Photo by The Oatmeal.
Unfortunately most of us experienced grammar instruction as something dry, agonising, and the least-favoured of English class activities. Undeniably grammar does have great potential to be dry, but the following resources combine grammar instruction with a more entertaining and up beat tone.
Grammar Reminders via Infographics
I’m fully confident that if The Oatmeal illustrated grammar primers children would demand grammar instruction first thing in the day and commit their lessons to memory — by the way of illustrations featuring Tyrannosaurus Rexes, exploring unicorns and dolphin-killing jet skiers. Visit the following links to brush up on a few common grammar and spelling mistakes.
- How to Use an Apostrophe
- How to Use a Semicolon
- What it Means When You Say Literally
- When to Use i.e. in a Sentence
- Ten Words You Need to Stop Misspelling
Quick and Dirty Grammar
One of the reasons studying grammar isn’t wildly exciting is that most grammar books (and many grammar websites) are lengthy and monotonous. If you want to brush up on your grammar without sitting down with a cup of coffee and a massive tome of prescriptive grammar warnings, you’ll want to check out some of the grammar sites that specialised in bite-size grammar lessons.
By far one of the best known sites for this kind of instruction is Grammar Girl. The Grammar Girl website features audio and text lessons, daily mini-lessons, writing tips that cover everything from proper use of punctuation to strengthening your résumé and proposal writing skills, and everything in between.
Whether you want your grammar tips in your RSS feed, fed into your iPod via podcast for your morning commute, sent to you weekly via newsletter, or in plain old text on the Grammar Girl website, you’ll find no shortage of ways to get your grammar fix. The lessons are interesting, well illustrated — with words, not exploding unicorns — and accessible. If the screenshot above has you pondering why Veterans Day doesn’t have an apostrophe you can read more about it here.
The Grammar Fail Blogs
Much like FailBlog catalogues the general failures of humanity, there is a special class of grammar blogs dedicated to cataloguing spectacular failures in grammar and spelling. The best part about the grammar fail blogs is that you’re not just chuckling at poor execution of language, you’re learning to avoid the error in the process.
Browsing UnecessaryQuotes will ensure you never misuse quotation marks as a tool for emphasising meaning again.
The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar is a photo blog of spelling and grammar mishaps in advertisements, public signs and other “The language! Somebody think of the language!” moments.
With the abundance of interesting and outright entertaining websites devoted to grammar instruction and highlighting mishaps in the execution of the English language, grammar instruction need only be as dry as you want to make it. Have an entertaining and effective grammar tool to share? Let’s hear about it in the comments.