Across the Internet, it’s all the rage to poke fun at grammar and spelling bloopers that appear on signs, websites, and Facebook posts.
A quick tour around the web will lead you to articles with titles such as:
- Top 5 Annoying Grammatical Mistakes
- 10 Punctuation Mistakes That Make You Look Bad
- 8 Grammatical Errors That Could Scare Away Readers
- 10 Résumé Mistakes That Can Cost You The Job
I won’t lie—there are some pretty hilarious examples out there. Funny as many of these are, though, this amazing scope of writing errors has begun to knock some sense into people.
Without a doubt, grammar matters. That’s why homeschoolers, educators, and business folks alike have become more concerned about teaching correct usage to this generation of students.
Bad Grammar Ruins a Good Message
Grammar and punctuation are a big deal. I don’t think I can say this too many times: poor grammar, spelling, and punctuation can interfere with your student’s writing success.
Sloppy grammar can knock the wind out of an otherwise great paper, because no matter how strong the argument, some people just can’t get past the glare of those mechanical errors. Your teens may have interesting, clever things to say, but if their command of English usage is poor, it will get in the way of a good written message.
We’ve heard the old adage: Never judge a book by its cover, but let’s be honest: right or wrong, we all make snap judgments about every person we meet. The way they dress, their hairstyle, their table manners, and the way they speak can make us think highly of that person—or not.
Writing that has incorrect grammar, spelling, and punctuation can have a similar effect. Someone might be smart and articulate, but if their writing is riddled with errors, it can actually make them seem uneducated and can hurt employment or advancement opportunities.
So what’s the purpose of grammar and punctuation?
Basically, these writing conventions help students communicate clearly, avoid confusion, and prevent misunderstandings. Here’s a humorous example:
The murderer protested his innocence an hour after he was put to death.
By adding a bit of punctuation, the true meaning of the sentence is much clearer:
The murderer protested his innocence. An hour after, he was put to death.
What a difference in meaning!
There are tons of grammar rules to help students improve the way they communicate in writing. Through practice and application, your children will find most grammar concepts eventually become second nature.
Where Do I Start Teaching My Kids That Grammar Matters?
There’s a lot to learn. Where should you begin? What concepts should you teach? Diagramming may have its merits, but more practically:
- Do your teens understand when to use which instead of that?
- Do they correctly use affect and effect, their/there/they’re, its/it’s and other frequently flip-flopped homophones?
- Can they identify and fix misplaced modifiers?
- Do they know when to use I and when to use me?
Grammar matters, so make it an important part of teaching writing. Teach correct punctuation. Practice using homophones correctly. Work on your kids’ grammar skills.
You can all brush up together! Why not start with these six helpful links?
- Grammar Skills Your Kids Must Learn
- Quotation Marks at the End of a Sentence
- Do You Misuse or Misspell These 5 Words and Phrases?
- It’s vs. Its: What’s the Difference?
- Apostrophes and Family Last Names
- Fixing Comma Splices
Do your teens need extra help with grammar and mechanics? Analytical Grammar helps them learn and understand important grammar and punctuation conventions in a logical order. New skills build on previously covered concepts, without the need for years of endless repetition and drills.