Good grammar isn’t just something your primary school teacher tried to beat into your head – it’s a necessity in today’s world. And it doesn’t matter if you’re doing academic research, writing a quarterly report or crafting the next great novel, the quality of your writing is a direct reflection of your professionalism and your credibility.
To be able to write in a way that’s refined, engaging, interesting and most importantly readable, you have to have good grammar. But what actually goes into grammar analysis and how do you do it? Let’s take a closer look and discover the ways that you can take your writing from “meh” to marvelous!
Why Good Grammar Matters
Grammar is at the very heart of your writing. It’s the set of rules that dictate how words can be used and how sentences should be structured. Good grammar makes your writing easier to understand and conveys what you want to share in a way that’s clear and straightforward. Bad grammar can lead to misunderstandings, confusion and unfortunately, stain your reputation as a content creator.
Good grammar goes beyond just communicating your message clearly though. It also speaks volumes in professional settings and shows your attention and respect for the reader and their ability to understand what you’re writing. Good grammar can help make your arguments or perspectives more persuasive.
So as you can see, writing good well is not just a skill that’s “nice to have”, it’s a must-have in order to engage your readers and keep them coming back for more. And although we’re often taught the rules and structure and how grammar works in our writing, we’re never really shown how to do an accurate and detailed grammar analysis.
Fortunately, we at Originality.AI are here to help! There are several ways to do a grammar analysis. The good news is that you can often pick and choose the method that works best for you depending on your needs. Before we jump right in though, it’s important to take two preliminary steps. These will ensure that you’ve not only got a good grasp on grammar itself, but will also help you sidestep any major errors in your writing before you even get to the analysis part.
Before You Begin: Review the Basics
Before you even jump into analyzing the grammar of your writing, it’s important to review the basics if you’re a little rusty. There are plenty of great resources online that can walk you through it painlessly. Refresh your knowledge of things like parts of speech, sentence structure, verb tenses, punctuation and every grammarian’s favorite, dangling participles.
Once you’ve got a clear grasp on the fundamentals, it’s time to move onto the first step.
The First Step: Self-Editing
Once you finish a draft, take a break. You’ve read over that draft dozens of times already and because your brain thinks that it knows it already, it’s easy to gloss over the same sentences and words without realizing that there’s anything wrong with them.
Next, come back and review your work with fresh eyes. Look for common issues like subject-verb agreement, misplaced modifiers and comma splices. Once you’ve given your work a once-over, it’s time to dive into the grammar check test.
Online Grammar Checkers
Having an article grammar checker by your side can be a great way to save time and make sure that your writing is as polished as possible. There are several online tools that help you check text grammar, including Grammarly, ProWritingAid, Hemingway and many others. All of them have their pros and cons.
For example, true to its name,Hemingway encourages more concise and straightforward writing, but this can lead to an oversimplification when trying to explain more complex ideas. It also doesn’t understand context and nuance to the level of depth that a human writer does and will often flag things unnecessarily.
Having a peer or colleague review your writing is a great way to get another set of eyes on your content. It’s entirely possible that through their reading, they’ll catch errors you missed. You can also seek out online forums and other communities for an unbiased review.
For important documents, it may be worth hiring a professional editor. Their background in grammar, punctuation, flow and other aspects of writing can provide you with a detailed analysis and give you ideas and suggestions for improvement.
Reverse reading can be a great way to “trick your brain” and force it out of its familiarity rut. Read your work backwards sentence by sentence or even word by word. It helps to break the flow of reading which in turn helps you focus on individual sentences and words, bringing errors more clearly to the forefront so you can correct them.
Using different colors to highlight different parts of speech (including nouns, verbs, adjectives and so on) can help you quickly identify common grammatical issues like the overuse of passive voice or adverbs).
This throwback to your primary school days may be old-school, but in some instances it can be incredibly helpful. By visually mapping out the structure of your sentences into individual components, you can see how their grammatical relationships are defined and spot errors more easily.
Read at a Different Speed
Remember how I said that your brain likes to jump over things you’ve already read because it’s familiar? Reading at a different speed helps to break that pattern. A slow, deliberate read can help you focus on the details of grammar while a quick read can help you spot issues with the overall flow of your piece.
Read Out Loud
Record yourself reading your work out loud. Listening to yourself read aloud, especially areas where you might stumble, can help you uncover grammatical errors or awkward phrasing that you might not notice when reading silently.
Common Grammar Pitfalls to Avoid
Even the most skilled writers can fall victim to certain common grammatical pitfalls. Here are some of the most common ones to watch out for:
Subject verb agreement - The team of researchers are presenting their findings tomorrow, versus the team of researchers is presenting their findings tomorrow. Team is singular, so the verb should be singular as well.
Run-on sentences and fragments - The conference was enlightening it provided many networking opportunities. This run on sentence needs a semicolon after enlightening. A sentence fragment example would be “Although the storm was approaching.” Although the storm was approaching…(what happened next?)
Misplaced modifiers - I almost saw all the paintings in the museum in one hour versus the correct I saw almost all the paintings in the museum in one hour. “Almost” should be placed before “all the paintings”.
Incorrect punctuation - My friend, who lives in New York, and loves jazz, is visiting next week uses the comma incorrectly versus My friend, who lives in New York and loves jazz, is visiting next week. Or, The Smith’s are coming to the party versus the correct version: The Smiths are coming to the party.
Passive voice overuse - One of the most common grammatical errors. An example would be The new product was launched by the company last week, versus The company launched the new product last week.
How to Make Your Writing Sound More Polished
The bottom line is that if you want to grammar check text beyond what an article grammar checker covers, it’s important to read your work aloud, simplify where possible and as with any skill worth knowing – practice! Be consistent in your tone of voice and your stylistic choices. The more you write, the better you’ll become!
Try Originality.AI’s comprehensive collection of writing tools to help you improve your writing, including our free Sentence Rewriter and Readability Checker and see the difference for yourself!