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Writing

Are Grammar and Punctuation Really That Intimidating?

letters by Julio Ramos

 

We are 22 days into a new year, and that means: a new start as well as a time for reflection. As a writer, I’m reflecting on what I’ve done in the past and what I want to do in the future. I’m also thinking about what areas need to be improved upon or tweaked.  Grammar and punctuation can be intimidating for writers and non-writers alike. If you are like me, then you write in between two or three languages. In my case, I write in both English and Dutch. I have to pay close attention to whether or not I’m writing in American or British English (e.g. did I just write “analyse” or “analyze?”). There are so many differences between the languages in regards to grammar, punctuation, structure, and terminology. Therefore, you can imagine that grammar and punctuation are at the top of my list. To make things easier, I’m only going to focus on the differences between British and American English in this blog
post.

The internet is a wonderful place to learn or refresh your grammar and punctuation skills. The only minor point is that all of this helpful information is scattered around, and not in one place. I have come across, over time, many helpful style guides and websites that have provided answers to my sometimes simple questions, and I wanted to share them with you too. Do you have any other suggestions? Let me know.

Style Guides

Every magazine and newspaper has its own style guide, but these are THE general style guides that roll off of every writer, reviser, editor and proofreader’s tongue when asked about style guides:

American English Style Guides

  • Chicago Manual of Style (Subscription required)

 http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html

  • AP Stylebook (Subscription required)

http://www.apstylebook.com/

British English Style Guide

  • The University of Oxford Writing and Style Guide

http://www.ox.ac.uk/branding_toolkit/writing_and_style_guide/

Helpful websites

Grammar, Punctuation and Word Usage Tips

These two websites offer invaluable advice guidance in terms of grammar, punctuation, and word usage.

Daily Writing Tips

A wonderful website with answers to everything in relation to grammar and punctuation.

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/

WordWeb

This online dictionary and thesaurus contains over 300,000 words and phrases, and covers British, American, Canadian, Australian, and Asian English. WordWeb
is online, and they have an app.

http://www.wordwebonline.com/

Differences between American and British English

Emphasis business writing trainers

They have a wonderful comprehensive guide that can be printed out.

http://www.writing-skills.com/wp-ntent/uploads/2011/11/Guide_to_UK_and_US_English.pdf

Grammar and Punctuation Practice  Quizzes

Sandhills

http://www.sandhills.edu/academic-departments/english/grammarguide.html

English for Everyone

http://www.englishforeveryone.org/Topics/Punctuation.htm

English Test Store (Differences between British and American English

http://www.englishteststore.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4719&Itemid=360

BBC’s Skillswise

http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/topic/editing-and-proofreading

 

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