So here’s the thing about language: it’s always changing. Shakespeare made up his own words, so did Dr. Seuss, and so have countless other people, myself included. I think that is one of the reasons I love the written word so much; it is not stagnant. Like people, language evolves and grows with the fluctuating world, sometimes adding new flavor and perspective that makes our lives much richer.
That being said, while the way we talk can often take on the casualness of colloquialisms, slang, and our own terms for describing things, when it comes to writing (particularly in the professional setting) it is important to pay attention to notable grammar rules.
The right flex of grammar muscles improves content flow, enhances clarity, and boosts authority.
And in a world where we are always try to utilize our SEO content to help our webpages rank higher, all three are crucial factors.
So, let’s explore some quintessential grammar tips to keep in mind the next time you’re writing SEO content or composing any professional piece of writing.
People can inadvertently repeat themselves in their writing, using additional words they don’t need to get across a point that’s already been made. I would try to avoid this because it can make a sentence clunkier and longer than it needs to be.
- I also bought a sandwich as well.
- In addition to SEO, we offer PPC too.
In the first example we don’t need the as well because we already are using also. And those two serve the same point in the sentence.
Similarly, in the second example we don’t need the too because we already are using in addition. Simple fix, right? Always be vigilant of this type of repetition. It really is easy to let small bits of repetition seep into your wording and that does you a disservice.
AFFECT VS. EFFECT
A very common grammar problem is deciding whether to use affect or effect. Here’s how I think of it. I like to associate the a in affect with action. It reminds me to use it as a verb like “Latoya will affect great change at the company.” Then you can remember to use effect like a noun. For example: “The effects of poison oak really suck.”
ITS VS. IT’S
Unlike with she’s, where the apostrophe notates that she is possessive, the same rule does not apply with its/it’s. When you put an apostrophe in its and make that word it’s, the contraction translates to it is. The possessive version of it is just its.
NO S NEEDED
Here’s a fun one. For words like towards, backwards, forwards, upwards, etc., the “s” at the end is not needed. The proper forms of these words would be: toward, backward, forward, upward, etc.
MAGIC OF THE SEMICOLON
Unlike commas, semicolons are used to separate complete thoughts (complete sentences).
- I punched Fernando; he had it coming.
- The journey was quite dangerous; we didn’t bring snacks.
In their simplest form, commas separate incomplete thoughts. Meaning if you took the two pieces of a sentence separated by a comma and put them on their own, at least one piece would not be a complete thought (complete sentence).
- With their big teeth and powerful swimming, beavers are tricky.
- According to Pierre, this is a good place to dig for treasure.
Traditionally, numbers one through nine are spelled out and 10 and up are written numerically. However, consistency is key when it comes to writing and any good writer will tell you that consistency trumps exact grammar rules.
- Invisalign aligners are worn 22 hours a day
- Invisalign aligners are worn for two to three weeks at a time
- You wear 20 – 30 Invisalign aligners for treatment
Even if it is grammatically incorrect, I would change the second bullet point in the above example to a number format (2 – 3 weeks) because the inconsistency of the list looks weird. Again, consistency and flow (as well as how writing looks and sounds) matter more than strict rules sometimes.
I stand by that.
GRAMMAR & THE EVERYDAY
I love language and I love to write. And I proudly speak casually with my own slang and flare of inventiveness all the time. However, there is a time and a place to disregard rules and convention. When it comes to grammar, if you are writing something for a professional setting, like an SEO webpage, you want to employ good habits and structure to maximize your flow, clarity, and authority.
I stand by that, too.
I hope this article helps you with your writing endeavors, whatever they may be!!!