While good images are an important part of every blog, the writing is important, too. On one level, writing is what connects your readers to you. On another level, if you’re writing an instructive post, your writing is the key to your post. If your writing is poor, it will turn people away from your blog. Additionally, it can make you look less authoritative than you actually are. To help you be the best blogger you can be, today I’m going to use my background (licensed English teacher, took an entire class on English grammar, just finished my MA, etc.) to help you write amazing blog posts. Also, yes, I did just finish my MA in English literature on Thursday, thank you very much.
In order to keep it simple, I’m going to stick to a couple of key grammar issues. The other important thing to understand is that blogging generally has a less-formal style of writing than an academic paper would, for example. So there are some exceptions to following the general grammar rules when it comes to blogging, and I’ll go into some exceptions in this post.
Finally, at the end of this post, there is a free checklist that you can download to help you keep track of the grammar in your blog posts.
Did you know that I wrote a grammar handbook? It has all of this and wayyyy more, and each section also contains examples and practice questions. Get it here for $10.
For the record, I’m going to start with the most complex grammar issue and work towards easier ones, so don’t get thrown by this first item!
Don’t post certain types of fragments – A fragment is an incomplete sentence, and it is usually missing a subject or a verb. For comparison, a complete sentence contains a subject and a verb, as well as a complete idea. A fragment could be missing any of those things, or it could have an -ing verb without a helper verb or start with certain conjunctions. One example of the -ing verbs without helpers is “Parents working 2 jobs to support their families.” This needs the verb “are,” “were,” etc. The conjunctions that shouldn’t start a sentence unless they are a part of a compound-complex sentence are before, after, until, since, when, unless, ever before, because, since, so that, in order, if, while, though, whereas, as, just as, as if, whenever, and although. (I will go into what I mean by compound-complex sentences in a little bit.)
As I mentioned, blog writing is more informal than other forms of writing, so in some cases, it is perfectly fine to use a fragment, but in other cases, it isn’t. The examples I just gave are some that are not really acceptable because they make it look like you don’t know how to write. Here are some examples of acceptable fragments:
Why am I upset? (complete sentence) Because we might not have a white Christmas. (fragment)
We finally made it to Fenway Park. (complete sentence) Though we missed the first inning. (fragment)
If you wanted to make these fragments complete sentences, here are some ways to do that (but again, I think those are acceptable fragments for a blog post):
Because we might not have a white Christmas, I am upset.
I am upset because we might not have a white Christmas.
Though we missed the first inning, we finally made it to Fenway Park.
We finally made it to Fenway Park, though we missed the first inning.
Use exclamation points sparingly – Exclamation points should only be used when you’re excited about something, but if you use too many of them, they lose their value. Here’s an example of too many exclamation points:
I can’t wait to go to the movies! Star Wars looks so good! I’m going to miss Carrie Fisher! At least we got another movie with her! I wonder what they’ll do with her character after this movie!
While some of these sentences might require their exclamation points, not all of them do.
Don’t have too many paragraphs that are only 1-3 sentences long – This is a stylistic choice for many, and it does really depend on what you’re blogging about. If you’re a fashion blogger, you might feature mostly images with short paragraphs or sentences around the images. In that case, it doesn’t matter too much. But if you write longer posts that are mostly text, make sure your paragraphs are mostly more than 3 sentences. It’s one thing to have 1 or 2 paragraphs out of 5 that are 1-3 sentences, but it’s another thing to have all of your paragraphs be that short. Either write more or combine the sentences into more paragraphs.
Only use apostrophes for possession and not for plurals – This is one of my biggest grammatical pet peeves (up with exclamation point overuse). In absolutely no case is an apostrophe ever used to make something plural. Never ever.Grammar Tips for Blog Writing + Free Grammar Checklist for Bloggers Click To Tweet
Their/They’re/There – Their is used for possession, such as “This is their house.” They’re is a contraction of they and are, such as “They’re across the street.” There refers to a place, such as “Are we there yet?” If you wanted to be very creative, you could say, “They’re standing over there by their car.”
To/Too – To is used either as the beginning of an infinitive, such as “To run,” or as a preposition, such as “We’re going to Grandma’s house.” Too is used to indicate having more than enough of something, such as “It’s too hot out” or “I have too many chips.”
(Here is another other post about commonly confused words, but there/they’re/their and to/too are the most important for bloggers.)
What grammar tips do you think would help your blogging?
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