The rules of English are tough and especially tougher for a writer. It literally comes down to "this" and "that" and "whom" or "who." What about present tense? Present perfect? Imperfect? What does it mean to say "Bob was a broker" or "Bob has been a broker" or even "Bob had been a broker"? Some people find the rules of grammar easy to understand and use. I don't. If you are like me, I encourage you to find a good grammar usage book. There are a lot of them out there. The one I have found to be most helpful is "The Wordwatcher's Guide to Good Writing and Grammar" by Morton Freeman. It's an older copy, but I still find it useful.
What should you look for in a guide like this?
- Buy the newest edition you can find. Language changes rapidly and you need to stay on top of it.
- Buy one that is easily laid out. Both books I have list the words/phrases in question alphabetically and makes it easy to find what you are looking for.
- Make sure it is easy to understand and provides good examples. I have two books I use. I can't recall the name of the other, but it is very technical and almost written for graduate level English students -- that's not me.
If you are serious about your writing, you do need to find one of these. Go to a book store and cruise the reference section. You should find one there to fit your needs.
If you're a writer, what do you use?