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While grammar is something we learn in the early years of our education, there are so many rules and regulations when it comes to grammar, we can’t know them all by heart. If you’re a writer or simply have to write something on certain occasions, you might want to reach for a grammar guide, to make sure that your writing is on point. And since there are so many aspects to grammar, there is more than one kind of a grammar guide, to make the process of learning and checking grammar faster and easier.
Thankfully there’s a large variety of grammar guides that are available to lead us through our writing process. Below you’ll find a helpful list of resources that will help you through your journey with grammar.
Thesauruses and Dictionaries
Dictionaries are crucial for knowing the meanings of each word, and for better understanding of each word. Thesauruses, however, can be considered as additional information about words, with synonyms, antonyms, idioms and phrases included.
This thesaurus consists of more than 500,000 words and their synonyms, phrases, meanings and antonyms and it’s easily accessible from anywhere. Whether you’re on your phone or on your laptop, you’ll quickly be able to find any synonym, word or phrase you need.
The Merriam Webster Thesaurus is equally popular among native speakers and non-native speakers of the English language and includes more than 275,000 of synonyms, antonyms and idioms. You can also track down definitions of each word, and learn how to use language more effectively; therefore, it can also be referred to as a writing guide.
Because British and American English differ in spelling and grammar, you need to turn to a comprehensive dictionary like this one that has all the differences listed in one place. It’s one of the best dictionaries out there for both American and British words.
If you need a dictionary and thesaurus in one, this is the ideal website for you. While you can get easy access to all the word definitions, you also get suggestions about the synonyms and antonyms of each word listed in the dictionary.
Visit dictionary.com if you want word definitions that are made by analyzing a variety of online definitions. It also has a blog that explains grammar and spelling issues more thoroughly, so if you’re looking for an explanation along with the meaning, this is the number on stop.
Grammar myths are what we call grammar rules that once used to mean something, and now they are completely irrelevant. Grammar changes through time, and yet so many people don’t know which grammar rules they should stick to, and which ones they should discard immediately. Here are a couple of useful guides that give you insight into the rules of modern grammar.
This page contains all the most common grammar misconceptions that everyone tells you are still valid grammar rules that you should listen to. Well, now you don’t have to, because you have a guide that will help you identify stale grammar rules and how to deal with them in the present.
Grammar Girl is one of the most popular and fun takes on grammar. This blog covers grammar in a fun way and focuses on explaining which grammar rules are in and which grammar rules are out. It’s especially popular with student, and all those who want to learn about grammar and still have fun at the same time.
This handy PDF lists all the grammar rules that are no longer important. It comes with explanations of what each rule used to refer to, and why it isn’t considered a grammar rule anymore. It also comes with a few examples of how it is used now.
Want to know quickly what grammar myths are and which ones are the common ones? Grammarphobia will give you that information so that you no longer fret about old grammar rules that are no longer important.
If you want to learn which grammar rules aren’t valid any more, but also go in-depth as to why these grammar rules aren’t important anymore, visit this small guide. It’s especially attractive to those who like to know all the detailed information.
Turn to grammar usage guides if you are frequently puzzled by the use of certain words, their meaning, spelling or place in a sentence.
Although it requires a purchase or a subscription, the Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style is concise and precise in providing hundreds of answers to the most common usage problems. It’s supported with examples from top-tier publications.
If you’re confused with words that have the same spelling or are pronounced the same, but have a different meaning, this short guide will explain when each of these words is used, why and how you should use it.
Washington State University has an excellent section dedicated to the most common errors when it comes to usage. It explains, to the very last detail and comes with amusing explanations and examples.
This is yet another guide that focuses on confusing words, their meaning and how they should be properly used. You want to know when to write ‘their’ or ‘there’ or ‘it’s’ and ‘its’. It’s hosted by bartleby.com.
This guide consists of a thorough analysis of both American and British English, and offers clear guidance and points for using English the right way. Everything can be easily accessed, and each rule is exemplified with examples from newspapers, journals and books.
Classic Style Guides
There are numerous style guides out there, and it all depends on what you’re looking for and who you are writing for. There are basic style guides, as well as style guides for business writers, scientific writing style guides and so much more. Here are some of the most famous ones that are usually used or referenced.
This is one style guide that you cannot miss online, and it’s a time-tested guide to style, but also grammar and usage. It basically has everything you need, and then some more, like reference for proofreaders, writers, designers etc.
While it can easily constitute as a neat grammar handbook, it’s mostly focused on giving you knowledge and tips on how to write more clearly and style your writing properly so that it’s easily readable.
This guide comes in a PDF form, and it’s written by a BBC reporter and editor with 40 years of experience in writing. Instead of focusing on all the do’s and don’ts like most guides do, it encourages you to dive deeper into the complexities of English usage and explore its possibilities.
This manual is consistently updated by editors, and it has been existent since 1995. Everything is alphabetically arranged and easy to locate, and it is a guide to “preferred National Geographic Society style and usage.”
This PDF document is a guide written by the staff, on behalf of the Oxford University and it aims to guide you through your writing and formatting process. You can easily search for specific items that you’re interested in, or scroll through each section and soak it all in.
English for Non-Native Speakers
Although native speakers and non-native speakers can use the same dictionary, if you’re a beginner, and English isn’t your native language, you’re going to find the English grammar book too complex. Here are some resources that are easy to understand, with plenty of information packed in, so that you improve your English grammar easily.
Non-native speakers often get confused in writing, and this handy guide covers all common writing problems and gives in-depth explanations about each issue and how to solve it.
This concise guide is broken down into categories, and enables you to easily find what you’re looking for. Every grammar rule is explained and exemplified.
This free service enables you to ask any grammar questions and get the right answers. If you’re a non-native speaker, you can also interact with other users and answer their questions as well.
This resource is well-known among students, and it focuses on explaining each part of speech to the last detail, which is ideal for non-native speakers. It also offers grammar exercises, and introduces the reader to writing concepts.
The Capital Community College Foundation created this extensive grammar and writing guide that is perfect for all non-native speakers. There are plenty of materials that you can use for learning, and not just grammar. Although the primary focus is on grammar, you can also teach yourself the basic concepts of writing.
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When you are an aspiring writer or a student, the process of research can be very beneficial. It will allow you to explore and fire up your imagination like never before. But sometimes we get too absorbed in the preparation process so we tend to procrastinate writing the piece itself.
Perhaps you are too intimidated by the work ahead so you romanticize the research and get stuck in the loop? Or you have no idea where to begin? If you prolong the study of the collected materials, you will likely end up with too much information that might take over your entire work. So when is the right time to end your research and actually start writing?
Evaluate the information
So let’s say that you are deep into your research and clicking on every link available. After some time, the information you already collected will start merging together and you will not learn anything new. This is the right time to stop and take a step back. Start by asking yourself if a text is worth reading, is the source credible, and would it be useful to you later on. And always remember that you can bookmark something and return to it when needed.
When uncertain, use gaps
If you are still not confident enough to finish your research, you can use gaps in your text and fill them out later. This is the best way to break the plateau and start writing without finishing the research process itself. You will be productive, complete your daily goal, and fill out the blank spaces once you are done. This is especially useful for academic students because you will not miss your deadline and have correct information in your paper at the end. But don’t forget to write down your sources because they will be easier to find once you start revising your paper.
Under deadline pressure
Whether you are stressing about the approaching deadline or the launch of your blog, you need to relax and focus on the work you have in the present. Thinking about the future events and diving deep into the research without writing a single word will not get you out of your comfort zone. So take it slowly and go easy. You have probably created an outline of your project so go one step at a time. If the deadline is just around the corner, you will not produce excellent or outstanding work if you are in a constant state of dread.
Create a schedule
If you are working on a fictional piece, the chances are you will have to combine writing with the research. The best way to do so is by creating a schedule which will limit the time you spend on exploring different locations or character traits. Therefore, you will not be tempted to go into the procrastination mode. An hour a day will be enough if you are not a full-time writer with set deadlines. Once the time is up, start writing your story. And make sure you remove any distractions such as social media during your creative time because you are supposed to immerse yourself in the process without constantly checking your feed for updates.
Research can be tiresome and after you spend hours and hours staring at a screen, you will probably feel sleepy and not fit for writing a single word. This is your brain telling you that it is time to stop researching and move away from your computer. Get some rest, sort out your ideas while drinking a hot beverage in the morning, and try to write afterward. Your brain will function better after you catch some z’s and your creativity will peak in the early hours of the day. Plus, a couple of hours of sleep might even help you come up with fresh ideas you will be able to use later in your story.
Freewriting is a technique that might be the perfect transition between the research and actual writing. You can use it to break the ice and get rid of the fear of starting. Simply listen to the flow of ideas swirling through your head and write them down as they are. Don’t pay attention to grammar or spelling because the goal is to get some of your thoughts and information you have gathered written on a piece of paper. This will get you moving in the right direction and you will be able to determine if you are ready for the real work. If you feel like continuing, sit in front of your computer and start typing.
Create an outline
Making a brief outline right after you complete the research is crucial. It will help you gather up the collected information and allow you to have a better overview of the work you have ahead. You can either use bullet points or focus on the most important parts of an essay, depending on the type of text you are writing. An outline will make you stay on track and allow you to create a useful writing schedule that will improve your productivity. It can also pinpoint the parts you have to work on more or revise with fresh ideas.
Each writer has a different research method – some like to travel to foreign lands while others will view different destinations from the comfort of their homes and collect as much information as possible in their notebooks. But is there a right time to stop and start writing? Research might seem like a never ending task so the best thing you can do is dive into the work and fact check as you go.
Combining these two activities might seem impossible but it will get you into the mood for writing which is great if you have a deadline. Of course, don’t even attempt to start writing before you do your research because you will very likely get lost and discouraged. So good preparation is crucial in this situation but try not to overthink it and start procrastinating.
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Oh, the wonders of the Internet… It’s a place where you can find every possible piece of info you need. You want to learn more about the universe? There’s an online course for that. You always wanted to explore literature but you didn’t do enough throughout school? You can keep learning at your own pace.
We’re all guilty of trusting stereotypes about online learning, so it’s time to clarify things. That’s what this post is all about. What are the advantages and disadvantages of e learning?
Let’s go step by step. First, we’ll wonder: “what are the disadvantages of e learning?” Then, we’ll talk about the good things. Finally, we’ll go through few tools that make learning more accessible than ever.
What Is E Learning?
E learning is a systematic process of learning supported by electronic technologies, which give you access to curriculum outside of the classroom setting.
That’s the usual definition I think of when people ask what this is.
Let’s solve another dilemma: is it eLearning, e-learning or e learning? Well, it doesn’t really matter as long as you use the chosen spelling consistently when you write. If we take the Oxford Dictionary as an authority, it’s e-learning.
Let’s compromise: online learning is a pretty acceptable term, too.
I would like to focus on a particular word from the definition above: systematic. That’s an aspect many people neglect when trying to figure out how e learning works. Online learning is not something random you do in your free time. It’s not about googling different topics and reading whatever information you can find. You might as well do that, but you won’t be learning systematically.
With proper online learning, you’re making progress through a well-planned curriculum. Yes, there are assignments, too! It’s just like college, but the course is much more affordable or completely free.
So let’s get that out of the way: googling is not online learning by definition. Here, we’re talking about taking actual courses.
The Big Explanation: How E Learning Works
E learning is usually Internet-based, but it can also be based on a network or Intranet. When you enter a program, you’re getting coursework material that’s much different from the traditional textbooks we used to get at school.
How does it work?
It’s simple: you choose a course you like, you sign up and you start following the curriculum.
Online learning is flexible. Even if you miss the deadline for an assignment, most programs will allow you to submit it later on.
Peer-based evaluation is an important element of most courses. Depending on the course, you might need to review the assignments of other learners, and they will give feedback on yours.
Some courses require payment. When you complete them, you get a certificate. Others are entirely free, but they still offer high-quality learning.
Now, it’s time to get to the main point: exploring the advantages and disadvantages of e learning.
What Are the Disadvantages of E Learning?
It’s Not What You Get from a Traditional University Setting
The first and foremost disadvantage of online learning is pretty obvious. You’re getting pre-filmed lectures. The professors are pretty cool, but these videos are not spontaneous. They are scripted.
In a traditional classroom, the professor senses the vibe of the students. They throw in a joke and wait for the response. They are getting feedback throughout the lecture and they can adjust accordingly. If someone didn’t understand something, they will explain it with other words. Questions are allowed even if the teacher is talking. With online learning, you’re simply following a video. You can play it back if you didn’t understand something, but you’ll still get the same explanation. If you don’t get it, you’ll have to google it.
When the students engage in a discussion, the professor gives direct feedback and supports the development of arguments. Yes, online courses have platforms where the participants can enter discussions. However, you get a completely different feeling when you speak up in a real classroom.
One Word: Procrastination
No one is pushing you to complete an online course. You’ll have to take that role and start motivating yourself. Needless to say, that’s a hard thing to do.
Lack of self-discipline is a serious problem with online learning. Since the courses are flexible, the learners keep delaying the scheduled lessons and assignment. That’s exactly why the dropout rates are so high.
I’m not saying that you won’t complete an online course. I’m just sharing the fact: when you’re not in a classroom setting with scheduled lectures you have to attend, it’s easy to start procrastinating.
Les Serious Assessments
When you take an online course, you’ll need to complete assignments. You’ll notice that most of the questions are only objective in nature. The team has no time to grade subjective opinions of thousands of students taking the course.
A Traditional Degree Is Still More Valued
Online learning is victim to stereotypes. People think it has no value and they don’t even try to compare it to the real thing. It’s a problem, because many universities offer online programs of great quality. However, it’s hard to convince all employers that your education is equally valuable when you get it online.
If you get a degree through an online program, you might face issues during the hiring process. Not all employers will have this attitude, but some of them might prefer the applicants who graduated from a program in a classroom setting.
What Are the Advantages of E Learning?
Now that we covered the most important setbacks, it’s time to explore the good part – the advantages of e learning.
There it is, I said it. The most important advantage of online education is that people can afford it. If you want to learn something, you can even do it for free. If you want to get an actual degree from a famous university, you’ll invest a much lower amount of money, considering the fact that you’ll be studying from home.
Traditional education is getting way too expensive. Expensive is a small word for it. This is absolutely crazy! Normal people can’t afford it, and that’s exactly why online courses are an absolute necessity nowadays.
Online Learning Is Much More Convenient
You don’t have to wake up early, dress up and go to class. You have no travelling involved. You can watch a video at any time and organize the progress of the course in a way that works for you.
If you’re committed and motivated enough, nothing will stop you from completing the course. Yes, it will take more effort for you to turn learning into a habit when you don’t have people around you to push you through the process. If, however, you infuse online learning into your daily schedule and you stay focused on your goals, you’ll definitely get the results you’re after.
You Get Various Formats of Content
With online learning, you’re not doomed to listening to a boring professor speaking for hours. You get the content in various formats. Videos, infographics, presentations, white papers… you name it. You get access to discussion boards and charts, and you’re able to interact with the other participants.
The creators of online courses are trying hard to keep the learners engaged. They infuse various visual elements into the content, so they will capture and hold your attention. They are trying to make this interesting for you, and you’re the one who benefits from that effort.
It’s Learning, After All
With online learning, we’re slowly breaking the concept that students have to learn for the sake of degrees and grades. Now, people are learning because they want to. We’re finally getting to the point of learning for the sake of learning.
What Are E Learning Tools?
If you decide to take an online course, you’ll need the right tools to support the process. That’s the only way to diminish the disadvantages and enjoy all benefits this type of education can offer. First of all, you’ll need to choose a course. Coursera, Udacity, edX, and Stanford Online are only few of the many platforms you can explore.
When you find the course, you’ll need few tools that keep you committed. I’ll list few I found really useful:
It’s important to use different memorization techniques when you’re taking an online course, just as you would do if you took a traditional course at college. Flash cards are still effective, especially when you create them with a fun tool like Anki.
If you’re serious about online learning, you’ll put it in your schedule. When you plan how the course will fit in your daily routine and you stick to that rhythm, you’ll be on your way to success. Google Calendar is a simple planner, which allows you to schedule activities and assignments. You can set reminders before important due dates, so you won’t allow yourself to procrastinate.
This is an effective tool for blocking out distractions. You’ll stay focused on the course and you won’t be able to check social media even if you want to.
Where do you stand?
Do you consider online learning to be beneficial or would you stick to traditional, classroom-based education? Share your thoughts and experience!
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