This course was not intended to be a complete guide to English grammar. There are plenty of grammar books available to writers, and anyone would do well to read and study them. This especially holds true for adults involved in corporate or professional careers, as well as students seeking to improve their writing skills.

           How does all of this affect the everyday writer? The exact same principles apply. Your blogging friends will not tell you they are having difficulty understanding what you write. They look at the blog post as though you have spinach on your teeth, and no one wants to speak up. They simply tell you that your post was good.

          Likewise, a prospective employer will not tell you that you have been rejected because she could not understand your application for employment. Instead, she will tell you there are more people to interview and she will give you a call within the next few weeks, if the company decides to hire you. Of course, when the call never comes, you will assume she hired a more qualified candidate. You will never know if your lack of writing skills rendered your application void.

          There is no need to beat yourself up for your poor writing skills. It is probably not your fault. Please recognize two things:

          1. Re-learning grade school or high school grammar is not practical for most adults or older students.

          2. You can clean up many grammatical errors in your writing by learning a few simple steps.

          Let us recap the main concepts discussed thus far in this course. To sharpen your writing skills by eliminating the most common writing errors made by students today, use the concepts I have presented here:

          Concept #1:  Clarify your modifying words to convey a clear picture to the reader. If your words can be interpreted more than one way, re-write them.

          Concept #2: Unless you are addressing someone directly or informally, avoid personal references in your writing.

          Concept #3: Do not fragment.

          Concept #4: Watch out for the words they and their, because subjects and verbs must agree.

          Concept #5: Keep writing in Parallel Construction.

          Concept #6: Commas are used to introduce sentences, setting off the non-essential parts; Commas are used to separate a series of items in a sentence; Commas are used to set off quotes from the remainder of the sentence; however, do not comma splice!

          Concept #7: Apostrophes are used to make nouns possessive, so do not use apostrophes to make things plural; Apostrophes are also used to form contractions.

Keep a checklist with the above 7 concepts with you when you write and your writing will improve dramatically. 

Good luck and congratulations on completing Course #1.