I believe I am a reasonably good writer. I’m not a fabulous creative writer – I won’t be writing novels anytime soon – but I think I have a fair grasp and understanding of what goes into a good piece of writing.
Nevertheless, I have not reached the mastery of the language. I have never formally learned the rules of grammar. Normally, the rules of the grammar are taught from 5th to 8th grade (at least that’s when I was exposed to them in school). I moved to the States in the middle of my 5th grade year, at which time I knew a handful of words in English. Learning the rules of grammar at that comprehension level is nearly impossible, so I missed out of most of those lessons. I primarily learned to spot grammar mistakes by:
- making them myself and being corrected by teachers/instructors
- reading correctly written sentences in books, magazines, etc.
- trying to emulate well-written sentences and style
- picking up few axiom-like rules (e.g. “never end a sentence with a preposition”) here and there
I even tried purchasing a grammar book and reading through it. Nothing cures insomnia faster. Thus such book continue to gather much dust on my bookshelf.
I’ve always thought of myself as a heavy visual learner, but when it comes to learning grammar, I think the Grammar Girl podcasts will revolutionize the way I learn to improve my writing.
I have been trying to expand my vocabulary in preparation for law school.
- Getting word of the day sent to me via email from Merriam-Webster.com
- Reading the coolest vocab-builder book ever-written
- Making a list of words to look up as I read books, news articles, magazines, etc.
- Religiously using Thesaurus.com
- Trying to use bigger words in my sentences
- Practicing my writing skills right here on this blog
The list could go on and on…
But what’s the use of all the big words when you make silly grammar mistakes? You will be a laughing stock nonetheless. Thus, I am on a quest to conquer English grammar. With the cool Grammar Chick on my side…