Here are some great tips from Writers Digest blogger, Brian Klems. He certainly cleared up a few grammatical confusions for me. It’s been a lot of years since those Catholic grammar school English classes. Honestly, as much of a ‘grammar Nazi’ as I can be, there are times when even I can’t figure it out. Brian clears it all up succinctly and in an easily comprehensible way.
These tidbits are nice refreshers of some of the issues many people have when writing/speaking:
Lay vs. Lie (vs. Laid)
Thank god, cuz this one always has me topsy-turvy, never quite getting it right.
Here’s the difference between lay vs. lie, along with ‘lay lie’ examples and a simple chart that breaks it all down. (PLUS: laying vs. lying)
Who vs. Whom
This one’s the easiest for me but I see their misuse all over the place.
Source: Who vs. Whom
Which vs. That
Oh, I know I get this one wrong a lot, as do many people.
Source: Which vs. That
If you like these, check out his other posts: Since vs. Because; Snuck vs. Sneaked (hint: one of them is a made-up word now a part of our American lexicon); and Leaped vs. Leapt (I never figure this one out).
For writers, grammar rules can make or break our work. We don’t have to have a Masters in Fine Arts or English. It makes sense to have a good grasp of the basic rules of grammar; then our stories will be better off and our readers will be, too. Oddly, I’m the first one to break most rules (I prefer to think they’re for other people) but, for some reason, grammar rules are the ones I choose to follow (probably because I want people to actually read and like my books and not think I’m a complete idiot). When grammar rules, stories shine. So do the writers.