Writing Wednesdays: How to nail some basic grammar and spelling

Do you struggle with spelling and grammar in your writing? Here's some advice on how to nail the basics.

I’ll be honest: when I read stories online, I prefer those with good grammar and good spelling. I find them easier to read and that’s just my personal preference on it. For those of you who find it difficult to get the hang of grammar and spelling, I’m hoping this will help you out.

Paragraphs are your friend.


They will make your book sooooo much easier for anybody to read, no matter the state of the rest of your grammar. Start a new paragraph every time there’s a new speaker. This avoids confusion as to who is talking. Start a new paragraph when you’re changing the topic. 

For instance, if you write a paragraph describing what a room looks like, maybe start a new paragraph when your character starts to do something. If you’re confused about when to start a new paragraph, try reading something – articles, stories (even just a few pages), anything like that – and try and pick up on when they change paragraph, and think about why that is.


Spellcheck is on most computers/devices now, so unless you’re handwriting, it’s easy to sort out your spelling.


Microsoft Word automatically puts a squiggly red underline on anything that’s not registered as proper spelling, and all you have to do it right-click and choose the right spelling. Spelling can be difficult for some people, and that’s okay – and if you’re worried about bad spelling in your book, you can use spellcheck to fix that! Sometimes it’s a bit trickier to use, but it’s usually available, and if you make yourself familiar with it, it doesn’t need to be an issue for you.


You can research things like ‘two/to/too’ and when to use apostrophes.


Even if you hated English lessons at school (or, whatever literature/language classes you had), if you want to write a book, you can Google the things you’re confused on and try to learn for yourself. It might be boring and take a while, but it might well be worth it, especially if you post your work online. Even if you don’t get it right all the time, your readers will give you credit for trying!


Punctuation.


If you’re not sure, and can’t figure it out, don’t use it. Semi-colons and colons and parentheses can be really tricky to grasp, and if you’re confused even after Googling about when to use them, then it’s okay not to use them. 

But, remember to use commas and full stops. They will break your writing down a little bit, and make it easier to digest. Like I said with the paragraphs – it just makes it so much easier to read something that’s got a comma to break up a long sentence, and a full stop at the end of a sentence. 

You might also like this post on some basic punctuation rules.

I’ve come across sentences that go on for five lines and have no commas or any punctuation at all and it can be really awkward to read and confusing sometimes too. You don’t have to bother with the trickier punctuation if you can’t get the hang of it, but full stops and commas are worth your while.

Ooh, and speech marks. You can use ‘ or “ and it really doesn’t matter, as long as you use speech marks when someone is talking. Again, it makes it a lot easier to figure out what’s going on, minimises confusion, and they’re very simple to use.


Stop stressing out about it.


The whole grammar and spelling thing might be pretty daunting for you, and that’s okay. Like I said, there are ways around it – like spellchecking, and doing a quick Google of anything you’re not sure of. And for the stuff you really can’t get the hang of – at least you tried! I hope you do try, and don’t give up too quickly.


You might also like this post on some basic grammar rules.


Read other books!


See what other writers are doing. Reading can help improve your grammar, punctuation, etc.

Finally, a note: I have read online and heard from people that having exactly correct grammar isn’t necessary in a manuscript, because when you’re getting it published there are people who can sort it out, and you don’t have to worry about it. But, when you’re self-publishing online, there won’t be someone whose job it is to fix your grammar, so it’s worth trying your hardest. And the more you practice, the more you’ll get to grips with it.


Are spelling and grammar things you've struggled with as a writer? Share in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Have u ever tried external professional essay writing services like DigitalEssay.net ? I did and I am more than satisfied.

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