Improve Your Writing by Avoiding These Common Errors
Most writers ignore these traditional but still valid rules.
When I was a high school English teacher, a colleague once informed me that I was “not a grammar teacher.” She meant that I should not be teaching grammar to my students, presumably because it is an outdated teaching method like reciting poetry from memory or taking notes with a slate and chalk. I disagreed: “I am a grammar teacher. To write properly, students must know grammar rules. To understand grammar rules, one needs a vocabulary for talking about language; that’s why I continue to teach grammar rules, give grammar exercises for homework, and test students on grammar and usage.”
If you want to be a good writer, whether you are a blogger, an academic, or an aspiring dramatist, you must use proper grammar. That means you might need a few lessons in English grammar. Just putting your draft through Grammarly is not enough.
If you want to write for a very small audience and make no money, feel free to ignore this advice. If you would like to make money from your writing or write for major publications, you will be expected to know proper sentence structure, and usage, as well as punctuation and capitalization rules.
There is no such thing as a language or language variety (dialect) without rules. Even the most nonstandard dialect has grammar rules; they are simply different rules from the standard dialect of that language. A nonstandard variety of a language is not a “lazy” or chaotic version of the standard language. For example, in Black Vernacular English (also known as Ebonics), the present tense is rendered differently from Standard American English. In BVE, “He workin’” means the equivalent of “He is working” in SAE, whereas “He be workin’” in BVE means the equivalent of “He has a job,” or “He works regularly” in SAE. People speaking in Black neighborhoods all over the U.S. do not use the two present tenses interchangeably. They follow the organized rules of their language (I am remembering this example from a university linguistics lecture from many years ago. Speakers of Black English should feel free to correct me if this information is inaccurate).