Grammar is among the top things employers check when considering applicants. Those that are looking into enhancing their grammar can benefit from some knowhow and practice. If you are whetting your grammar for a job application, consider the tips below.
A, An, The
We all know the rule that “a” comes before a word beginning with a consonant, while “an” comes before words that start with a vowel. For words that sound as if they begin with a vowel (such as homage, honest, etc.), “an” is also used. “A” or “an” is used for a noun that is indefinite (e.g. a dog in the yard), while “the” shows specificity (e.g. the dog in the yard). Here are some more examples:
- You are a strong person
- I am an Accounting student
- You are an honest person
- You are the strongest person i know
Singular & Plural forms
It is easy to identify singular and plural forms of some things, but for nouns that are uncountable (such as water, food), “any” or “some” can be used. However, “much” is only for nouns that are uncountable, while “many” is used for countable nouns. “Little” can also be used for uncountable nouns, while “few” serves as a modifier for nouns that are countable. “Enough” and “plenty of” can be used for both uncountable and countable nouns.
When in the form of proper names, family relationships such as uncle (e.g. Uncle Bob) or grandpa (e.g. “Grandpa Rick”) are capitalized. When used to refer to deities in general, “god” is not capitalized. Titles that come before names are capitalized (e.g. Gov. Tony Soprano); titles that come after names are not (e.g. Jennifer Schwartz, governess of Bloomberg). In titles, seasons are capitalized. Periods are also capitalized (e.g. Edwardian Era).
In, On, At
For days, “on” is used (e.g. The band practice is on Saturday); for noon, night and midnight, “at” is used; for other parts of the day, weeks, months, seasons and years, “in” is used (e.g. Those leaves will be gone in the springtime).
Singular nouns require the use of singular pronouns. Example:
If the member is late, he or she will not be allowed to take the test.
In such sentences, using “they” (even as a form of “shortcut”) to refer to the member would be incorrect.
Steer clear of unclear sentences . In the following example sentence:
“Even though the car crashed into the street lamp, it was not destroyed”
It is not clear whether “it” refers to the car or the street lamp.
Be careful with dangling modifiers. These modifiers are phrases or words that serve to modify a word, and yet the word is not clearly defined or stated. This modifier serves to define or provide additional details about an idea (e.g. Having accomplished the task, Alex proceeded to play video games). In this sentence, the action was first stated, prior to clarifying that “Alex” was the doer of the action.
There must be subject-verb agreement in a sentence. Example:
Kay and her boyfriend are going to the movies.
In a sentence such as “The mug or the candle holders need to be placed in the box”, the verb need agrees with the subject part that is closer in proximity to the verb, this being “candle holders”.
Improving grammar is no rocket science. For the most part, getting grammar right relies on paying close attention to the structure of your sentences. Remember the grammar tips shown above, and make it a point to practice writing sentences considering these provided tips. It also helps to use software like Microsoft Word, as the software has an instant grammar and spelling checker that will notify you of any grammatical or spelling corrections to be made.