In today’s online world, our ability to succeed rests in our use of language. We are constantly asked to represent ourselves through written language, and what we do with that opportunity determines how others perceive and identify us. Here’s the thing, bad grammar is not a personality trait. Neglect of correct use of language does not portray you as approachable or down-to-earth. Instead, bad grammar weakens your chances to present yourself accurately to the world around you.
One online venue where bad grammar is particularly rampant can be found in our very own email inbox. An effective email should not draw attention to itself. Incorrect grammar distracts from the actual content. An email should be memorable because of the ideas you are expressing, not because you mixed up “to” and “too,” twice.
Correct grammar itself can seem like the Bigfoot of the adult world; you’ve heard stories, but never actually encountered it. And that’s okay. There are three practical steps you can take in order to become more familiar and comfortable with grammar:
You studied it back in elementary school, but it might be time to revisit the parts of speech. These are the building blocks of correct grammar, so familiarize yourself with the tools you have at your disposal. Knowing the difference between a direct and indirect object takes no more than five minutes on YouTube, but this knowledge can lay the foundation to communicating clearly.
Pay attention to when something is incorrect. Instead of letting spell-check fix all your problems, look into why it is a problem in the first place. It seems tedious now, but saves you from correcting the same problem over and over.
As stated before, correct grammar does not draw attention to itself. But paying attention to well-written articles, books, and posts can help with your own grammar. Our brains naturally look for similarities, and so if you find grammatical similarities in those well-written pieces you can replicate them in your own writing.
Perhaps the lessons of comma placement and prepositional phrases that were taught in bygone days had left a bitter taste in your mouth. But don’t let that stop you from establishing a comprehensive foundation of your own language. Grammar reaches far beyond commas, predicates, and sentence diagrams and into the realm of self-expression. By taking the time to master your use of language, you are able accurately represent yourself. Correct grammar speaks volumes so you don’t have to.