Good grammar is an essential skill for every successful student, but the number of grammar rules to remember can be dizzying. Here are five essentials to help you up your grammar-game, especially when it comes to writing.

  1. Always use active voice.
    In the active voice, subjects of a sentence perform the action expressed in the verb. In the passive voice, this is reversed, and the subject is acted upon. Using the active voice makes your meaning clearer to readers, and helps you omit another grammar faux-pas…
  2. Wordiness
    It’s easy to get caught up in writing and include more words than you actually need. Never use two words where one will suffice, and strive to omit unnecessary details, adjectives, and adverbs.
  3. Serial Comma vs. Semicolon
    Never forget to pay attention to your punctuation! When it comes to lists, serial commas are used for three or more items. A semicolon is reserved for joining together two related ideas.
  4. Apo’strophes’
    Apostrophes are only used to show possession or missing letters in the midst of contractions. For example, in “it’s”, the apostrophe stands in for the dropped <i> of “It is”.  Alternately, in “Mary’s  book” the apostrophe is used to show that the book belongs to Mary. Apostrophes are only used with in plural words in the case of plural possessions, such as the “the students’ books”. They definitely don’t belong in the middle of a sentence!
  5. Quotation Mark Placement
    Make no mistake, periods and commas always go inside a pair of quotation marks! However, a dash, semicolon, exclamation mark, or question mark goes outside the quotation marks if the quotation marks do not encompass the entire sentence.

With these tips on your side, your grammar will improve by leaps and bounds!

What was your biggest takeaway from these tips? Do you have any questions for Alexis Avila?

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