English Grammar and Composition
If you plan to become a writer, one of the first things you will need to learn is Basic English Grammar and Composition. English grammar is using generally accepted standards for sentence structure in your writing. There are two generally accepted literary styles recognized in fiction writing. They are Chicago and AP styles. Most of what you read in books, magazines and on the internet falls under AP style. It is the most commonly accepted way of putting together sentences in the United States.
A Proficiency in the English language will enable you to communicate clearly and precisely in you stories, articles and books. Avoid embarrassment and being made to look foolish. Study grammar religiously. Any study of English Grammar and Composition should begin with the study of the parts of speech including nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, prepositions and interjections. You will then need to move from forming simple sentences to more complex sentences using the basic parts of speech.
There are few things worse than reading an article or story and seeing where the author used “your” when he meant “you’re.” Beginning writers sometimes use “its” when they should have written “it’s.” Such glaring errors reflect badly on writers in general and on those writers in particular who want to be taken seriously as being professionals.
Punctuation is also very important in becoming a writer. Periods, commas, colons, hyphens, parentheses, brackets, dashes, slashes, exclamation marks, and quotation marks serve to make your writing easier to understand and can also elicit particular emotional responses from the reader.
Composition is, basically, how a person writes. It involves putting together words to make sentences and putting together sentences to make paragraphs and so on. The most important thing to remember when writing a story, book or article is that you communicate clearly and concisely. Avoid superfluous word in an attempt to show how “smart” you think you are. Short sentences are better than long sentences. When using synonyms, make sure they convey the intended meaning. A “vermillion robe” conjures up an image with greater depth of color than does a “red robe.” Choose your words carefully. Write and rewrite your story or article. Pay particular attention to spelling, sentence structure and tone as you write.
The mechanics of writing follow certain rules. These rules are usually taught in elementary school, starting at about the second grade. While you might have forgotten those lessons in grammar and composition, it is not too late to review them. A copy of a guide to English Grammar and Composition should be one of the first reference books you add to your collection. Get a good quality dictionary to add to your arsenal of tools for writing. I prefer Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. A copy of Roget’s Thesaurus is an indispensable tool when it comes to finding synonyms and antonyms and sample sentences for correct usage of a word.
Fiction writers might want to start a collection of reference books related to the genre they like to read an in which wish to write. There are many books available on writing fiction in general at your local bookstore and online. There are also many reference books on writing horror, romance, mystery and any other genre.
Read as many different genres and types of books, magazines, internet articles and non-fiction books as you can. Read anything and everything. This is how you will learn the rules of grammar and composition. Read and observe and reflect. After a while, it will all come naturally.
Get a good reference book on grammar and composition and study and apply its rules. Read a write and revise. This is the sure way to become a professional writer.