The 7 Grammar Rules To Help Improve Your Writing

Becoming a writer means being knowledgeable about the basics of the English language. One of these concepts include the 7 Grammar Rules most English enthusiasts follow.

The 7 Grammar Rules: What are They?

red alphabet decors on a white background to illustrate the 7 grammar rules
Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Grammar in English refers to the rules that apply to the spoken and written language.

Writers should follow basic grammar rules to communicate effectively through written language.

There aren’t rules like how to place periods and use conjunctions in grammar. Those rules serve as building blocks for English grammar.

1. Active Voice

It’s the sound expressed by the words in a sentence. It simply means, you have to write using active voice.

Write with the active voice since your writing must focus on the subject of the sentence, not the writer. You cannot use the passive voice in your writing because it has more words and confusing for most readers.

Also, active voice is simpler and not as wordy as passive voice, which can make an adorably cluttered piece of text.

Taking active voice and recognizing grammar is one of the first grammar rules to adopt. Use the active tense of the verb when you use it.

The sentence should talk about the subject, not the action taken.

Active voices are opposite to passive voices. With passive voices, you pair a being verb with a past tense action verb, such as “The apple was peeled by mom.”

Mom is doing the action, but the apple is the subject, so the writer used passive voice.

Example of Active Voice

  • Instead of saying, “The ant was eaten by my pet lizard”, say, “My pet lizard ate the ant”.

2. Connecting Two Ideas with Semicolon, Comma, or Conjunction

Make sure you include two ideas in one sentence properly. Semicolons are one way to do this.

The use of this should only be necessary when the two ideas seem closely linked.

Example of Connecting Two Ideas with a Semicolon

  • My pet lizard ate the ant; Rex kept on hunting for his favorite food before seeing the ant.

You can also join them by adding a comma and coordinating conjunction, such as:

Example of Connecting Two Ideas with Comma and Conjunction

  • My pet lizard ate the ant, after he kept on hunting for his favorite food.

Also, you can refrain from using a comma and join the ideas with a conjunction.

Example of Connecting Two Ideas with a Conjunction

  • My pet lizard ate the ant after he kept on hunting for his favorite food.

3. Subject-Verb Agreement

For every sentence, there is a subject and a predicate, known as a verb clause. Both verbs and nouns must agree.

You must use the plural form of your verb when you have a plural subject. It is necessary to use the singular verb form in a singular subject.

Example of Subject-Verb Agreement

  • Queen Elizabeth rests in the palace.

This example is correct because “Elizabeth” and “rests” pertain to singular words.

When you combine “or,” or “nor,” and a subject is involved, subject-verb agreement becomes more difficult. In this case, only the subject closest to the verb is counted.

4. Sentences Should Appear Complete

Sentences make up the most basic building block of grammar. A subject and a verb make up a sentence. However, you should remember to have a complete thought when writing one.

Also, sentences begin in uppercase, while it ends with the appropriate punctuation.

There’s actually an amazing thing about writing sentences. You can write one by using a group of words, two words, or even a single word —in some cases.

Example of a Complete Sentence

  • Over the table, Zoe saw my Valentine’s gift.
  • Get lost!
  • See?

5. Correct Apostrophes

Apostrophes have two purposes.

The first one is using them for expressions of possession.

Example of Singular Possessive Apostrophe

  • He saw Dan’s girlfriend.

The sentence says that the woman is Dan’s partner.

For plural words, an apostrophe without a corresponding “s” still means possession.

Example of Plural Possessive Apostrophe

  • She found the Simpsons’ pet cat.

6. Know When to Use Uppercase

Most writers find it hard to follow this rule. However, it’s truly quite confusing to know when to use capitalization when writing.

An easy way to find out is by determining if the word you’re writing is a proper noun or not.

Example of Proper Capitalization

  • I think I met the Family Clown.

is different from

  • I think I met the family clown.

The first example says that the writer met the family whose surname is Clown.

Meanwhile, the second example says that the writer met the family’s fun member.

Aside from proper nouns, you should capitalize the following:

  • Names
  • Places
  • Words of address, such as “Have you seen my paper, Professor?”
  • Calendar Days and Months
  • Job titles, such as “President George Washington”
  • Book title

7. Properly Use Appropriate Articles

Articles are words we oftentimes use in a sentence.

They are:

  • The (definite article)
  • A (indefinite article); and
  • An (indefinite article)

“The” is used to describe a specific item

The mall closes at 9 PM.

“A” is oftentimes used on words that begin with vowels. Meanwhile, “an” refers to words that start with a consonant.

A book has been delivered to my house.

An onion fell from the counter.

However, “an” is also used with some words that begin with vowel sounds, despite the first letter being consonant.

An NBA player.

To Wrap Up

Whether you’re dealing with business-related grammar or ideas on how to solve common problems, the 7 Grammar Rules is an interesting guide to follow. It can help you improve your writing and become a better writer.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

How to Write Great Dialogue That Your Readers Will Love

As a writer, there are times you’ll have to write dialogue in your essays or fiction. In such a case,…

May 26, 2022

Grammar Tips for Writers — Writing Compelling Content

Having a talent for writing, whether it’s writing academic essays or writing fiction is great. Talent will only take you…

May 26, 2022

Bad Grammar: Confusing Common Grammatical Errors to Prevent

As a writer, you can’t avoid errors due to bad grammar. However, making mistakes doesn’t make you a bad writer. What…

May 26, 2022

Possessives: boss’ or boss’s grammar

Boss’ or boss’s has been a topic of debate for a very long time. Schools typically teach that words ending…

May 26, 2022

“Were” Vs “Was”: Correct Use And Examples

Have you ever wondered which word fits into a sentence — were or was? You’re not alone. Were or Was:…

May 24, 2022

How to Improve Your Grammar By Speaking

Grammar can be confusing for many students learning English. Correct grammar is important to both your writing and speaking. Why…

May 24, 2022