We all make grammar mistakes every now and then. None of us are perfect and none of us are Shakespeare. I like to think I am reasonably well educated but there are still times when I mistake my vowels for my consonants, and I misspell the same words over and over. The word that I always get wrong? “Pronunciation”. Thank God for Chrome spell checker.
But as always, the Internet comes to the rescue. Here are some websites that can help you distinguish between your W’s and your wobble-yoos.
“Monster” is the right name for this site. It has a HUGE amount of information on all aspects of English grammar. One thing that I always get hammered for by other clients, is my love for commas. I just, love, putting, commas in, all my, sentences, whenever I, can. Therefore, this big section on commas is what I need to keep those critics at bay.
The site extends to every conceivable area of English grammar imaginable. Do you lie awake at night, tossing and turning, worrying about your comparatives and superlatives? Or whether you are mixing your conjunctions with your interjections? Then Grammar Monster has your back.
Sign up for their newsletter, get a Daily Grammar Tip, and test yourself if you think you’re confident enough.
Grammar Girl is known for her popular podcast, where she has a near perfect score from lots of satisfied users. GG’s real name is Mignon Fogarty (I love her name), and she delves into the various aspects of the English language that confounds the most ablest of minds. And she has some impressive credentials to back her up too.
None other than Oprah Winfrey herself has lauded Mignon’s grammatical services, and on the front page, she has a list of awards as long as your arm. Assuming your arm is REALLY long, that is.
What makes her site so attractive is that she makes the whole learning experience fun. For example, she discussed whether or not the Minions spoke a real language. She teaches you how to recognize a grammar nerd. Then she got me riled up when she insisted that you don’t do two spaces after the end of a sentence (sorry, but I am an old-schooler who learned on a typewriter. I am a two-spacer).
And to finally drive the nail in, she discussed commas. Hello commas my old friend.
Every writer worth their salt knows the Chicago Manual of Style. Every second job advert for a writer always says in the “Job Requirements” section – “must be familiar with Chicago Manual of Style”.
That’s why, if words pay your bills, you need to be on this site. It currently has the full 15th and 16th editions on the site, but the sticky part is that it is not free. After a 30 day free trial, you need to pay $35 a year for full access. That’s just under $3 a month. Just sacrifice a Starbucks coffee every month and you’ll be all set. You can probably even include it as a tax write-off, if you are a writer or journalist.
As well as the two full volumes, the site also offers a forum to discuss grammar questions with other subscribers. The Tools section gives you sample template letters to accompany your manuscripts to publications, as well as a list of marks made by proofreaders, so you can instantly know what that little squiggle is supposed to be saying.
When you first visit the Daily Grammar page, the first thing that will hit you is that it is not very visually appealing. There’s too much text, and no graphics (apart from the adverts on the page). So it’s not something you immediately want to jump into. But it wastes no time in giving you the link to lesson 1, and I soon found the lessons strangely addictive (I aced every one. Take that, English teacher who gave me a C grade!).
The front page says there are 440 lessons and 88 quizzes, covering every area of English grammar. The blog gives daily quizzes and you can sign up by email and RSS for those. Daily Grammar also has an eBook, flipbook, and workbook. These are not free though, but you do have free limited previews.
The title of this site makes it very clear from the get-go which segment of the Internet they are targeting with their material! And Rule Number One? “Stop Writing Junk”. Maybe BuzzFeed writers should take heed of this advice? Or perhaps instead they will write an article containing 50 reasons why they won’t? And number 35 will make you cry.
Lousy Writer teaches you how to write better. As well as the Chicago Manual of Style, the site also covers the APA style (American Psychological Association), and the MLA style (Modern Language Association). You will be shown how to write better ad copy and better blog copy. You can download several free eBooks on grammar and writing better, as well as listen to an audio and video podcast.
I am on the fence about how I personally feel about Grammarly. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with it in the past, installing and uninstalling it on a frequent basis. But nearly everyone I ask raves about the thing, so I figured I would be remiss in letting my prejudices get in the way of what everyone else sees as a great tool.
The browser plugin claims to “fix over 250 types of errors Microsoft Word can’t find”. Which is good, but I find the plugin to be a bit in the way when I am writing. As I am writing something, a box may pop up, disagreeing with something I have written. I know it’s correct but Grammarly digs its heels in and insists it’s wrong. When it gets to the point when you are arguing and cursing out loud at a browser plugin, that’s when you know it’s time to uninstall it. But hey, other people disagree with me, and that’s cool. Whatever works for you.
The Grammarly Handbook is merely a section of the site that gives you information on various aspects of grammar, as well as how to improve your writing. The site also has a Yahoo Answers-style section called Grammarly Answers, where anyone can leave their linguistic conundrums for anyone else to answer.
These videos, produced by the British Council, are aimed at young people, as you can see from the animation. Anyone struggling with their grammar, whether it be a young English mother-tongue speaker, or a foreigner, will find these videos extremely useful. Each video has subtitles, and as the animated figures speak, you will see the subtitles light up to show you the place they are currently talking at, as well as the important grammar phrases you should remember.
iPhone users can take advantage of the interactive grammar app, which is free of charge. Nothing for Android, which is a serious slip-up.
Road to Grammar is a simple site, but extremely useful if you are having grammar issues. There are 365 quizzes, each with its own notes explaining things, as well as a PDF copy of the quiz, in case you have a sudden urge to do some compound nouns while sitting on the toilet. I’m sure you’ve felt that urge many times. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Stop resisting.
As well as those 365 quizzes, you can also choose to do “extended practice”, word games, download PDF and Powerpoint exercises, and take a business English mini-course.
Here at MakeUseOf we like infographics. So I thought it would be appropriate for me to end this article with a link to some grammar infographics. 11 to be precise. The folks at Visual.ly have, as usual, put together some fantastic looking ones which you should download to your computer and memorize.
Vee Hav Vays of Making Yoo Say Wobble-Yoo!
So, tell us in the comments below, which grammar websites make you all hot and bothered inside? And what is the biggest grammar blooper that really gets you worked up?