Blogging is one of the most popular ways of communicating thoughts and ideas on the internet. With over 77% of internet users reading blog articles at some point during their day, it’s essential to have content that makes sense, both thematically to your brand, but also grammatically. In this article, we will go over why so many of us struggle with grammar, some of the most common grammatical errors that people make, and give you a great list of tools to step up your blogging! Let’s get started!
One of the biggest reasons we all seem to struggle with grammar is that it’s not that important in our day to day vocabulary. We often change how we speak when dealing with different people in our lives, which causes us to adjust the grammar we use more freely, sometimes inaccurately. Another grammatical issue that those who speak an additional language will understand, is irregularity and the jumble of grammar rules. English, like other languages, has many exceptions to the rules; for example, we say ‘in the airport,’ but we don't say ‘in home,’ we say ‘at home.’ Exceptions like this can trip up even professional columnists and writers, but these exceptions aren't even the most common mistakes people make; let’s go over some now.
This is a mistake that we have probably all made at some point, but an important one to get right. The phrase ‘John and me went out’ misuses the word ‘me,’ the correct sentence is ‘John and I went out.’
These three words are often used interchangeably with some writers, but it’s essential to know which is the right one, as they can heavily affect the meaning of a sentence. Remember it like this, ‘there’ deals with location or position, ‘look at that over there!’ The word ‘their’ relates to belonging and possession, ‘that pen is theirs.’ Finally, ‘they’re’ is a contraction of ‘they’ and ‘are,’ so use it whenever you would use those words; ‘they’re not my bags.’
This can be a tricky one to conquer, but knowing the difference between them gives clarity and context to your work in such a simple way. ‘It’s’ is a contraction of ‘It’ and ‘is,’ ‘it’s made of gold,’ then we have ‘its’ which indicates that something belongs to, or is part of something else: ‘its white fur.’
A dangling modifier sounds complicated, but it’s quite simple to understand. A modifier is a descriptive phrase that follows a noun; a dangling modifier just means you have the order wrong. For example: ‘being a fisherman, the biggest catch he ever had weighed 80lbs’ doesn’t make sense grammatically. The sentence should be rearranged to ‘the biggest catch he ever made as a fisherman weighed 80lbs,' a simple fix that adds some much-needed simplicity.
Right now, you may be thinking, ‘why does any of this matter?’ It matters to your reader, and it becomes crucial when you are optimizing your content or trying to stand out from the crowd. You want your blog to do well, and you want people to come back and enjoy your content, so making sure you have the highest quality writing should be your priority. So what tools can help you maintain these high standards you're aiming for? Let’s look at some of our favorites.
Grammar by name, grammar by nature. This is one of the most popular writing tools for anyone that blogs or writes anything during their daily life. Grammarly checks your grammar, punctuation, spelling, style, and it even has a plagiarism feature to make sure you’re never copying content. As well as a free version, which works very well for someone getting started, it has a premium option that opens up even more functions and features for you to apply to your work.
Ginger is a popular premium option for bloggers that goes beyond basic grammar and spell checks. Some features include; contextual synonyms, word definitions, translation features, and even word prediction. Premium prices can seem a little pricey but they do offer a discount if you’re thinking of purchasing the program for a year or more, and they do have a free trial option if you want to check it out before you buy!
Available as an add-on, After The Deadline is a brilliant tool for those that don't want to spend money on any premium app, as it’s completely free and offers much of what you’d expect from a paid service. Language checks, contextual spelling analysis, and style options make this free app the perfect partner for your blogging needs.
So now you have chosen your spell checker, it’s time to get some content ideas. Portent is an excellent title generator that helps you start that process. Simply typing in a keyword will create a catchy title idea that you can use to form your new piece. Don’t like the title? Simply type in another keyword and see where the site takes you.
BuzzSumo works similarly to Portent, but instead of generating titles, this site allows you to search the internet for similar content relating to your chosen keyword. From here, you can check out content from multiple websites and languages, study their analytics and search for older articles for inspiration.
Are you still stuck for ideas? Sites like Quora and Reddit have large communities of content creators that share opinions and talk daily. Ask questions on Quora to get detailed and insightful responses from people that share your vision, or join a subreddit and explore all the creative avenues Reddit can take you down.
Once you’ve got a few ideas, you are going to want to organize them properly. Evernote is a wonderful tool that acts in the same way a simple notebook app does but with its built-in spelling check and handy cross-device use. Trello is a very similar tool we recommend that allows you to sort your ideas into cards, giving you a great visual and tactile sense of all your work.
Hopefully, some of the insights we’ve explored today help you understand the significance and importance of a well-written article. With just a few of the tools we’ve listed here, you can start your blogging life with solid foundations.
About the Author
Casey Wise is a British journalist, creative copywriter, and music creator with a deep passion for language, travel, and technology. Based in Barcelona, his work extends from local start-ups and newspapers to university radio and the British NHS.