9 Free Online Grammar Resources You Can't Ignore

If you're looking for a selection of writing and grammar websites to use as a reference, we suggest you explore these. Writers need to find a site that is user-friendly and reliable, and one that suits their writing needs. 

Please share your favourite sites in the comments section below. 

Here are a selection of sites we recommend:

  1. British Council Quick Grammar - This reference section gives brief explanations of 48 of the more common areas of grammar, each with an activity to help you learn. 

  2. Oxford English Dictionaries Grammar - Do you want a quick answer to a specific point, such as whether it's wrong to split an infinitive or to end a sentence with a preposition such as on? Go straight to the quick-reference grammar tips section. If you want more detailed advice on, for example, types of pronouns or how to build well-formed sentences, browse through the headings and explore the different sections. 

  3. Perfect English Grammar - Seonaid, a British native speaker of English, has a blog that gives more than explanations. It also gives tips on how to learn grammar. 

  4. English Grammar - Learn all aspects of the English written language to help you improve your writing skills in both personal and formal communications. 

  5. Grammarly Handbook - Grammarly is a website where you can check your grammar. This online handbook answers all of your grammar questions. 

  6. Grammar Monster - This website offers explanations about everything to do with grammar. It also has a short test for each of its sections. 

  7. GrammarBook.com - This reference site serves anyone and everyone seeking to improve their English grammar and punctuation skills. 

  8. Apostrophe Protection Society - The site was started in 2001 by John Richards, now its Chairman, with the specific aim of preserving the correct use of this currently much abused punctuation mark in all forms of text written in the English language. 

  9. Writing Explained - This site is dedicated to providing the best educational articles on writing that the web has to offer and features hundreds of articles on grammar, style, and usage with examples and quizzes. 

If you want to improve your business writing, join us for The Plain Language Programme. If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg. 

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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17 Resources For Writing About Troubled Fictional Characters

World Mental Health Day is on 10 October every year. The objective is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilise efforts in support of mental health. [The theme for 2016 is Psychological First Aid]

According to MentalHealth.gov

"Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. 

Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behaviour could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems"

If you want to write about mental health issues, we encourage you to research the subject thoroughly and to approach experts in the field for advice.

We are not experts, but we do have resources and articles on the site that you may find helpful when creating troubled characters in fiction.

17 Resources For Writing About Troubled Fictional Characters

  1. Personality Disorders - DSM-5 Resource for Writers
  2. When Crazy Is Good - 9 Good Reasons For Your Character's Bad Behaviour
  3. Mental Illness - Writing Resource
  4. 9 Famous Anti-Social Fictional Characters
  5. Personality Disorders - A Writer's Resource
  6. Shades of Emotion - Creating Characters
  7. Types of Love - Creating Characters
  8. Universal Needs - Creating Characters
  9. Psychopath Or Sociopath - What's The Difference?
  10. Writing About Characters With Phobias
  11. 37 Ways To Write About Anger
  12. 9 Famous Fictional Narcissistic Mothers - And How To Write About Them
  13. How To Get Your Reader To Identify With An Unsympathetic Character
  14. The 15 Most Memorable Mothers in Literature
  15. 15 Fascinating Fathers From Fiction
  16. What Is Love? 12 Literary Couples Whose Love Will Last
  17. 9 Ways to Make Readers Care for an Amoral Protagonist

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If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg.

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

If you enjoyed this article, read:

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

The Top 42 Writing Posts of 2015

At the beginning of every year, we post our Top 42 Writing Posts from the previous year

These were the posts you wanted to see on this website in 2015. We have also included the number of views each post received as at 31 December 2015. The articles are written by Amanda PattersonMia BothaAnthony Ehlers and Donna Radley.

The runaway favourite was The Daily Word Counts of 39 Famous Authors. Please tell us which post you liked best in the comments section below.

Post

Views

The Daily Word Counts of 39 Famous Authors

82,923

17 Of The Most Powerful Excerpts From Poetry

38,238

37 Ways To Write About Anger

26,663

Six Sub-Plots That Add Style To Your Story

24,929

93 Extremely Bad Business Writing Habits to Break

23,346

Torture your Character - The Three Most Effective Types of Inner Conflict

20,923

Proust's Questionnaire - 35 Questions Every Character Should Answer

19,808

How To Become A Writer - The Easy Way - by Neil Gaiman

19,475

When To Use ‘That’ And When To Use ‘Which’

14,253

How To Write A Beginning And An Ending That Readers Will Never Forget

13,432

11 Things To Know About Dating A Writer

13,106

Word Counts - How Long Should Your Novel Be?

12,514

Howdy Ma’am: Three Ways To Introduce Your Characters In The First Few Lines

12,208

10 Things To Stop Doing To Yourself As A Writer

11,639

The 5 Best Online Tools to Help You Outline Your Novel

10,915

Make Me Care - Nine Ways To Ensure An Unforgettable Read

10,906

The Three Mistakes Writers Make That Stop Us Reading Their Books

10,307

Why First Time Authors Don't Write The Books They Want To Read

9,948

How To Avoid ‘Telling’ Words

9,656

The Opposite Habits of Famous Writers

9,649

The Nine Types of Unreliable Narrator

9,550

13 Ways To Start A Story

9,228

The Three Surprises You Need In A Story

9,182

Six Questions To Ask Before You Even Start Your First Draft

8,981

The 12 Worst Mistakes People Make In Email Subject Lines

8,023

NaNoWriMo Calendar – Organise and Conquer!

7,829

Literary Style: 15 Writers and Their Bedrooms

7,462

The Romantic Sub-Plot - Six Uncommon Romantic Love Interests

7,276

Three Steps To Help You Write Brilliant Descriptions

6,983

10 Remedies For The Horrible Things Writers Tell Themselves

6,891

180 Emotionally Powerful Words To Use In Headlines

6,850

Write Small - Five Ways To Make Your Reader Care

6,543

How To Plot A Perfect Scene In 10 Minutes

6,495

It's Never Too Late To Start Writing - When 27 Famous Authors Were Published

6,283

One Goal To Rule Them All – 5 Things To Consider Before You Write An Epic Fantasy

6,239

Unhinged — Three Plot Devices You Should Definitely Be Using

5,983

12 Inspiring Literacy Quotes

5,903

10 Elementary Tips For Writers From Sherlock Holmes

5,610

Four Ways To Remove Padding Words

5,508

Five Ways To Create Fictional Conflict That Counts

5,467

The Writer's Journey - Five Exercises To Get You Started

5,447

Three Lines That Will Help You Write A Better First Draft

5,418

~~~

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. If you want to learn how to write a book, write for social media, and improve your business writing, email news@writerswrite.co.za for more information.

Writers Write - Write to communicate

The Top 42 Writing Posts of 2014

Last year we posted The Top 42 Writing Posts of 2013. We want to carry on this tradition every year. 

These were the posts you wanted to see on this website in 2014. We have also included the number of views each post received as at 31 December 2014. The articles are written by Amanda Patterson, Mia Botha and Anthony Ehlers.

The runaway favourite with more than one million views was 45 ways to avoid using the word 'very'

Please tell us which post you liked best in the comments section below.

              Post

Views

      1.     45 ways to avoid using the word 'very'

1,361,105

      2.     Cheat Sheets for Writing Body Language

325,064

      3.     Eight Commonly Misused Words

57,221

      4.     The Five Elements of a Story

34,971

      5.     Persuasive Writing - Emotional vs Intellectual Words

32,935

      6.     15 Questions Authors Should Ask Characters

31,351

      7.     The Locked Room – A simple way to test your plot

26,559

      8.     Five Incredibly Simple Ways to Help Writers Show and Not Tell

22,196

      9.     The Importance of Inciting Moments

18,733

    10.    50 Lyric Titles As Writing Prompts

17,004

    11.    The 12 Question Fiction Writing Conflict Test

14,036

    12.    The Six Defining Characteristics of Strong Female Protagonists

11,717

    13.    10 Things Successful Authors Do

11,154

    14.    Universal Needs - Creating Characters

10,546

    15.    How to write a one-page synopsis

9,659

    16.    An Editing Checklist For Writers

9,554

    17.    10 Short Story Competitions To Enter Before The End Of 2014

9,506

    18.    What does it take to write a book? The five qualities published authors share

9,472

    19.    Know Your Dashes

9,366

    20.    Confessions of a Serial Killer- How to kill characters when you write

9,352

    21.    Character Questionnaire - How well do you know your hero?

8,901

    22.    10 (Amazingly Simple) Tips to Get You Back on The Writing Track

8,858

    23.    Which one of these is your favourite writing position?

8,411

    24.    The Top 42 Writing Posts of 2013

8,400

    25.    Psychopath or Sociopath - What's the difference?

8,361

    26.    Which famous writer's style is most like your own?

8,031

    27.    How the five senses make stories seem real

7,721

    28.    Types of Love - Creating Characters

7,580

    29.    The 25 Best Quotes About Authors

7,563

    30.    21 Literary Quotes on Beginnings, Middles, and Endings

7,379

    31.    Five guaranteed ways to bore your reader

7,104

    32.    A Fabulous Resource for Writers - 350 Character Traits

7,087

    33.    Punctuation Personality Types - Which one are you?

7,034

    34.    10 Things You Didn't Know About JK Rowling

6,768

    35.    Seven Extremely Good Reasons to Write the Ending First

6,730

    36.    Seven Essential Things to Remember about Very Important Characters

6,486

    37.    Why you need strong verbs when you write

6,400

    38.    20 words used to describe specific tastes and flavours

6,304

    39.    17 Ways To Make your Novel More Memorable

6,267

    40.    Writing About Characters With Phobias

6,201

    41.    How to make your characters shockingly real

6,023

    42.    Examples of Character Archetypes

6,014

~~~~~

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. If you want to learn how to write a book, write for social media, and improve your business writing, email news@writerswrite.co.za for more information.

Writers Write - Write to communicate

Personality Disorders - DSM-5 Resource For Writers

Are you thinking about creating a character with a personality disorder? We hope this table, with references from The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, helps you.

Source for Cartoon: The Spectator   Source for Table

If you enjoyed this post, you will like:

~~~

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Writing About Characters With Phobias

What is a phobia?

It is a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it. The word phobia comes from the Greek, Phóbos, meaning ‘fear’ or ‘morbid fear’.

Common symptoms associated with phobias include:

  • Dizziness
  • Breathlessness
  • Nausea
  • A sense of unreality
  • Fear of dying

Most phobias are classified into three categories. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), these phobias are considered to be sub-types of anxiety disorder.

The Three Types of Phobias

  1. Social phobias—fear of social situations.
  2. Agoraphobia—fear of being trapped in an inescapable place or situation.
  3. Specific phobias—fear of a specific object. There are four major types of specific phobias: the natural environment, animals, medical, situational.

Phobias vary in severity. Some people can simply avoid the subject of their fear and suffer relatively mild anxiety over that fear. Others suffer full-fledged panic attacks with all the associated disabling symptoms. Most individuals understand that they are suffering from an irrational fear, but are powerless to override their panic reaction. 

All of this could provide you with a source of conflict as a writer. Nevertheless, it is important to do adequate research before you write about it. 

I thought I would add this list of phobias associated with literature for fun. 

    Three Fun Fictional Phobias

    1. Kinemortophobia – Fear of Zombies
    2. Sanguivoriphobia – Fear of Vampires
    3. Lycanthrophobia – Fear of Werewolves

    If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg. 

     by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Pinterest,  Google+,  Tumblr  and  Twitter

    © Amanda Patterson

    If you liked this articleyou may enjoy 

    1. Universal Needs - Creating Characters
    2. The 12 Most Basic Character Building Blocks
    3. Cheat Sheets for Writing Body Language.

    ~~~~~

    Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

    Eight Personality Disorders

    We found these fun comics illustrating common traits associated with personality disorders by Julie Ha at Where's Cheese. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

    Follow the links below for more:

    If you enjoyed this post, you will want to read:

    1. 9 Famous Anti-Social Fictional Characters
    2. Personality Disorders - A writer's resource
    3. Shades of Emotion - Creating Characters

    ~~~

    Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

    Mental Illness - Writing Resource

    Source for Mental Illness Infographic

    Follow these links for more:

    1. When Crazy Is Good - 9 Good Reasons For Your Character's Bad Behaviour
    2. Personality Disorders - A Writer's Resource
    3. Psychopath Or Sociopath - What's The Difference?

    If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg. 

    ~~~

    Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

    Tips for Decoding Body Language

    Tips from The Secret Yumiverse

    Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. To find out about Writers Write - How to write a book, or The Plain Language Programme - How to write for business, email news@writerswrite.co.za  

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    Writers Write - Write to communicate

    Types of Love - Creating Characters

    Psychologist, Robert Sternberg, developed the Triangular Theory of Love. This shows the type of love you share with another person. The theory is based on three components your relationship can possess.

    Source

    The three components are:

    1. Intimacy: This includes feelings of attachment, closeness, trust, and connectedness. Your partner could feel like your best friend. Do you laugh and have fun together?
    2. Passion: This includes the sexual attraction or the physical connection between two people.
    3. Commitment: This includes the decision to stay together, no matter what, and to make plans for the future together.

    A relationship based on a single element is less likely to survive than one based on two or three elements. Which romantic relationship do your characters share?

    If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg. 

    Amanda Patterson by Amanda Patterson.Follow her on  Facebook,  Pinterest,  Google+,  Tumblr  and  Twitter

    © Amanda Patterson

    If you liked this articleyou may enjoy 

    1. Universal Needs - Creating Characters
    2. The 12 Most Basic Character Building Blocks
    3. Cheat Sheets for Writing Body Language.

    ~~~~~

    Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate