It's extremely difficult to give (or understand) advice about writing if you don't
have an understanding of grammar.
Before I learned grammar, I was a writing
tutor, and my tutoring sessions were painful
because I didn't know what I was doing. I wasn't able to give my students clear advice about how to make their sentences better.
Learning grammar gave me a way to analyze writing, and it also gave me the vocabulary to teach other people how to make their writing better.
Imagine receiving this work from a student. (If you're not a teacher, imagine that you yourself have written the following sentences and you're trying to make them better.)
The cat was surprised. It jumped back and stared at the crab. The crab had just pinched the dog's nose.
There's nothing wrong with those sentences. They're just fine, and they're perfectly appropriate for students at certain skill levels. But, if you wanted to help this student become a better writer, you would want to give him advice on what he could do differently. If you didn't know grammar, your advice might look something like this.
These sentences are a bit monotonous. Can you combine some of these ideas to make a more interesting sentence?
The problem is that this student would have no idea how to make his sentence more interesting.
If, on the other hand, you and your student both knew grammar, your advice might look something like this.
These sentences all have similar structure. What if you combined them into one sentence by making "surprised" an introductory participle and turning one of the other sentences into a dependent adjective clause?
Now there are clear ideas for exactly how to make the sentence more interesting. If the student put that advice into practice, his rewrite might look something like this.
Surprised, the cat jumped back and stared at the crab, which had just pinched the dog's nose.
Add Tools To Your Toolbox
Join the Writing & Grammar Challenge, and you'll learn specific ways to enhance your writing and make it more interesting.
This challenge contains written lessons with tips and tools for writing better sentences. The lessons also include writing prompts that get you to apply what you learn.
You don't need to know grammar in order to join us. I'll include short grammar lessons about the concepts that we cover, and I'll also link to extra lessons if you want to learn more about any of them. Here are some examples of concepts that you'll use in crafting your own sentences.
- Introductory Adverb
- Introductory Prepositional Phrase
- Dependent Adjective Clause
Each of the written lessons will be available to you online as well as in a printable PDF file format, and you'll have lifetime access to the lessons.
You will have access to a private Facebook group where you can post your answers to the writing prompts and get feedback from me. :)
The Writing & Grammar Challenge
is not currently available.
If you're on our email list, you'll receive a notification when we're running this challenge again. :)
I hope that you'll join us!