A good grasp of grammar and vocabulary will speed up your fiction writing and book-publishing process. As a self-publishing author, you’d most probably be editing your book on your own. So, it is imperative to understand and follow the basic grammar rules to improve your writing abilities. Besides, traditional grammar rules don’t apply to fiction. For example, how your character talks will depend upon their personality, cultural background, and native. Sometimes, they speak inappropriate grammar, yet it’d be appropriate for your book.
This blog offers the best grammar tips for all types of book writers. So, whether you are learning ‘how to write a book with good grammar’ or editing your manuscript before self-publishing a book, these pieces of advice will improve your grammar skills considerably.
Best Grammar Tips for Self-Publishing a Book
Even as a native language speaker, if you have decided to write a book and publish it to the masses, it never hurts to go back and brush up on the basic grammar rules. P.S. We literally learned English grammar with Wren and Martin’s English Grammar Books. We highly recommend them for their easy use and simple learning techniques. Perfect for starters!!
Never Overestimate or Underestimate Punctuations
Pay attention to punctuation marks. For instance, semicolons and dashes are often misrepresented. Apostrophes are one of the most important punctuation marks that can change the meaning of words completely if incorrectly used. Example: Its vs. it’s, their vs. they’re, company’s vs. businesses’. Be careful!
Write in Active Voice
The passive voice sounds lame and unclear. Always choose an active voice when writing novels. In active voice, the subject comes first and performs the action, while in passive voice, the object seems like the subject. Moreover, passive sentences are long and confusing to read.
Active Voice: Peter self-published his book with Writat.
Passive Voice: The book was self-published by Peter through Writat.
However, passive voice makes sense when you are unaware of the subject, like who performed the task.
Example: The car was stolen last night.
Make Your Sentences Pretty with Commas
Always add commas after prepositional or introductory phrases. Prepositional phrases begin with a preposition and end with a noun or pronoun.
Example: After you write your manuscript, format it for publishing.
And don’t forget the Oxford Comma. Oxford Commas are used to expertly split items in a sentence, making them sound more noticeable.
Without Oxford Comma: I had milk, egg, and bread and butter toast for breakfast.
With Oxford Comma: I had breakfast with milk, egg, and bread and butter toast.
Take Care of Homophones
Words that are pronounced the same way but spelled differently are called Homophones. Example: Too and two, except and accept, their and there, break and brake, eye and I, sea and see, etc. We advise you to memorize homophones or heteronyms as many as possible to avoid spelling typos.
Learn the Prefixes and Suffices of Words
Prefixes and suffixes are a word’s beginning and end, providing additional information about its meaning. Study or revise your prefixes and suffixes so you can figure out the ultimate meaning of words you have never heard before.
For example, now may not know the meaning of extraterrestrial or downgrade. But because you have brushed your prefixes root, you’d know that ‘extra’ means more and ‘down’ implies less and are prefixes, and you will at least understand the words’ meanings.
Use Adverbs and Adjectives Sparingly
Enhance the adverbs and adjectives with better choices of words or vocabulary. Adverbs describe or modify verbs, adjectives, clauses, prepositions, determiners, and sentences. Example: She walked fast, they sang long, it was very tall, or it ended too quickly. Adjectives are used to modify, enhance, or describe a noun. Example: Albert is a very tall man.
However, to avoid wordiness and make the sentences crisp and shorter, you can use a better alternative for the respective adverb or adjective.
Adverb: ‘Hannah ran very fast to the exit booth’ can be rewritten into ‘Hannah dashed to the exit booth.’
Adjective: ‘Peter is extremely good-looking’ can be changed into ‘Peter is handsome.’
Read Your Manuscript Aloud to Identify Grammar Mistakes
Sometimes, you can tell if a sentence or phrase is wrong but cannot pinpoint why. Saying your drafts out loud while editing or proofreading can help you identify potential grammar problems and correct them.
Use Grammarly – The Most Revered Language Processing and Book Editing Tool
Note that these suggestions may not work a hundred percent. To err is human, and we tend to make mistakes, regardless of our skill level. Some sentences might sound strange, but they could be entirely correct. Therefore, we suggest utilizing book editing and language processing tools, like Grammarly, to get English grammar technically correct. Grammarly is highly recommended for authors because a) it eases the book publishing process tremendously, and b) we have been using it for many years and got exceptional results.
Read our blog: How to Self-Publish a Book with Grammarly Online Editor.
Cultivate the Habit of Reading Books of Other Authors
Reading books of notable and bestselling authors is a great way to improve grammar skills and build vocabulary. Magazines, books, and journals provide sufficient knowledge on how other authors and bloggers craft sentences, use words and construct their books.
However, read quality books and articles only – that have undergone some kind of editorial process. Remember that grammar rules keep changing, so try reading books written in the past decade.
Grammar can be stressful for many authors, as it has several complicated and confusing rules. From our experience, practice and perseverance are the only two things that will help you write a book without grammar mistakes. Reading and speaking the language aloud will further allow you to learn it subconsciously.
Devote time to what you do, whether learning grammar, writing a fiction, or self-publishing a book.