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When Should You Listen to Music at Work?

Music at work

Everything You Need to Know about Music and Productivity

When Should You Listen to Music at WorkLots of workers rely on music to get through the workday. Whether they’re headbanging to Metallica, grooving along to Arcade Fire, or report writing to the Requiem for a Dream soundtrack, these employees insist that listening to music can increase their productivity. How much truth is there to this claim? Are employees simply using their headphones to escape boredom, or are music and productivity really linked?

Research seems to indicate that listening to music in the workplace has a positive effect on employee productivity because it alleviates boredom—more specifically, music makes people more productive because it makes them happier. Let’s look at some of the research on music and productivity to see how you can best use music to get through your workday.

Why Should You Listen to Music at Work?

Multiple research studies indicate that listening to music positively affects productivity in the workplace. A 2005 study by Teresa Lesiuk showed that computer programmers who listened to music produced better work in a shorter period of time than their coworkers who did not listen to music. The music helped the programmers pace themselves while completing tasks.

This positive effect of music on employee productivity is great news for music-loving workers everywhere. Still, some employers may have their doubts. An enjoyable activity that magically makes employees more productive? For some employers, this seems a bit too good to be true. So, what is it that creates this miraculous link between music and productivity?

A Happy Worker is a Productive Worker

No, there isn’t a “productivity” section of your brain that kicks into high gear when you’re exposed to music. There also isn’t a certain song or music genre that will have you working at five times your normal speed. The principle behind music and productivity is a little less pseudoscientific and a whole lot simpler than this. The simple truth is that music improves employee productivity because music makes people happy.

The field of research pertaining to music and neuroscience is vast and complicated, but when it comes to music and emotion, one central idea is almost universally accepted: music elicits an emotional response in the listener. Even our negative emotions can be experienced in a positive way using music, according to Apter (2001), who states that even those who use music to experience unpleasant emotions do so with the underlying intention of “enjoying” their difficult emotions (as cited in Lesiuk, 2005). Just like watching sad movies can help us process our feelings when we’re feeling down, listening to music that makes us sad can actually work to make us happy in the long run. (Ah, the magic of art!)

Not surprisingly, several studies have found that music improves our moods. People perform higher on measures of emotions after listening to music. During Lesiuk’s 2005 study, for instance, the programmers’ positive moods increased during the weeks of the study when they listened to music, but decreased during the week of the study when the music was discontinued. Additionally, because music is also known to reduce anxiety, it may actually be able to help employees relax, focus, and complete stressful tasks in shorter amounts of time.

Music boosts happiness, which boosts productivity

Can an improved mood really have that big of an impact on employee productivity? Recent research suggests that it can. Of course, music isn’t the be-all and end-all of workplace happiness; bigger, more encompassing issues like personal fulfillment, work–life balance, and a sense of accomplishment also contribute greatly to happiness in the workplace. Still, even the relatively small mood improvements that occur when people listen to music can increase workplace productivity.

Remember: Everyone Is Different

So, music has a positive effect on mood, and elevated mood has a positive effect on employee productivity. Does this mean you should exchange full-time silence for full-time music? Not necessarily. For one thing, according to Furnham and Strbac (2002), certain tasks require more concentration than others; depending on the task you’re working on, music may be too distracting (especially if you’re not used to listening at work). Individual differences should also be taken into account when deciding how often you should listen to music at work, if at all.

Researchers have looked at differences between introverts and extroverts in terms of music’s effects on mood and productivity. The results have not been entirely conclusive, but some of the studies lean toward the assertion that introverts have a harder time listening to music and working than extroverts. (This may have less to do with the music and more to do with the complexity of the task.) Doyle and Furhnam (2012) found that “creative” individuals are less likely to be distracted by music than “non-creative” individuals, but their study does not address whether introverts or extroverts are more likely to be categorized as “creative.” Nor does it address how this might conflict with the results of other studies on the topic.

Correlation versus causationAs Lesiuk (2005) points out, the correlation between music and mood is still somewhat fuzzy. Though her study gave some pretty solid support for music being the cause of improved mood, other research hasn’t been so straightforward. Lots of studies have found that people with more positive outlooks tend to listen to more music at work; however, if you’ve ever taken a social studies or science course, you know that this assertion falls into the dangerous “correlation versus causation” predicament. In this case, it’s possible that the music does not cause positive mood, but that people who are generally happy to begin with tend to listen to music more than those who are not.

As you can see, there is still much to learn about music and productivity. If there is one lesson to be taken from all these different research studies and perspectives, it is this: do what is best for you. One thing that researchers seem to agree on is that, for individuals who do enjoy music while working, the type, duration, and genre of music don’t seem to matter. Individual music preferences are the most important indicators for music’s effect on productivity (Lesiuk, 2005). It doesn’t matter whether you want to listen to classical music, rock, rap, or indie pop—as long as you’re listening to music you enjoy, you’ll be more likely to succeed. You should also keep in mind that familiar music tends to be less distracting than music you’ve never heard before. You may even decide that any music at all is too distracting when you’re at work, and that’s fine too. Everyone is different; just focus on finding what works best for you.

Conclusion

Employee satisfaction is key to employee productivity—and what makes people happier than music? The next time you’re debating the use of headphones in your workplace, whether as an employee or as an employer, take this research into consideration. Happier employees mean better quality work for the company, and more of it—and that, my friends, is what we call music to everybody’s ears.

Image source: Daria Nepriakhina/Stocksnap.io

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How to Screw Up a Blog Post (In 7 Easy Steps!)

How to Screw Up a Blog Post

How to Screw Up a Blog PostHey, it’s a jungle out there. There’s a blog for everything. Food photography, travel blogs, political rant pages, corporate musings, fan page free-for-alls . . . you name it. With all that competition, who wants to stand out and create an engaging, creative blog that actually adds value to the Internet? Not you. Quality work and responsibility to readers are just too much darn effort. You and I, we much prefer to float comfortably in the recesses of Internet no man’s land. We’re not attention seekers—we’re far too lazy for that. Afraid your blog might actually do well? Follow these simple blogging tips to make sure your blog is a complete and utter dud—in fact, its boo-boos won’t even go viral. It’ll even fail at failing.

1. Don’t proofread.

Typos, punctuation errors, and painful spelling mistakes are the quickest, easiest way to give your blog a death sentence (ooh, the puns). After all, a clean, error-free post might actually make you look credible, and you don’t want that.

2. Remove all comprehensible train of thought.

You know what happens when your writing is easy to read and has a logical flow, don’t you? People might *gasp* keep reading it. All structure, consistency of tone, and clear thought processes must be removed from your writing. Immediately.

3. Post irregularly, if at all.

It’s bad enough that you have to be bombarded by all those bloggers constantly updating their sites with structured, consistent schedules. Who do they think they are, anyway? You certainly don’t want to add to the success mess, and you really need to take care of those annoying Internet prowlers who have decided that your blog is interesting, or they’ll stick around no matter what. How can you rid yourself of such pests? Well, stop posting, of course! Or, if you must, post at random with long stretches of silence in between. Once you’re off your readers’ radar and have established that you can’t be relied on, they’ll swipe on to terrorize the next site with their incessant subscriptions, comments, and shares.

4. Steal whenever possible.

Isn’t Internet rage a joy? Of course it is. And what’s the fastest way to stir up the anger pot? Why, stealing intellectual or creative property, of course! Hijack ideas, writing styles, photos, or other created media, and don’t credit any of the original sources. Be prepared for the initial wave of attention your blog will receive (what horror!) when people start to realize you’re stealing their material, but worry not—it’s all negative, and it won’t last. Once your integrity is destroyed, no one will subscribe to you. You might even be so lucky as to receive a cease-and-desist order.

5. Plaster blank space with gaudy advertisements.

Maybe you’re a literary genius. Despite all your best efforts, you just can’t turn off the wordsmith charm, and people keep flocking back to your blog. Lucky for you, there’s a fail-safe to divert readers from even the best content: gratuitous advertising. Banner ads, pop-ups, and sidebar post-its will send potential subscribers—even the ones who really want to stay—away from your blog with grimaces on their faces and carpal tunnel in their primary click fingers. Did you know the speed at which a user runs from your page is directly proportional to the degree to which ads are unrelated to your blog’s topic?

6. Fill up on keywords.

Google keeps getting smarter and faster when it comes to finding more ways to send people to your page. How rude! Lucky for you, there are always new ways to convince the Google bots that your page isn’t worth visiting. Some of the latest? Saturating your content, tags, and anchors with keywords, of course! Once your text is so agonizingly full of keywords that it’s nigh unreadable, and your primary keyword is in every tag, even when it doesn’t make sense for it to be, Google will obligingly penalize your blog so that it appears too far down in search results ever to be noticed.

7. Ignore your readers.

Ugh, are people leaving comments, tagging you in things, asking questions, and suggesting content for future posts? Give them the silent treatment. Readers stick around when they feel like they receive a personalized, relevant, engaging experience, which of course you don’t want. By no means should you ever reply to readers when they make an effort to communicate with you. That would just make them feel too validated and like they actually gained something from your blog. Yuck.

In summary . . .

Be a bore. Be inconsistent. Over-advertise. Refuse to communicate. Publish your typos. Steal. Confuse. Distract. Disappear. Such are the magic tools by which you can keep your blog safe from Internet success. Now… who wants to hang out on MySpace?

Image source: Luke Chesser/Stocksnap.io

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How to Speak Millennial: 9 Best Practices to Follow When Writing for Millennials

Millennial Falcon

The Millennial Falcon

Haters gonna hate . . .

Many an article has been penned (or, for the comment-lurking nitpickers, typed) about the failings of the Millennial generation.

  • Why, they’re online addicts with short attention spans!
  • They’re narcissistic, materialistic, unrealistic twerps who don’t understand what it means to get a real job!
  • They’ve forgotten how to maintain interpersonal relationships that don’t involve a screen!
  • They’re entitled and demand everything for free!
  • They’re the reason marriages don’t work out anymore!
  • They’re only skinny because they photograph their food instead of eating it!
  • They’re click-happy, swipe-happy, selfie-taking, duck-lipped (or, if we’re really staying on trend, sparrow-faced) Fickle Freddies who share content more for social recognition than personal interest!

Whew. Annoyed yet? We certainly are.

Leave the big brush behind

In addition to painting with ridiculously broad strokes over a population that spans different countries, cultures, education levels, and consumer values, these often obnoxious claims fail to recognize the power of Millennials in online culture. Perhaps one truth that may be safely applied en masse is that this generation grew up during the rise of the Internet. Their formative years were spent alongside a rapid technological advancement not experienced by any other generation.

We’re talking about people who watched Family Matters and Full House, nursed Nano Pets, and jammed to the Backstreet Boys on Discmans. People who can imitate the sound of dial-up Internet but now navigate touchscreens and instant communication like extensions of their bodies. Millennials have grown up with constant, fast-paced changes to the way knowledge and information are obtained, processed, and shared.

As a result, they read and interact with content differently than those who witnessed these changes during adulthood, or those who were born already plugged in to the App Store. Any online writing venture marketing to Millennials must address their unique reading styles. These are tech-savvy individuals with a literal world of obtainable knowledge and purchasing power. Writing specifically for Millennials may be the biggest influence on your blog’s potential success.

Get ready to target your writing

Millennial PocahontasIf Pocahontas were a Millennial, she’d have sung, “The thing I like about news feeds is, you can’t log in to the same feed twice; the info’s always changing, always flowiiiiing!” In addition to the surge of information that constantly threatens to drown out yours, there’s this hard truth to face: your content probably isn’t original. The rule of the Internet seems to be if you can think of a concept, it already exists online somewhere. So, should Millennials swipe upon your blog, will the design and writing be enough to keep them there? The following steps are a guide to help you when blogging for Millennials so that you attract and keep your readers—and convince them to share your posts.

1. Looks are everything

Online content marketing tycoon Hubspot reported that Internet users judge the aesthetic value of a website in as fast as one-fiftieth of a second. That snap impression is particularly influential on Millennials, who, according to Millennial Marketing, will actually reject quality content if the visual effect is poor. Cluttered, unappealing web spaces are perceived as unreliable, unprofessional, and unintelligent. As seen in this helpful infographic by Digital Information World, 94% of online users develop mistrust and dismiss a website because of poor design, and 75% use website design as the basis for their opinion of a website’s credibility. For those who don’t identify as particularly tech-savvy, blog hosts like Blogger, WordPress, and Tumblr have built-in design templates and customizable options, as do many domain providers like GoDaddy and Wix.com. It’s worth it to take a few hours to play with these features and develop a unique, attractive web space that will make Internet readers want to stick around.

2. Meet their needs, and stop there

Remember the cutesy acronym KISS—Keep It Simple, Stupid? This doesn’t mean you should lower the reading level of your writing, but rather that you should keep your main text focused. Provide links to supplementary information instead of explaining it in the post itself, which often weighs down the writing and makes it harder for your answer-seeking readers to find the information they came to your page for in the first place.

3. Make the hunt easy

An important development (evolution or mutation? We’re not sure…) in the way Millennials read is that they scan for important information rather than reading content in its entirety. The most successful blog posts are those that are structured so that the main points can be gleaned from a quick scan even if you don’t read the entire piece. Headings, subheadings, lists, and graphical content are all excellent ways to guide readers to your post’s critical information in a hurry.

4. Use visual interest

In a similar vein, Millennials are more responsive to visual content than block text. This may require some technical skills or the selection of a host site that is better optimized for visual aids (Medium and Tumblr are great examples). High-quality images or videos are not only more likely to attract online readers to your blog post in the first place; they also increase the chances of those users sharing your post with their social media circles.

5. Teach, don’t preach

Unlike the older Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, Millennials respond best to content that reads as if it’s been written by someone similar to themselves—friends, family, even strangers—rather than by “experts.” In short? Be relatable and genuine in your writing. The #YOLO trend has thankfully died down (save for a few ill-thought-out tattoos), but the concept “You Only Live Once” does a good job of summing up what kind of content reaches Millennials. This is a generation that is largely motivated by firsthand experience. Create an experience through your writing that is interesting, relatable, and shareable.

That said, one of the most painful and misguided writing trends hitting websites meant to market to Millennials is the plague of dumbed-down writing. People read content to learn something, so don’t make your audiences feel that they aren’t being taken seriously or that you, the writer, are not trustworthy. Interesting, engagingly written content that teaches its readers something or inspires a dialogue will have more lasting appeal than assumed-to-be-popular vernacular.

6. Separate the trends from the fads

This is a biggie. Staying on top of trending topics, visual styles, and overarching messages that resonate positively with Millennials is important in developing a feel in your writing that will appeal to this target group. For example, 48% of Millennials interviewed for the Boston Consulting Group’s U.S. Millennial Supplemental Consumer Sentiment Survey (2013) reported they prefer to invest their time, money, and attention in companies that demonstrate social responsibility and environmental sustainability. In this study by NewsCred, 64% of Millennials report positive responsiveness to posts that are useful and relevant to their cultural interests.

What not to do, however, is hastily adopt fads. Fads don’t have lasting value within the generation; they are catchy items that surge in popularity and die down just as quickly, often drawing negative reactions when used after their peak. Need proof? Think of how quickly “clickbait” headlines plummeted from edgy to cringe-worthy.

7. Optimize for sharing

While the joke that the Millennial reader processes only 140 characters or fewer is a tad insulting, the point does have merit in terms of sharing potential. Incorporating Twitter-sized pockets of information into your post or boiling down the essence of the piece to such a size will help in getting it shared across social media platforms. Consider how lengthy news articles use pull-out quotes to highlight key information. Are the most important points of your post contained in succinct, nicely worded parcels?

8. Proofread

The Internet is brutal to those who make innocuous typos or punctuation and spelling errors. What happens in Vegas may stay there, but your Internet blunders are just a screenshot away from being permanent and globally accessible, like the ones seen here. We cannot state enough the importance of having your blog content edited by another party, preferably a professional.

9. Creep

Millennials process information quickly.When you’re faced with endless waves of competition, staying current is critical in maintaining approval from Millennial audiences. Research popular keywords, keep track of trending headlines and hashtags on Twitter, and be aware of frequently shared or liked news items to keep your own writing interesting and relevant. Millennials grew up in an era of rapid change that forced intuitive learning. As a result, this group of Internet consumers processes information quickly, learns fast, and adapts even faster; if your blog doesn’t do the same, they’ll move on to one that does.

Marketing ain’t wasted on the young

Advertising analytics prove that brand loyalty and buying habits are established at a young age. Politicians know that the underexploited young vote has the power to turn an election. Online writing industries—from blogs to news outlets to creative content hubs like Colossal and Upworthy—have shifted their headlines, content presentation, and writing voices to suit the reading styles most consistently observed in younger audiences. Millennials dominate the online world and are the next generation of consumers; wise bloggers know how to play to the reading habits and responses of this age group to successfully generate a following. Still above writing for Millennials? Better not quit your day job, son.

Image sources: OpenClipartVectors/Pixabay.com, Luis Llerena/Stocksnap.io, ClkerFreeVectorImages/Pixabay.com

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10 Ways to Alienate Your Blog Audience

10 Ways to Alienate Your Blog AudienceThere’s a lot of great information out there about how to engage your audience. I’m sure you’ve read all the guides on how to avoid common blogging mistakes, but those guides have one big problem in common: they all assume that you want to avoid those blogging mistakes. All these experts think you and everyone else out there just wants to engage your audience, but I know better. I know that you would much rather alienate the heck out of your audience than engage them with your writing, which is why I’ve compiled a list of the 10 best ways to do just that.

1. Be a know-it-all.

You’re not writing about your topic because you’re a novice in the field; you’re writing because you’re knowledgeable about your subject, and as such, you have every right to tell your audience everything they need to know. They might not know they need to know, but you know they need to know, you know? Some may say that this type of alienation is bad, but I say there’s no better way to engage your audience than to cram information they don’t understand (or care about) down their throats.

2. Be better than casual English.

And by that I mean be as formal in tone as you can possibly be. They say that using the wrong tone is one of the most common blogging mistakes out there, but I say that “wrong tone” is subjective. Ideally, you should use a document that’s at least 100 years old for your tone guidelines. People will love it. You’ll sound super smart and definitely not like you think you’re better than everyone else—including, you know, your readers, who will totally love feeling left out of the language loop.

3. Don’t distract them with pictures.

Why on earth would anyone want to look at images when they have all your wonderful, exceedingly thorough, and painfully pompous—um, I mean, formal—prose to get through? Sure, there may be tons of evidence out there about how much images can do to help you engage your audience. But that’s not what you’re going for; you’re going for complete and total alienation. With no images for your readers to look at, you’ll be well on your way to achieving that goal.

4. Talk about yourself. Really, who cares about anyone else anyway?

This is your blog. This means that it is totally acceptable to make it about you and only you. I mean, why would anyone even be bothering to read something you have written if they weren’t interested in hearing about every single occurrence of your everyday life? Being a complete narcissist is absolutely the best way to engage your audience, especially if you’re the only member.

5. Put other people down.

I think we’ve already established that when it comes to blogging, you clearly know better than your readers. And you know who else you probably know better than? Everyone else. You obviously don’t conform to common wisdom regarding blogging mistakes, and because you’re not all that interested in learning how to engage your audience, I think it’s fair to say that you can totally get away with being a big virtual bully.

6. Ignore your followers.

One way to engage your audience is to keep the lines of communication open. Allow commenting on your blog, and be sure to respond to all constructive feedback—both positive and negative—and suggestions. You can also pay attention to what people are saying about you on social media and respond accordingly. That is, those are the rules if you want to engage your audience. Because your blog aims to alienate your audience, you want to be sure to ignore any and all feedback. Ain’t nobody got time for responding to feedback anyway.

7. Share your broad spectrum of knowledge.

Share your broad spectrum of knowledgeIf you want to engage your audience, you might consider focusing on one very specific topic for each blog post. However, seeing as you’re looking to alienate your blog audience, I suggest a different route: tell your readers everything you know about anything related to your topic. Then tell them everything you know that’s even vaguely related to your topic. Heck, just tell them everything you know about everything.

8. Rely on keywords like you rely on oxygen.

There’s nothing that can alienate a reader quicker than a post that’s jam-packed with keywords. As you’re not looking to engage your audience, be sure to use keywords more liberally than McDonald’s uses salt. While your readers are washing down your blog post with a large Coke, you can take the time to watch your SEO not improve at all, thanks to Google’s latest algorithm updates. Better to have no winners than for everyone to be a winner. Am I right?

9. Write for everyone.

You don’t want to discriminate in your quest for alienation; you want to alienate everyone equally. That’s why you should write your blog posts on the principle that everyone and their grandma is going to be interested in reading them. Be formal for the stuffier folk, write more casually for the younger readers, and throw in lots of references that only your hipster fan base will understand. Before you know it, you’ll have quickly and easily alienated most of your readers!

10. Don’t proofread.

A well-written, thoroughly proofread post is one of those blogging mistakes that you can’t afford to make when you’re trying to alienate your audience. Don’t waste your time by hiring an editor or proofreader for your work. Just write, publish, and watch as your readers all run away in displeasure. It feels good to be alone, doesn’t it?

An Alternative Approach

If you’ve changed your mind and decided that you’d like to avoid blogging mistakes and engage your audience in the future, you might want to consider checking out some of the other advice Inklyo has to offer. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with all the latest in content writing, including advice for keeping your blog active and up to date.

Image sources: wgbieber/Pixabay.com, robeo/BigStockPhoto.com

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Do Not Submit Articles Filled with Spelling Errors and Bad Grammar

Do Not Submit Articles Filled with Spelling Errors and Bad Grammar

Why submitting articles with errors may land you in hot water

Rejected.Do Not Submit Articles Filled with Spelling Errors and Bad Grammar

This is a word none of us ever wants to hear in any context, but especially when it’s attached to writing we have agonized over and, in some cases, spent months or years crafting. Rejection brings with it pain, disappointment, and often regret. The one rejected is left wondering what could have been done differently. That’s why it’s important not to submit articles filled with spelling errors and bad grammar!

There are no simple answers to ease the pain of most of life’s rejections. Fortunately, that is not the case with writing. If you have worked diligently to complete a text, chances are you have focused on the larger issues of writing—logical organization, eliminating redundancy, and strengthening arguments. But have you paid enough attention to grammar and spelling? Have you taken the time to learn English grammar?

In an increasingly digital world, we often ignore the rules of standard written English. We dash off e-mails riddled with spelling and grammar errors, knowing the recipient will be able to understand what we mean. While this type of writing is acceptable in day-to-day communication, it can lead us to develop bad habits that can carry over into our formal writing. If we don’t take the time to eliminate these errors through editing, we could be left with a document that causes editors to reach for their red pens, or worse, reject the article outright.

This brings us to the number one rule of article submission: check and re-check your spelling and grammar. If an editor cannot make it through one page without stumbling across errors in your writing, he or she likely won’t continue to the second page. Spelling, grammar, and typographical errors reflect poorly on the author—you. These errors suggest that you are careless, that you don’t take pride in your work, or perhaps that you simply don’t care. If you don’t take the time to meticulously edit and proofread your own text, then the editor is left to wonder what other shortcuts you may have taken.

Reviewing your article again and again may seem tedious. The English language, after all, is full of obscure rules that can strike fear into the hearts of many writers. But fear not; there is hope! Listed below are the most common—and easily corrected—grammar and spelling errors made by authors.

  • Subject–verb agreement: A cardinal rule in the English language is that the subject must agree in number with the verb. This easy-to-remember rule is sometimes hard to follow when sentences are convoluted due to complex ideas and descriptive phrases. Strip away the unnecessary phrases to determine whether your subject and verb agree.
  • Capitalization: Capital letters are used as signals. They can signify an important noun (e.g., John Smith) or adjective (e.g., American), the pronoun I, or the beginning of a sentence.
  • Ending punctuation: The punctuation that appears at the end of a sentence acts as a full stop, signaling to the reader that the thought presented in the sentence is now complete. Be sure that your chosen punctuation mark (period, question mark, or exclamation point) matches the meaning of the sentence.
  • Commas: Many writers dread the comma because it can cause numerous problems, especially comma splices. If you are using a comma to connect two complete thoughts (independent clauses) in a sentence, be sure the comma is followed by a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, nor, for, yet, or so).
  • Apostrophes: Most problems with the apostrophe occur when a writer mistakes a plural (more than one) for a possessive (showing ownership). In this case, apostrophes are used to show possession: driver’s means belonging to the driver, while drivers means more than one driver.
    • Special case: The pronoun it can cause some confusion. It’s is a contraction meaning it is or it has, while its is the possessive form of it.
  • Homophones: These are words that sound like other words but are spelled differently. Homophones can wreak havoc on an article because many authors forget to search for these easy mistakes. Groups to notice in particular are: their/they’re/there, it’s/its, here/hear, your/you’re, to/too/two, through/threw, and weather/whether.

Eliminating these common grammar and spelling errors, and indeed all errors, will show your editor what you already know—that you are serious about and take pride in your work. If you struggle with learning English grammar or just need a refresher, do not submit articles filled with spelling errors and bad grammar. Instead, check out GrammarCamp, the online grammar course created by the editing experts at Scribendi.com.

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Online Grammar Course

Online Grammar Course

Get help choosing the best online grammar course now

Online Grammar CourseWhen you envision learning English grammar, what do you picture? Do you see stacks of books and hours spent in a classroom painstakingly repeating stilted phrases? Do you see yourself moving to a foreign country to fully immerse yourself in the language, potentially leading to culture shock? At one time, these were the two most common options. However, in recent years, experts have developed countless online courses for English language learning. These courses can be flexible and engaging, offering content to individuals seeking to learn English grammar online.

In fact, there are so many online English grammar courses that it may be difficult to find a course that suits your needs. A quick Internet search will return pages of links to various sites that offer everything from conversational English to college-level grammar—with an equally wide range of fees. Some free sites can help you get started, but they often do not continuously generate content or provide further challenges once you’ve mastered the basics. After you have moved on from a basic understanding of English grammar, where can you go to learn more?

The answer is more complex than a simple link. Online courses have certain advantages in common, such as the ability to work from a variety of locations and often at your own pace. Beyond that, however, they can differ widely. To find the best online grammar course, you first need to determine your particular needs. Before selecting a course, consider the following criteria.

  • Quality: An online grammar course is only as good as its content. Look for a site that is rated well in terms of both accuracy of information and depth of coverage. Research the site to determine whether the instructors are native speakers and have received formal training. Most reputable sources will provide you with a syllabus or course overview to help you determine if the course is right for you.
  • Audience: While some web sites are targeted to businesspeople, others may be targeted to teenagers, university students, or other types of learners. The intended audience for a particular online English grammar course will determine the depth (delving into intricacies/deeper issues) or breadth (covering a wide variety of topics) of its content. Additionally, your reason for learning English—such as gaining the ability to engage in casual conversation, improving your business communication skills, or becoming an English instructor—will help you determine which online grammar course is right for you.
  • Ease of use: If you are new to the English language, web sites in English can be difficult to navigate. Look for an online grammar course that uses intuitive navigation tools so you can easily find your way around. A course that moves seamlessly from lesson to lesson and provides quick access to additional resources can go a long way toward reducing frustration.
  • Variety: An online grammar course that provides variety, such as games, interactive lessons, videos, podcasts, quizzes, and live tutoring, may be the most beneficial for you.
  • Social media: While this fits into the “variety” category, social media is important in its own right. Learning a new language requires you to practice. The more you write blog entries, forum posts, and comments on other students’ work, the greater your understanding of English will become. Real-world practice in language learning is vital, and social media provides a unique chance for you to have instant, continuous access to other English speakers.

Knowing what you want from an English grammar course will help you find the one that’s right for you. The best online English grammar course is the one that meets all your needs. An excellent option is GrammarCamp, a fun and comprehensive online English grammar course offered by Scribendi.com, the world’s leading online editing and proofreading company.

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Learning English Grammar

Learning English Grammar

GrammarCamp makes learning English grammar fun

Learning English Grammar English is a tricky language, full of complex rules and contradictions, and learning English grammar can seem overwhelming. Despite this, English is a global language used by politicians, business leaders, and entertainers worldwide. With the growing importance of English has come an increase in the number of people wanting to learn the language, many of whom struggle with English grammar.

Learning any language involves four main aspects: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Some of these things are easy to practice on your own, but others require at least one other person for the practice to be useful. The following are some easy ways to improve your English grammar skills and increase your confidence.

Reading

You may find that working on your reading skills is the easiest way to begin learning English grammar. Newspapers, novels, and the Internet provide endless sources of material written in English, and reading practice can be done practically anywhere. Reading provides learners with a great starting point from which to build a working vocabulary and become familiar with the structure of English grammar. If you are not a native English speaker, be sure to have a bilingual dictionary handy to help in your reading practice. This resource will be invaluable.

Many web sites suggest that you begin with reading newspapers and other similar material. The drawback to this is that the text is often filled with difficult words that may cause frustration. Instead, try starting with children’s books that feature repetition of ideas, words, and phrases.

As you progress and encounter new words, try to use context clues—the words or sentences surrounding the unknown word—to determine what meaning would make most sense. Then use your dictionary to confirm your translation of those words. Keep notes to help you remember words and phrases.

Listening

Listening to native English speakers is another way to build your vocabulary and help you learn English grammar. English TV shows and movies can expose you to the cadence, pitch, and pronunciation of native speakers. Watch videos or DVDs over and over. The first time, simply try to determine the overall ideas. Then, work on picking up details and noting any new vocabulary words. Something else that can help when you’re learning English grammar, in addition to listening to recorded material, is to meet with and listen to native speakers in person. Find a regular conversation partner with whom you can practice on a weekly or biweekly basis.

Speaking

One of the best ways to learn proper English grammar is to converse with other English speakers. If possible, take a class that allows you to interact with others who are either learning English or are native speakers. Conversations with others will allow you to practice both your speaking and listening skills, substantially improving your fluency. In addition to speaking with others, learn to think in English rather than translating from your native language. This skill will increase the speed of your responses and will allow you to fully immerse yourself in conversation. You may also find it helpful to record yourself speaking in English.

Writing

Finally, writing practice will help you improve your English grammar skills. In the beginning, you may find writing to be tedious and challenging, but being able to look back on your written text is invaluable. Write something every day, no matter how simple or short. You could keep a journal, or you may prefer visiting chat rooms, forums, or blogs—or even exchanging messages with a pen pal. Reviewing or editing your previous writings can also be helpful. As you progress, search your earlier work for mistakes. This will help reinforce your progress and help you learn to revise your own work.

Mistakes

Learning a new language is difficult, and you will undoubtedly make mistakes. Don’t be embarrassed, but rather view these mistakes for what they are—learning opportunities. Embrace these mistakes and learn from them. Before you know it, you will have mastered the skills that are currently causing you problems. Then you can move on to more complex English grammar issues. A good place to start learning English grammar is GrammarCamp, a comprehensive and fun online grammar course offered by Scribendi.com, the world’s leading online editing and proofreading company.