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Feb 1 / King Kaufman

Online grammar resources: Help for helping yourself

After working in the writing business for more than a quarter century, you’d think I’d know my grammar, wouldn’t you?

Wait, you probably haven’t worked in the writing business for more than a quarter century. Did you catch that I said you had?

Some grammar errors is easy to spot, others are a little more subtle. (You got that one, right?) Keeping in mind that the best copy editor you’re ever likely to have is yourself, here are a few sites where you can brush up on the most common errors that maroon you’re copy editing tends to make.

The website for the book “Easy Writer” by Andrea A. Lunsford has a terrific section on the 20 most common errors writers make.

The site has a lot more than that too. There’s a free exercise section, a tutorial on avoiding plagiarism and, as they say on the TV, much, much more. A great resource.

A couple of others: is a well-organized site with short, easily digestible posts about common problems and errors. There’s a resources page with more good links.

The website for the textbook “Evergreen: A Guide to Writing With Readings” by Susan Fawcett has a 10 most common errors section. It seems mostly geared toward academic writing, but the errors are pretty universal.

The Purdue OWL—stands for Online Writing Lab—is a comprehensive collection of resources about writing, grammar and mechanics, style and more.

Do you have a favorite online source for checking or studying up on your grammar?

  • Sean Swaby

    On an exponentially more grammatically basic level, The Oatmeal’s “10 Words You Need To Stop Misspelling” is an absolute classic. On a learning level, it’s clearly geared more toward a much more raw audience, but grammar geeks will surely appreciate the humor:

  • Rachel

    Thanks for referring your readers to my site.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Rachel. It’s a great site!

  • Jesse Reed

    I sheepishly admit I had to re-read the first sentence a few times before I caught the error. D’oh!

    Keep ‘em coming, King. I read every single thing you post, and I have learned a lot since I started doing so.

  • Andrew Brining

    Words of wisdom I wish more writers would follow (myself included)—nothing alienates a copy editor faster than obvious/abundant errors. If the author doesn’t care enough about his/her work to get it write, it’s tough to convince a copy editor to do so.

    • Cordesjc

      Concurrently, most readers will have the same reaction: “if this writer didn’t care enough to proofread their work, why should I read it?”

  • Jon Siddoway

    All the links are great, thanks!