Now that I write for a living, I am increasingly aware of the importance of not making too many mistakes with punctuation and grammar. If you spend months or even years crafting your novel, it would be awful if your prose are let down by clumsy punctuation and poor grammar. I wasn’t bad, not perfect, but not bad. Now that this is what I do full time, I needed to be as close to perfect as possible.
I tried Grammarly, an online punctuation and grammar checker. Initially, it seemed quite good. I would copy and paste my text into the program it would analyse the text and highlight my grammatical errors. Some aspects are better than others. The dictionary they use to compare your text to is awful. It doesn’t recognise many simple words offering ludicrous, or worse, no alternatives. Subscription cancelled.
Two books I have found to be incredibly helpful are: Elements of Style by William Strunk Jnr. and Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss.
Elements of Style is an excellent textbook of correct English grammar and punctuation. A little dry, but it offers a comprehensive explanation of the different areas of grammar and punctuation as well as providing a list of commonly misused words and phrases and commonly misspelled words.
Eats, Shoots and Leaves is a far lighter introduction to punctuation. It covers all of the common punctuation marks , providing a history of their usage and the correct way to use them.
I hope I have benefitted from having them on my bookshelf. Any punctuation or grammatical errors in this blog are mine alone!