What Grammar Problems Do You Have When Writing?

English has some of the most difficult grammar of any language. There are so many rules, yet many exceptions to those rules. English breaks the rules often. Although it may not be the most difficult language, it is one of the most unusual languages. Why? Because it’s had influences from several languages and is more like the Frankenstein’s monster of languages.

Writers have to deal with English grammar when writing. Some are not experts at grammar, while others seem to have a wonderful way with the language. But what do you have difficulty with in writing?

In my case, I find that I use the passive voice too much. I use it correctly, but it’s not effective when writing fiction. It doesn’t have the feeling of action. The narrative must be active so the reader feels like they’re in the story along with the characters. I don’t have this problem as much now, but sometimes it creeps in.

What about you? When you write, what kind of grammar issues do you have? Let me know in the comments below.

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17 thoughts on “What Grammar Problems Do You Have When Writing?”

  1. Grammar issues…hmmm. To this day I need the “i before e except after c…”rule when typing or writing the word receive.”
    I despise contrived structures in English (what I call them) such as “to what are you referring?” When “what are you talking about?” is more effective.
    I like to write…the way I speak…which is to my audience at a given time. Humor needs to be funny, not stilted. That is a knock-knock joke should not take on a specific proper forml
    A main issue for me is the gender neutral/correct pronouns. It isn’t necessary to say the annoying he/she when “they, “the children,” “the child” is just as “correct” and not contrived. An example: “ask him/her if he/she would like an apple.” Just say “Ask the children if they would like an apple.”

    This is a topic that could be belabored all day! Grammar is something we learn–or don’t learn–when practicing speaking. It is like spelling, which I have always thought is an acquired skill…some of us can spell, some of us cannot.

    1. I’ve always been good at spelling. I usually don’t need a spellcheck. But I know what you mean about the contrived sentences. They sound so pretentious, especially when spoken aloud.

      1. yes, “to whom are you speaking?” just doesn’t have the same emphasis as “who YOU talking to!” lol I’ve always been pretty good at spelling too, but some people just aren’t…I really think its an acquired skill.

  2. Oh I have difficulty mixing up my tenses, waffling back and forth. And I hate that rule that says you can’t start a sentence with “and” or “but”. I write like I am telling someone a story, who is sitting across from me, so I write like I speak – and I probably break all kinds of rules doing that. I like to think of myself as a groundbreaker. A good grammar groundbreaker. Hey, alliteration – yay!!!!

    1. I’m an English teacher. We teach that it’s okay to start a sentence with “and” or “but.” Ending a sentence with a preposition is perfectly fine, too.

  3. I’m not great at grammar, and I tend to use too many words. So I have often used MS Word’s grammar checker and the free version of Grammarly to do some basic grammar checking. And I use the free HemingwayApp to check for readability (it often catches long, complex, convoluted and adverb-heavy prose). So I was delighted to find out recently that the two now work together seamlessly. I don’t think that is what their publishers intended, but it makes for a powerful tool, and free is always nice. I wrote a short blog about it with screenshots…
    http://www.allentiffany.com/hemingway-editor-meets-grammarly/

    1. Interesting. I must bookmark that. My prose needs some work. I try not to use too many adverbs or make it convoluted. At least I don’t think that’s one of my problems. Just the passive thing.

  4. I’m not tooting my own horn or anything; I think I just have pretty good grammar. The only thing that trips me up is the Oxford comma because I don’t like it, but there are some rules I almost strictly abide by that demand I use it. Like in that sentence hahah.

  5. I prefer fiction containing huge amounts of passive voice, adverbs, an d nominalisation; consequently, I will not be deterred by any grammar fascists from writing accordingly.

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