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I feel like I have learned everything I know about Grammar by osmosis. I don't remember learning any of the technicalities of Grammar when I was at school and it has always been a weak area.

I think one of my biggest problems is mixing tense, but I feel reluctant to attempt to do any creative writing whilst my grammar is so poor. I find it to be demoralising and would love to find a good learning plan to finally sort it out.

What are some good ways of learning Grammar as an adult when combined with creative writing? I feel like I could pick up a book and improve but without any feedback or guidance from somebody who knows better I feel like it would not be enough. Ideally I would like somebody who could create a learning plan, and to guide and review any writing I produce. That way I could improve by reading and writing whilst getting good feedback along the way.

Are there any reasonably priced ways of getting guidance from a teacher or tutor with creative writing in general and more specifically with regards to improving grammar?

  • Wait, how old are you? Because I can help you personally with this problem, I got all A's in my English classes throughout highschool. – Aspen the Artist and Author Oct 12 '17 at 18:19
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    I was in this same predicament as you, where I disliked writing because of my grammar. I am now a fairly competent professional writer (straight-A communications minor), and I learned by going through Frode Jensen's books in HS. They are really good, and there are problems that you can work through and an answer sheet to verify your understanding. – Hosch250 Oct 12 '17 at 22:19
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My main piece of advice would be:

Read.

What should you read?

Anything that interests you, as long as it's reputable. Novels, news stories, short stories, textbooks, well-received Stack Exchange questions/answers, etc--anything that's been under the scrutiny of a good editor. Experience the English language in its written form whenever you can. You'll find that your writing will soon change, as will the way you talk and think.

EDIT: I know my old English professor would berate me if I didn't at least mention Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. It's come under criticism in recent years, but it's still a solid choice for educating yourself on writing in the English language. Just don't view it as the letter of the law. In the words of a much wiser man than I:

The Elements of Style are more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules. *

- Joshamee Gibbs

* Abridged

  • That's good, but I have had some experience in readings that the editors and publishers have overlooked some pretty heavy grammatical errors. – Aspen the Artist and Author Oct 12 '17 at 18:20
  • I wholeheartedly agree. That's why I think reading many different publications (and kinds of publications) is important, along with realizing that my own grammar will never be perfect (even after an editor has combed through it). – The Spartan Oct 12 '17 at 18:25
  • Hmm, many different .... genres? Authors? Which author do you think Geoff needs to read? – Aspen the Artist and Author Oct 12 '17 at 18:27
  • Personally, I don't think it matters. Over the past 10 years, I've seen my own writing improve (with still far to go, of course) by reading things like fantasy novels, science fiction novels, short stories (many different genres), news articles, video game articles, blogs about writing, The Elements of Style, spiritual books, textbooks, Stack Exchange...I could go on. The point isn't so much to read a specific author, book, or genre, but to experience a variety. I don't think grammar (especially when applied to creative writing) is something you can fully learn from a single author or genre. – The Spartan Oct 12 '17 at 18:36
  • True, it doesn't officially matter what book it is, but I have found that some of the books that I've read actually improved my learning process and changed my writing style altogether, (ie. Charlie Higson, Stephen King, and others in the horror genre.) – Aspen the Artist and Author Oct 12 '17 at 19:13
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To improve your grammar you could look at the numerous English learning sites. Many of them have interactive exercises so that you can immediately test your understanding. Personally, I recommend a German-based site for my students, but your particular needs may be different.

To check your writing you can you the free version of Grammarly or ProWriting tools, or download or use online the completely free Language Tool. Of course, these tools aren't perfect, but the explanations can be very useful.

There are a huge number of phone apps available to help you improve your grammar. Here is a rundown on some of them.

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As The Spartan wrote, reading is important. However, it is not enough. Reading is a passive form of learning. Active practice is essential for acquiring any skills, including grammar.

Write and edit

Write a lot. Then edit a lot. Focus on grammar when you edit.

Work with a proofreader and an editor

I found that working with people who can show me my mistakes and, especially, their patterns is extremely helpful. Following their advice, it is possible to focus on problematic areas while still being productive and enjoying writing.

Teach grammar

Teaching is an excellent way to learn something. It may sound counterintuitive but in order to teach, you have to understand the material really well.


If you want a more formalised approach, I would suggest using ESL grammar textbooks. They usually include detailed explanations of grammar points from basic to the finest and exercises to practise them. They also may provide information on differences between various dialects of English which you can later incorporate into your writing.

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