Let’s face it, grammar, words, writing, essays, English — it can be a bit of a hassle. Have you ever found yourself running to Google, searching for the solution to whatever writing dilemma you're encountering? Perhaps, like me, you’ve spent hours scrolling through responses on Yahoo Answers, desperately trying to find a comment that can explain to you — in words you’ll understand — the difference between a comma and a semi-colon and where it’s appropriate to use each. Maybe you too have had a teacher scrawl into the margins of your poorly written essay, commanding you to brush up on your participles (and poor you had no idea what a participle is). I think it is fair to say that we’ve all faced some difficulties when it comes to English — minor or major. So, here are four reliable websites you can run to for (basically) all your English needs!
Grammar Bytes is a fun, interactive website I was introduced to in grade 11 English. On this website you can scroll through a bunch of exercises (such as: parallel structure, misplaced and dangling modifiers, fragments, irregular verbs, and many more). The fun thing about this website is that you’re awarded with wacky virtual prizes if you try a grammar exercise and get the answer right. Of course, the prizes are cyber so you don’t actually get a cyber suitcase full of cash or a cyber car, but it certainly does motivate you to learn; who doesn’t want to know what cool prize they get for spotting whether a sentence is fused or contains a comma splice? Furthermore, you can print a handout to keep track of your answers. Plus, if you don’t understand a grammar rule, this site offers both broad and specific explanations.
You can always count on Oxford Dictionaries to be a reliable and trustworthy source for all things English — after all, they do write the dictionary. Personally, I usually head to this website when I’m confused about the usage of a certain word (for example, ‘effect’ versus ‘affect’). However, they do offer other sections besides word usage; such as, grammar, spelling, punctuation and writing help. Of course, you can also look up the definition of a word, find a synonym or translate a word into another language.
Quick and Dirty Tips.com
quickanddirtytips.com is a pretty popular go-to grammar website. As stated on their about page, “Quick and Dirty Tips creates and distributes digital content that offers short, actionable advice from friendly and informed authorities that will help you succeed at work and in life.” For grammar, I’ve always found it has comprehensive and easy to understand explanations. As well, this website offers a variety of formats: podcasts, videos, articles, e-newsletters, audiobooks, and books (available for purchase).
Lastly, if you’re simply searching for the definition of a word or looking to find a synonym, then dictionary.com/thesaurus.com is your website! In my opinion, it is easy to navigate this website and the definitions provided are always clear and concise and, if you search the thesaurus, you’re always given a variety of options. I’d recommend book-marking this site for all your late-night editing needs!
English is a tricky language to master and you’re bound to make a mistake somewhere — a mistake you didn’t even know you could make. However, these websites (and many others) can help you edit your papers with ease.
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