Grammar Guides

  • Guide to Grammar and Writing (Capital Community College): You will soon discover why this is one of the Writing Studio's favorite websites. The comprehensive index answers hundreds of grammar questions on topics ranging from A ("A, An, The') to Z ("Zero Articles'). Test your grammar knowledge with the links to interactive quizzes.
  • 20 Common Grammatical Errors (Bedford-St. Martins Press): This site is exactly what it claims to be – a list of the 20 most common grammatical errors, accompanied by a brief explanation of why these errors are worth checking for in your writing.
  • Editing for Clarity and Proofreading for Correctness (Duke): This Powerpoint tutorial offers strategies for editing and proofreading your own work. Consider attending other workshops or peruse them online.
  • Style Choices for Informed Writers (Duke): An interactive take on controversial writing style choices, focusing specifically on issues highlighted by Strunk and White.
  • Grammar Girl: Witty and enjoyable podcasts on grammar topics!  Hosted by Mignon Fogarty, a former magazine and technical writer, Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing offers writers and readers advice for facing those pressing grammar questions.

Specific Grammar Issues

  • Passive and Active Voice (Duke): This Writing Studio handout helps you make conscious decisions about choosing active or passive voice in your writing.
  • Rules for Comma Usage (Duke): If comma usage is one of the banes of your writing existence, then this Writing Studio handout is for you.
  • Pronouns (Duke): A short guide to matching pronouns clearly with their antecedents, from Duke's Writing Studio.
  • Pronoun Accuracy (Duke): This handout will help you clarify your writing by improving your accuracy with pronouns.
  • Sentence Fragments and Run-Ons (Duke): This handout explains the nature of these sentence-level problems and shows how to avoid them in your writing.
  • Parallel Structure (Purdue): Gives a detailed explanation of parallel structure, one of the elements of writing clear sentences. It includes strategies for writing sentences with parallel structure, as well as advice for proofreading for parallel structure.
  • Dangling Modifiers(Purdue): Defines and explains dangling modifiers and provides detailed examples and exercises for eliminating them from your writing.
  • Verb Tense Consistency (Purdue): Discusses how to shift verb tense to indicate a change in time frame from one action or state to another.
  • Articles (UNC): Studies show that articles are among the hardest grammatical units to learn in English. In some contexts, readers might be willing to "read past" article errors; in other contexts, they might not. To strengthen your understanding of article usage, check out this detailed method from UNC's Writing Center.

Reference Resources

  • Merriam Webster Online: A quick and easy online dictionary and thesaurus. Other site features include a Word of the Day–which, upon request, can be sent to your inbox daily–and an assortment of Word Games that require a range of skills, from encyclopedic to etymological.
  • Bartlett's Familiar Quotations: A database of famous statements made and recorded over the course of the past ten centuries. Search for quotations by keyword or author name or browse one of the three indices to find your source. English quotations are by far the most thoroughly represented, but a number of classical and contemporary sources are available as well.
  • The Internet Public Library (Michigan): A clearinghouse-style website with reference links arranged by academic subject. The Duke Libraries website may overlap with and provide more comprehensive information than what you'll find here, but this site is user-friendly for certain non-academic web-based sources. Check out the list of links to websites on writing (listed under "Arts and Humanities" and then under "Literature").
  • Roget's II: The New Thesaurus: An alternative to the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus. Roget's is also under the Bartleby.com umbrella.
  • Strunk's Elements of Style: Lauded by generations of English and writing instructors, William Strunk, Jr.'s short book on rules for language usage and composition is available here. Writers can read through the entirety of the volume or click on chapter titles of interest.
  • Great Books Online: An umbrella site that allows free and easy access to numerous major reference works including Gray's Anatomy, Strunk's Elements of Style, the King James Bible, Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, the Columbia Encyclopedia, and Roget's Thesaurus.