English is complicated. I get it. Punctuation fluctuation, present tense vs. present perfect tense, homonyms vs. synonyms, weird spelling…all that confusion is enough to drive even pillars of the community to drink! That’s a good excuse for some of us, but sometimes you want to just poke someone in the snoot when they correct your grammar, which is an awfully good reason to not go around correcting people’s grammar. But, well, sometimes it makes my eyes bleed when I read some of what passes for proper writing out there, and I just can’t help myself.
On the other hand, only the Absolutely Perfect among us don’t have a little grammar bobble from time to time, and, regretfully, I haven’t found myself in that category. So even I, Grammar Psycho that I am, need to brush up on it a bit from time to time. Some need much more, as is obvious from a casual stroll through your Facebook feed.
To the rescue: Writer’s Digest has an article that explains TONS of little grammar tripping hazards. It’s quick and easy, and pretty comprehensive. And each of those little tips has a link to a more thorough explanation of each area if it’s not obvious from a glance what they’re driving at. And some of them made me stop and think. That’s good, at least in this case.
(Feel-Good Bonus: #44 is grammatically incorrect, probably put in there on purpose so we lesser beings can realize that even the experts flub from time to time. Even so, I should win a kewpie doll for finding it. Or should I? Alternate opinions are welcome!)
Good stuff…dig in!
63 Grammar Rules for Writers
Here are 63 grammar rules for writers to assist them with better writing skills. Each rule includes a quick breakdown and links to a post that goes into more detail with examples. This list will be updated with new rules as we add them to the site.
Robert Lee Brewer
Jun 12, 2020
If you’re anything like me, you have a love-hate relationship with grammar. On one hand, grammar rules are necessary for greater understanding and more effective communication. On the other hand, there are just so many rules (and so many exceptions to the rules). It can be overwhelming.
But fear not! We are here to share a plethora of grammar rules for writers that we’ve tackled over the years. If you have a question, we may have the answer. And if we don’t, be sure to share your question in the comments below.
So let’s dig into these grammar rules together.
63 Grammar Rules for Writers
Below is our list of grammar rules for writers. We give a quick explanation after each bullet point. But click on each link for further understanding and examples of correct usage.
- “A” before consonants and “an” before vowels is not the rule. Rather, the rule is that “a” is placed before consonant-sounding words and “an” before vowel-sounding words.
- A lot vs. alot vs. allot. “A lot” is either an adverb or pronoun, “allot” is a verb, and “alot” doesn’t exist.
- Affect vs. effect. “Affect” is usually used as a verb, while “effect” is usually a noun.
- Allude vs. elude. “Allude” means to suggest or hint at something, while “elude” means to evade or escape.
- Alright vs. all right. “All right” is a commonly used phrase for okay, while “alright” doesn’t technically exist.
- Analogy vs. metaphor vs. simile. A “metaphor” is something, a “simile” is like something, and an “analogy” explains how one thing being like another helps explain them both.
- Are subjects joined by “and” singular or plural? It depends on if the subjects are independent of each other.
- Awhile vs. a while. If you can swap out the word “while” with “period of time,” then you’re likely dealing with “a while.” If not, then you’re likely dealing with “awhile.”
- Bi-annual vs. biennial. “Bi-annual” means twice a year; biennial means once every two years.
- Can I use contractions in my writing? While avoiding contractions may be proper, it can also be quite stilted.