Grammar. Have you thought about it lately? Whether or not your job requires extensive writing or content creation, taking the time to make sure your written communication is free of grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes is always worth it.
Don’t believe me?
When was the last time you got a text or Slack message from a colleague where you weren’t sure about the tone or meaning? How sentences are structured, coupled with punctuation, can go a long way in avoiding misunderstandings and making your message clear.
Prioritizing your grammar will help you master communication, which will, in many cases, make you an instant VIP among your colleagues. It’s not enough any more to simply rely on the built-in checkers within, for instance, MS Word or Google Docs━those tools may flag some of the more glaring mistakes in your writing, but they certainly won’t help with issues like word misuse, redundancies, and some of the more nuanced rules of grammar.
There are many free tools out there right now, but since you’re here with us, why not try out QuillBot’s Grammar Checker? We’ve taught our AI models all of the rules for grammar, punctuation, and spelling, so with one pass, you will be alerted to any flaws in your writing. The grammar checker will then give you options to fix the issues, and in polishing your work, you will also learn what types of mistakes you make over and over, helping you become a better writer, faster!
If you’re still not convinced of how inattention to flawless grammar can hamper you in your career, you can read on as we break down the most common issues that can be avoided with a little more focused intention.
What is the purpose of grammar?
Grammar explains the rules for how we communicate both verbally and via written language. Without grammar, we wouldn't have a standard language (no matter what your native language is, because every language uses grammar) or method of communication.
By using correct grammar, we are able to effectively share ideas and feelings with other people. Whether this is through face-to-face communication, text messages, emails, advertisements, or art and media, grammar allows us to arrange words in a way that makes sense to one another.
What does it mean to have good grammar?
Simply put, having good grammar means you communicate in a way that is clear and easy for others to understand. If you have good grammar, you're able to follow the basic rules and conventions of your language.
If you're communicating verbally, sentence structure and word choice are the two most important aspects of using proper grammar. You'll need to use the correct words in the correct places in the sentence so the people who are listening to you speak can comprehend your message.
If you're communicating via written language, there are a few extra components that you need to be aware of. While there is a debate over whether or not spelling and punctuation fall under the larger umbrella of grammar, it's important to mention while we're discussing written communication.
If you're writing, you'll also need to be aware of how to spell each word you're using and how to punctuate all of your sentences. If you're unsure, that's okay; most grammar checkers will check spelling and punctuation for you as well.
Grammar Mistakes to Avoid
Grammar can be hard, even for native speakers. Obviously, we're going to be focusing on the English language and, subsequently, English grammar, but grammar mistakes can be made in any language, so always be aware.
Here are a few common grammar mistakes, and how you can avoid them moving forward. We've got a whole blog post on this topic, so we'll be brief here.
Subject-verb agreement is one of the most important facets of grammar. If you want to read and sound fluent, or at least comprehensible, you'll need to master it.
So, by that logic, subject-verb disagreement is disastrous. It is bad grammar, full stop.
Here's an example:
Disagreement: My grandma are being friendly today.
The trucks is going fast.
Agreement: My grandma is being friendly today.
The trucks are going fast.
To sum it up: if the subject is singular (ex: grandma, cat, window), the verb must be singular (ex: is, knits, eats). If the subject is plural (ex: grandmas, cats, windows), the verb must be plural (ex: are, knit, eat).
Excessive Use of Adverbs
Using an adverb does not automatically mean you have bad grammar, but using adverbs too much really hinders effective communication.
Using too many adverbs is a hallmark of lazy writing. While your sentence(s) might be mechanically correct, adverbs are a stylistic nightmare that could mark you as someone with a poor understanding of grammar rules.
Here's an example of using too many adverbs:
"He shouted angrily as the door slammed loudly. The silence that followed hung thickly."
Here is that same sentence, minus the adverbs:
"I hate you!" he shouted as the door slammed, echoing around the room like a shot. The silence that followed was thick and heavy."
See how the second example is much more engaging to read, and helps to paint a picture in your head? Adverbs suck the senses out of your writing.
Wrong Word Usage
Obviously using the wrong words in the wrong places is not good, and is a core component of incorrect grammar.
We get it: there are a lot of words in the English language. No one knows what every single word means, but it's important to get the basics down (think: words you'd use in everyday conversation).
If you're not sure how to use a particular word, don't guess. Use a dictionary or a good ol' fashioned search engine to determine the word's exact meaning(s). Using a word in the wrong way is way worse than just not using the word at all.
Using big words doesn't make you sound smart; using all words in the correct way makes you sound smart.
What is the best way to check your grammar?
Sure, you could ask a friend, a colleague, or a classmate for help proofreading your work. But human error is something none of us are immune to... except, of course, AI systems.
Allow for a shameless plug. QuillBot's Grammar Checker is top-of-the-line, allowing users to review and correct all grammatical errors at once, or one at a time.
If something doesn't seem right, the grammar checker will employ the use of the Paraphraser to suggest new ways of writing each sentence in order to make your writing sound as smooth and fluent as possible.
The Benefits of Learning Grammar
Using the correct grammar is imperative for effectively communicating with the people and world around you. Whether you're using spoken language or writing to get your ideas across, it's important that others can understand what you're trying to say. If they can't understand you, then they won't engage with you and you won't be able to get anything done.
Here are 3 specific benefits of learning correct grammar.
A lack of attention to grammar is the equivalent of a lack of attention to detail because of how much our communication is done these days via text, email, Slack messages, etc.
A misplaced modifier or punctuation mistake can lead to misunderstandings during the updating and/or hand-off of daily tasks to other teams or colleagues, especially if they are operating on a different schedule than you are.
Is your bad writing making it so another team struggles to support yours because they either 1) don’t understand and then must wait for you to answer their questions before they can proceed or 2) think they know what you need but have misunderstood completely?
Is checking your work for these kinds of mistakes an extra step? Yes. But it can save you, your team, and your organization a ton of time and money in the long run. Misunderstandings can come at a huge, unnecessary cost, especially since it will take you less than 5 minutes to run your work through a free online grammar checker.
Indeed describes professionalism in this way:
“Professionalism includes standards for behavior and the employee's ability to embody the company's values and do what their employer expects of them.”
It is, therefore, important that you, as both an employee and a purveyor of your company’s brand, craft your tone with attention to grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
Too many of these types of errors can make you seem lazy, unprofessional, or even careless, which is rarely the message you want to be putting out there for yourself or your brand. On the other hand, if you have upheld a constant, high standard of flawless writing and written communication, you are sure to get noticed.
Clarifying Your Message
Of the “15 professional characteristics for the workplace” listed by Indeed, all but a few can be directly linked to communicating effectively. Behaving ethically, as well as being organized, respectful, accountable, reliable, poised, focused, and controlled are all on that list. How can you hope to achieve these characteristics, and maintain them, if you lack real focus on the different elements of your writing?
For example, when you are behind on a deadline or a project isn’t working out, you need to be clear about how your team can help you get back on track or pivot. Any kind of ambiguity due to lack of commas or word misuse is only going to put you and your team farther behind the curve. Ambiguity is a recipe for stress and doing more work than is needed, in terms of communication, just to get your message across. Avoid this with a simple grammar check.
If your business is growing and you have big plans for the future, then it also pays to avoid grammatical errors so that you can explain your vision plainly. What do you want to see happen for your team or your organization? Great grammar ensures your message is clear to your audience or customers, as well as your colleagues. Clarifying your message in this context is a great example of how clear, error-free communication can unite a team, giving way to the synergy that creates large-scale, rapid growth.
Other Tools that Help with Writing and Grammar
Grammar checkers are the obvious choice for helping with grammar-related issues. However, there are a whole slew of writing tools out there that help with writing and comprehension, which in turn will improve grammar.
Using an AI writer can sound like a scary process, but it's not. They're just there to help you out. Real sinister, huh?
QuillBot's Co-Writer does everything a regular AI writer can do and more.
Sure, it generates text and matches tone. But it also has a built-in Paraphraser, Grammar Checker, Summarizer, notebook, and research tab.
By using the Co-Writer, you're ensuring that everything you write is cohesive, correct, and totally understandable.
You might be wondering, "How on earth is a summarizing tool going to help me with my grammar?"
Well, I'll tell you.
The Summarizer condenses written information into bite-sized pieces of text. If your writing has incorrect grammar that is muddling your message, the summarizer will kick out a summarization that doesn't match what you were trying to say.
On the other hand, if your grammar is good and your message is clear, the summarizer will confirm that you're on the right track and doing a good job of communicating.
We've always been told that proper grammar is important, but now we know why it's important.
Grammatical errors can hinder your communication skills and, furthermore, your relationships with those around you.
Grammar is important in your career, your personal life, and every second in between. If you want to connect with other people, master your language in both the spoken and written form.
Grammar is a part of everything we communicate. It's impossible to have a fulfilling life without being able to properly understand one another.