Five Grammar Tips Every Writer Should Know

Every day, you brainstorm interesting topics to write about, and when you finally get one good idea, you spend a great deal of time writing your article.

When you’re done writing, you smile at the work of art you’ve created, then you quickly publish your masterpiece so that the rest of the world can join you to marvel at your piece of writing.

But then, it’s hours – no, days – I mean, weeks after you published that article, and yet it seems no one has read your article.

So you start to wonder: maybe that topic wasn’t so interesting after all. Maybe nobody read your article because you don’t have a large following yet… Or maybe you’re not cut out for writing.

Maybe this, maybe that.

Hold. It. Right. There.

Have you ever considered the chance that it might just be your grammar that’s chasing your readers away? Whether you believe it or not, bad grammar can be a distraction. And I’m not just talking about typos and misspellings.

No, I’m talking about other important aspects of grammar like punctuation, verb tenses, etc.

Writing with bad grammar can be a turnoff for your readers. It can convince them that the only thing you’re truly good at is giving them serious headaches.

You know, people can tell a lot about you just by reading your articles or stories. So to avoid losing your followers or the little respect and admiration they have for you, you have to hone your writing skills. Here are five grammar tips to help you write in a less confusing way.

1. Punctuation marks.

“Punctuation marks are like traffic signs. They warn your readers when to slow down (comma), when to stop (full stop, question mark, or exclamation mark), and when to be on the lookout for something interesting or dangerous (quotation marks, underlining, hyphen, apostrophe, colon, semicolon, or parentheses).”

I read this in a grammar blog years ago.

Without punctuation marks, your stories and articles would be difficult, if not impossible, for people to read and understand. Many writers overlook the importance of punctuation in their writing, so it’s not surprising that they always complain about how nobody reads their posts.

I wouldn’t read a piece of writing that isn’t punctuated if you paid me to.

Okay, that’s a lie – but hey! – you get what I mean. If you want to write riveting blog posts or stories that people will always look forward to reading, then you must learn the names of the various punctuation marks and how to use them properly.

2. Adverbs Vs Strong Verbs

While editing your writing, check your sentences for adverbs that can be replaced with stronger verbs. There’s a good chance that all the adverbs in your writing can be replaced with a strong verb.

Let’s take a look at this sentence for instance.

  • She walked into my office angrily.

In this sentence, you can replace both the verb (walked) and the adverb (angrily) with a stronger, definite verb.

You can edit it so that it becomes:

  • She stormed into my office.

Likewise, instead of writing, “He walked up the stairs slowly”, you can write, “He crept up the stairs.”

Using strong verbs in place of adverbs can make your writing stronger and clearer. You might not be able to find a strong verb to replace every adverb in your writing, but whenever you do find one, do not hesitate to do the needful.

Having a dictionary or a thesaurus close at hand is beneficial in this case.

3. Adjectives

Adjectives are words that qualify a noun or a pronoun. They give precise descriptions of the nouns and pronouns you use in your writing, thus making your writing clearer.

Although there are times when your choice of adjectives can weaken your writing. For example, times when you use a gradable adjective instead of a specific one.

In this post, I talked about what gradable adjectives are and how they can make your writing lose its flavour. I strongly advise you to read it and learn to use smart adjective choices in your writing from today onwards.

4. Subject-Verb Agreement

The rules guiding the agreement of subjects and verbs in English grammar are many. I will now share only a few of them in this article.

Rule 1: A singular subject agrees with a singular verb, while a plural subject agrees with a plural verb.

For example:

  • The book on the table is mine.
  • The books on the table are mine.

Rule 2: If two subjects are joined by or, either/or, or neither/nor, use a singular verb.

For example:

  • Neither jollof rice nor yam porridge is John’s favourite food.
  • In the end, the blue bandana or the black baseball hat is what I’ll go with.

Rule 3: When a sentence begins with here or there, the true subject agrees with the verb.

So if the true subject is singular, the verb must be a singular, too. Similarly, if it’s a plural subject, the verb must also be plural.

I am adding this rule to my list of The Most Important Grammar Rules because I see a lot of people constructing sentences like:

There’s loads of mistakes in this sentence.


There’s many people at the party.

As far as grammar is concerned, these sentences are incorrect. However, we use sentences like these so much in our everyday speech that it now seems right to use them in our writing.

But is it right to use them in our writing?

I will answer this question at the end of this article.

If you would like to read more on subject-verb agreement, GrammarBook.com has written an article that contains helpful advice on the topic. You can read it by clicking here.

5. Dangling Modifiers

A dangling or misplaced modifier makes a sentence very confusing because the modifying phrase in the sentence is at the wrong place. That is to say the modifying phrase is far from the subject it is modifying.

To correct a dangling modifier, you may rearrange the sentence, or you may change some words to make it less confusing and easier to read.

Let’s take a look at these three sentences that have dangling modifiers

SENTENCE: At the age of five, Aaron’s mum took him to the zoo.

REVISED: Aaron’s mum took him to the zoo when he was five.

SENTENCE: I watched the snake slither away while eating a hamburger and drinking some juice.

REVISED: While eating a hamburger and drinking some juice, I watched the snake slither away.

SENTENCE: The negative mayor’s comments provoked an uproar from the public.

REVISED: The mayor’s negative comments provoked an uproar from the public.


Is it right to use sentences that aren’t grammatically correct in your writing? Is it okay to break a grammar rule?

The answer to these questions is yes and no. While grammar is important in your writing, you won’t always be crucified for breaking one tiny rule. Although I would advise you to stick to what is generally accepted as standard grammar.

After all, nobody can hate you for writing clear and interesting articles, right?


Do you care about grammar in your writing? Do you not? Have some tips of your own? Share in the comments?


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32 thoughts on “Five Grammar Tips Every Writer Should Know”

  1. Good pointers Obinna. Although, sometimes grammatical errors entice readers to point out those mistakes and then you can argue that they missed the intent.
    Sometimes I will intentionally use bad grammar as bait to start a conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Coffee, God, I am so sorry for replying to your comment late. I was just going through my spam comments when I found two comments you made on two different posts I wrote. Askimet is crazy!

      Regarding your idea, I look forward to the day you’ll try something like that. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually wrote this article for my students. 😂
      I won’t be around this Saturday to teach them, so I’ve sent each of them the link to this blog post for them to read. Just so they don’t feel like they didn’t learn anything this week.

      Thanks for reading, Renard.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry I’m late. This wasn’t the article I was writing on Saturday when I did that podcast, though. I was writing “Six Writing Tips That Add Flavour to Your Writing.” But I lost inspiration along the way. I couldn’t write further than the introduction… I’ve saved the original article as a draft now. I’ll continue writing it when I’m motivated again.

      I just wrote this one because I had promised to write an article about writing 😁

      Thanks for reading, Goldie!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. That is correct. But in the grammar post, I was going to talk about punctuations and how to use the common ones. I also wanted to talk about verb tenses, active/passive voices, sentence structure, and so on. At some point, I deviated from the topic and the post kind of looked like it was more about writing tips than grammar tips. But the intro (the one I have as a draft now) was so good that I didn’t want to start all over again… So I changed the headline to “Six writing tips that add flavour to your writing”.

          Then again, I faced another problem. 😂
          I was engrossed in writing and didn’t know when I hit 3,000 words. It was a mess. I changed it back to the original headline, changed the introduction, and did some messy editing.

          TBH, if I hadn’t already announced that I was writing a “grammar” post, I wouldn’t have posted this article.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Good point! Regarding verbs, another thing to look for in the editing phase is using passive voice instead of active voice (“The soup was made by my mother” vs. “My mother made the soup”). Passive voice is less concise and uses be/is/was/were, which is bad because people already tend to use be/is/was/were often.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! This is great advice!
      And sometimes, when you use the passive voice, your readers won’t know who did the action – they won’t know who the subject is.
      I’m talking about sentences like “Mary was bitten” and “My teacher’s car was stolen.”

      What or who bit Mary? Who stole your teacher’s car? If both sentences are rewritten in the active voice, people won’t need to ask such questions.

      Thanks for this tip, Lily! And thank you so much for reading!


    1. We are humans. We were programmed to make mistakes and learn from them. You’re doing the wise thing by checking your grammar when you’re writing. Some writers wouldn’t. Some would tell you that grammar doesn’t matter when, in fact, it really does. 😊
      Thank you so much for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I know you didn’t read this, Emete. You left about six comments on my blog posts, and each comment is just a minute older than the one preceding it. I don’t appreciate spam comments.


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