So you want to figure out how to be a better writer.
I could tell you it’s easy or that there’s one simple secret to becoming a better writer that you’ve never heard before.
But if I did that, I’d be lying.
Becoming a better writer will take work, but it doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. And the secret to improving?
There are a lot of them, but one of the most important ones is something you’ve probably heard plenty before:
To improve your writing, learn about grammar.
I bet you’d love it if I could tell you that you can become a better writer without worrying about adverbs and punctuation, that grammar doesn’t matter. I’ve seen other blog posts that say you don’t need to worry about it, but that’s crazy talk. If I could, I stand in front of every house of every grammar hater with a big sign that says “GRAMMAR MATTERS!!!” in bold red letters.
Some writers may disagree, but in my humble opinion, improving grammar is probably the first thing a non-writer should do to write more effectively, powerfully, and clearly.
However, you don’t need to go enroll in a night class at the local college to learn more. And you don’t need to hire a tutor. Check out this post for simple ways to improve your grammar on your own.
Here are all the reasons grammar matters and how it can vastly improve your writing if you learn and implement the rules in your writing.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I could earn a small commission if you use the links. I only recommend a few items or services I love. See my complete disclosure.
WHY GRAMMAR MATTERS
Your Message Will Be Easier to Understand
Have you ever read something that was written so poorly you couldn’t even understand what the writer was saying?
Communicating through writing can be hard because you can’t always clarify what you’re saying if the other person doesn’t understand (i.e., text messaging!). You have to try to send your message as clearly as possible the first time, especially if you only have a few seconds of your reader’s time.
Recently, I read a blog post with helpful information, but it contained lots of typos and was missing several words. There was one word missing at an essential part of the post, so it lost its meaning. That one word was so important that I missed the central message, almost like a movie scene that cut off at the climax. SO disappointing!
Grammar teaches you how to structure sentences so that they make sense. When you write correctly, you can send your message exactly as you intend to and leave less room for misinterpretation.
Your Writing Will Flow
When you use proper grammar, your words will fit together beautifully. Your writing will flow and be much easier for readers to get through.
You have only a few seconds to capture a reader’s attention and keep them from moving on to their daily Facebook scroll while they eat their cereal or take a “break” at work.
If your writing is hard to read because of poor sentence structure, nobody will waste time trying to understand what you’re saying. They might even assume you don’t really know what you’re talking about, even if that’s completely untrue.
When your writing flows, people will want to come back for more. If it’s easy to read, it makes sense, and the message is appealing, people will return to see what else you have to say.
You’ll Appear to be an Authority
Recently, I got an email claiming I needed to take action on my website domain. Within two or three seconds of glancing at the email, I knew it was spam. The email had several grammar and punctuation errors, which I knew wouldn’t there if the message had been legitimate.
People won’t take your blog posts seriously if your grammar looks like that of a spammer. It makes your content lose value.
You can still have a fun, conversational tone, and write with proper grammar. Good grammar doesn’t have to stifle your personal tone; instead, it will help your voice to come across more genuinely.
You’ll Be Able to Write Quicker and with More Ease
Have you ever had to teach anything that you didn’t know much about? I was a missionary for my church a long time ago, and I felt anxious about teaching people when I first began.
After completely immersing myself in the lessons I would be sharing, my nerves slipped away. Teaching was no problem anymore because I had become completely comfortable with the material.
One of the biggest reasons you may not feel comfortable writing is because you aren’t familiar with the rules. When you learn about grammar, writing will be faster and easier. The process will be more natural for you.
In her book The Ultimate Writing Guide for Students, Mignon Fogarty (aka Grammar Girl) says, “I think of grammar as rules for the game of writing. Knowing these rules will give you the confidence to produce the best writing you can and make sure your ideas are taken seriously.”
How to Learn More about Grammar without Taking an English Class
I wrote a whole post about ways to improve your grammar, but I’ll mention some of my favorite resources and why I love them:
Woe is I by Patricia T. O’Conner
Woe is I is a book created for “grammarphobes.” As a lover of grammar, I’m not a grammarphobe, but I still love this book. O’Conner explains the seemingly boring rules with a humorous approach. She teaches grammar and punctuation in a way that makes sense.
I’d buy this book just for the humor, but her grammar lessons are definitely on point!
I’ll mention Grammar Girl’s books, articles, and podcasts a lot. Mignon Fogerty, the woman behind Grammar Girl, explains grammar clearly. She also provides information that can affect people in everyday situations, such as conversations, work emails, etc.
I use her website as a guide and follow her on Facebook for motivation and helpful posts. However, I’ve also found her book The Ultimate Writing Guide for Students to be a useful, comprehensive grammar guide. The title claims this book is for students, but The Ultimate Writing Guide is perfect for anyone who needs a basic understanding of grammar.
Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab)
One website I use frequently is Purdue OWL. You can search a grammar principle you need help with, and Purdue OWL will likely have a page with a clear explanation of the rule, as well as helpful examples.
Purdue OWL is where I turn if I’m in the middle of writing and have a quick question about something I’m unsure of. It’s great for quick, concrete information.
If you need to improve your writing, I feel comfortable enough to promise you that learning grammar will help (as long as you apply what you learn).
You don’t have to become a grammar snob, but you can become comfortable enough with grammar that writing no longer has to be a struggle.
What are your grammar pain points? Comment below!
P.S. If you need some more personalized help, I offer editing and consulting services. Nothing would make me happier than helping in the way YOU need it the most. Check out my services to see if there’s something that works for you!