studying languages (your own or foreign, makes no difference - you go in depths) means that one can know grammar better than natives, but still not been able to speak like native.who has the worst grammar/spelling education, This is why there is a rule (in publishing industry), regardless of the level of knowledge, no matter how literate author or translator is- text always with no exception goes to the editor/proofreader. Period!
    I personally don't see any difference in blogging. You expect many readers, you plan to bring as many readers as possible, so the rule should be applied for your publication as for any other publication.

    If you cooperate with editor/proofreader, your knowledge will improve fast. You learn very quickly what exact mistakes you are prone to (just ask editor to tell you and to give you brief theory)
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8339726].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Tim Franklin
    Interesting topic, Communication is about language, while the grammar police may be on duty just about everywhere (including here) the truth is language is what sells, not perfection I expect that most writers even the more professional writers, could not pass a TOEFL test.

    Its about how language is used now, not how it was used 50 years ago...
    Signature
    Software Development | Applications | OSX | iOS | Android | Cloud Software Engineering |
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8339730].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author zahanega
    Since you're a native speaker, it won't be a problem if you don't speak with perfect grammar. Most people on the internet write in shorthand and speak in the vernacular anyway
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8340921].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author tomerep
    I think using simple english works best. As they said, express your words like you're talking to kids. That way, you can connect with all of your audience easily. Nobody wants to listen to "lawyers" talk you know. Remember, not all of your readers have english as their native language. So you should also consider that.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8341064].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author androifield
    Just write like you talk. No "ahm, like, you know, know what i mean" of course! I've found that it's also so much faster if you think this way. Plus, it just flows when I use this philosophy. Maybe it's just me because I;m not so much of a writer but I can talk a lot. It's almost like transcribing what I say. And it actually works because I'm quite a talker. Okay, will shut up now lol

    But... of course the game changes when your blog is about grammar, language, literature, and related niches. It's hard to convince people you're an authority on something when your words give you away. So there. Good luck!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8341611].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Todd Collins
    Depends on you audience. If you have a blog and are communicating with an every day reader, a casual tone is actually better. You want to connect with the reader.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8341711].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Karry
    Grammar is only part of being a good writer. The other part is developing your own style. It takes time and practice. Read a lot of whatever it is you want to learn to write and then start writing.

    If you want to be a paid writer who earns a decent wage, understanding grammar is a need-to-know skill. However, no writer knows all the rules because they change from time to time. That's where style guides and reference materials come in handy. They are essential tools for professional writers. Most American journalists and magazine writers and many online content writers use the AP Stylebook. It's available in print and through online subscription.

    If you're looking for a free, quick refresher course, the Contributor Academy at Yahoo! Contributor Network has a free course for online content writers. Anyone can take it. Level Two covers grammar, punctuation and some other areas you might be interested in.

    As far as grammar check in MS Word is concerned, it's a great tool; however, it's not 100% accurate. Having used it for 20+ years, I'd say it's closer to being only 70% accurate.

    Good luck with your writing career, Kim!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8342905].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author DTGeorge
    Originally Posted by kimonerz View Post

    Hi fellow warriors!

    I'm a native english speaker and I know if a sentence sounds right or not. The thing I don't know is the exact rules for grammar.

    Is learning the exact rules of grammar worth it? (eg. Taking classes and spending hours on learning grammar).

    Like again, I would know if a sentence is grammatically correct and kind of know how to fix it. But I can never be 100% sure that my grammar or sentence structure is correct.

    Let me know what you guys think!

    Btw the goal for me is blogging and maybe in the future have guest posts.

    Thanks,
    Kim
    There are many free courses which will teach you how to improve your grammar and sentence structure (for example, check out Poynter University)

    While it isn't absolutely necessary, it's certainly helpful if you're intending on guest posting and freelance writing in the future.
    Signature
    Kickass writer featured in:
    Make a Living Writing
    Be a Freelance Blogger
    Writers in Charge
    Contact me now for quality content at a reasonable rate
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8343380].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author arkina
    You can go to freelance sites and get someone to proofread for you. It will be fairly inexpensive and it is usually a writer that will do it, someone schooled in the art of grammar. But it would never be a waste to learn it. It is really becoming a lost art and should not be. Do your part in reversing the dumbing down of society lol. (I need to do the same).
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8343389].message }}

Trending Topics