Judging Grammar

Grammar. That pesky lesson we all have to learn to pass English class. That mildly annoying form of communication that the teachers drill you on until you’re ready to scream.

But if you’re a writer, grammar can actually be your bread and butter.

My “day job” is actually two jobs. I spend three days a week tutoring reading and writing at a local technical college and then two days a week (during the school year), I substitute teach for our school district. One of the perks of this is the new and varying classrooms I get to visit. Recently it was a Language Arts room and I came across a really awesome grammar book.

I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar and its sequel More Badder Grammar is based off all the signs and grammar oops the site members have seen over the years. Its mildly amusing and a lot of fun to look through, although they’ve (if I remember correctly) mostly corrected the mistakes. If you’d like to see more grammar oops, check out the Facebook group the books are based on.

And always, watch your grammar!

(I’m not actually associated with the Facebook group, nor do I have any association with either book. I am not making any profit from this post for these books or Facebook group.)

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Passive Voice?

Passive voice is the bane of a writer’s existence. I’m sure everyone has gotten that mark across their writing “Your voice is passive” whether it’s from an editor, a peer, or a teacher. But really, what is passive voice?

The easiest explanation for it is when you don’t know who is doing the action. And this page from How to Write the Story is one of the best examples of how to fix passive voice.

Not only is it fun and amusing (zombies people!), but it clearly and succinctly explains passive voice. With examples and even including tweetables, this is probably the most straightforward example of the difference between active and passive voice that I have ever seen.

What do you think of passive voice? Is it something you find yourself using in your writing? Or do you try to avoid it?

Grammar-itis Take One

It must be grammar day. Or writing day. Or something day. In my emails today, I was tagged with two grammar sites and three different writing commentaries. Actually now that I think about it, that’s not much for me. It’s actually a slow day when I don’t get a few posts about writing.

But not everyone has friends who are writers, aspiring writers, or amateur writers. (And hey thesaurus, amateur doesn’t necessary mean sloppy!) So I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve been sent over the next few entries.

Today from the lovely k3nj1ph1, I have an article about word usage from Writer’s Circle. Now anything I link to or post on here is to be used at your own discretion. It is not intended to become a bible for you.

So the idea here (as near as I can tell) is to use more active words. And I’m all for that. I think writing should be exciting and fun and we should have action in it!

Now if you haven’t clicked the link, you should because I’m going to discuss a couple of the things in the actual article.

Very/Really
I’m not sure you need to delete this completely. I could understand using them in some places. Or at least using them sparingly. That being said, I am going to keep an eye on MY usage over the next few weeks of my writing.

Suddenly
I’m sure I use this entirely too much. Or I did. I’m absolutely going to keep an eye out for the usage and attempt to replace it. In my editing if nothing else.

Amazing/Awesome
I had a difficult time not laughing at this one. It’s one I hear A LOT with students so it’s already on my list of not to use, but it’s still a good one to keep in mind.

That
I actually had a professor my senior year of college who made us go through three or four papers and find our most commonly used phrase. Mine was “the fact that”. Now this was essay writing and I still find myself using the phrase, but I’ve cut down a lot. I can see how it would be useful not to use it.

I found the article interesting, I will definitely be reading more on this site. And I hope you found the article helpful. Until next time. Happy writing!