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7 Reasons Why Perfect Grammar is the Secret Weapon
Those who know how to write well generally have an easier time communicating with their friends, teachers and bosses at work.
Being able to articulate an idea may also make it easier to have that idea approved by a teacher or manager because he or she is better able to understand what it entails.
But what are some other reasons why having good grammar and writing skills can help you get ahead in life?
1. Learning English Grammar Rules Allows for Smoother Writing
Some teachers tell their students that a comma should be placed anytime there is a natural pause in their writing. However, this is not the case at all, and it could result in choppy writing that is hard to understand.
Commas are used to separate a non-essential clause from an essential clause in a sentence, or to link two independent clauses together in a sentence. For instance, a comma goes in this sentence because the sentence would have the same meaning even if ‘for instance’ was removed. Understanding how that works allows you to write sentences of varying length and complexity without making mistakes.
2. Good Grammar Makes You Sound Smart
Short sentences that have capitalization errors or lack proper punctuation are rarely taken seriously.
The same is true of run-on sentences that don't seem to have a central idea to them. Even if English isn't your first language, it is important to learn the basics of a proper sentence or paragraph if you want to be taken seriously.
3. Editing Is Easier When You Use Good Grammar
Whether you engage in self editing after a first draft or a professional edits for you, it is easier to make changes when you know what you are trying to say.
While trimming your word count is as easy as deleting a paragraph or replacing passive voice with active voice, trying to determine where a paragraph ends and a new one begins can be an editing nightmare. If you don't use proper punctuation, an editor could take out some or all of a key quote or remove a statistic because it appears as just random numbers on the page.
4. You Want to Show Respect for the Audience
If you were to make a major speech to your boss, to a group of investors or to a group of dignitaries, you would do more than just ramble on for an hour. Instead, you would take the time to create a logical flow to your argument as well as blend in some humor or dry wit to keep them interested in what you have to say. The same is true when you write something.
The goal is to create a coherent and logical flow of ideas that both makes sense and is interesting to read. If you want to know how to edit your own writing effectively, think about what you would say if you were talking to your boss instead of writing him or her a letter or email. Furthermore, think about what type of tone you would use to get the point across effectively.
As part of the editing process, you may want to read your work aloud or have someone else read it. This will help to catch any errors that you may have made or let you know ahead of time whether or not you have crafted something that anyone would want to read and take to heart.
5. Good Grammar Shows Attention to Detail
The use of proper grammar shows that you care about paying attention to detail.
This may show your boss that you can be trusted with a major client or some other important task in the future. It may show your professor that you should be in the running for an important internship or some other work-study program that could help you launch your career. If your boss or whoever else reads your work pays attention to proper spelling and punctuation, he or she may appreciate even more that you care about getting it right.
6. You Don't Waste the Time of Others
If someone doesn't understand what you have written to him or her, that means that he or she may need to talk with you in person to understand what you meant.
Even if it only takes a minute or two to find you, it is still time that could have been spent on a more important task. While this may be acceptable once in a while, your colleagues or clients are going to become extremely frustrated with you if you consistently waste their time. Eventually, you could lose your job or an important contract in your industry.
7. Technology Puts You Within Reach of Proper Spelling and Grammar
These days, there are a variety of tools and resources that can help you with your grammar and spelling issues.
One of the benefits of editing your own work before you send it out is that you become familiar with these resources. If you are unable or unwilling to do a basic spell check or do a quick Google search to help you figure out where to place a comma, you may come off as lazy or as if you don't care. That is not the reputation that you want to develop for yourself.
So How to Improve Grammar and Writing Skills?
The best way to improve your writing and grammar skills is to write every day, whether it is just a paragraph in a private journal or a 500 word blog entry.
While you may be embarrassed to show your work to others for fear that you may be mocked or ridiculed, it is actually one of the best ways to learn. As others point out your errors and critique your prose, you will start to see those errors on your own and fix them before anyone else notices.
If you are looking to get ahead in your career or gain an advantage when applying for school or an internship, knowing how to write well is important. Good grammar shows that you care about details, that you care about crafting a concise message and that you are willing to take the time it takes to look up how to spell a word as opposed to letting your mistake stand.
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About the Author
This article was written by Riya Sander, an inspired writer. At present, she writes for Elite Editing, the most trusted English-language academic editing service in Australia.
Riya is also experienced in volunteering and teaching English in ESL countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. Follow her on Twitter: @SanderRiya.