1. Exzalia
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    Exzalia Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have a huge problem that I need help advice for.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Exzalia, Jul 30, 2012.

    I have a confession to make. I am a writer with an ironic problem, my spelling and grammar is Atrocious. Yes it's like a professionally swimmer with a fear of water but that's my situation and I need advice on how to over come it. Now I am not entirely sure why I'm so bad at it and I'm not going to sit here and just blame the education system (Though that maybe the case.) I do however think it's got to do with an awfully old and bad habit and, maybe related to how my brain works. I spell the way words sound and not the way it's spelled. This is more true when I'm n the heat of an epic scene like a battle or other wise. Example, even while I wrote this I came across the word grammar which is spelled G,r,a,m,m,a,r but when spoken sounds like. G,r,a,m,m,e,r with an ERRRR at the end. Only after I had written it had I realised my mistake, and only do to spell check.

    When I was younger I used to spell the word phone as F,O,N,E because that's how it sounded. It took sometime to break that particular word.

    even the word particular is often pronounced perticular with an E and not an A and again I end up spelling it that way.

    Does any one else have this problem? How does one break this habit?

    As for grammar I don't know what happened to me in school but none of the lessons ever stuck with me. (It's like aliens sucked out the info while I slept (T_T)
    Since I'm a new member and not yet able to post my own stories for another 12 days, I'm taking this time to ask for any tips, or resources you may have to help me with this. I know one thing, I love to make stories and I love to write (My longest story has over 100 thousand words and I'm still not done!) and I know if I can get the formatting down I'll be good. So please help me :)
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There are no shortcuts for improving spelling or grammar. It requires study and practice. You need to read a great deal of well-written material, and you have to practice writing grammatically and with correct spelling and usage (usage is knowing the difference between loose and lose, wear and where, or site and sight, for example.) Practice requires assistance to point out where your mistakes are - the ones you don't see for yourself.

    Yes, there are books and writers' handbooks that can help you, but you still must know what to look for.
     
  3. Scott Berman
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    Scott Berman Member

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    Cogito has it right, the only way you'll get better is by reading and writing a ton, but maybe read books on grammar, like Strunk's "The Element of Style".

    Also, at least in my opinion, words are written how their spoken we just don't say them right due to accents and weird personal quirks. I pronounce particular par-tic-u-lar, and while I don't pronounce it gram-mar, I don't do gram-mer, its more like gram-mawr. At the same time, heaven forbid I ever have to say that terrible evil word comfortable, and you should just watch videos where people say the word drawer... uch. Still, spelling isn't too big an issue with spell checks if you ask me, just be careful with words that have multiple spellings and meanings.
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Try Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss in addition to Elements of Style. It's an easier read.
     
  5. Exzalia
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    Exzalia Contributing Member Contributor

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    do you or any one else know of any exercises one can do to help with practising?
     
  6. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    On another site I'm on, someone was having a lot of trouble with grammar issues and someone else recommended a workbook they use with their kids:
    Fix it! Grammar and Editing Made Easy with the Classics [Spiral-Bound] published by The Institute for Excellence in Writing.

    I have never actually seen the book, so I can't make a personal recommendation on it, but I can pass along the info I saw someone else give to someone else in a similar situation.
     
  7. Exzalia
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    Exzalia Contributing Member Contributor

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    any info would be nice
     
  8. Gonissa
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    Gonissa Contributing Member

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    The best way to learn is just to read. Writing won't really help you at this point, because when you practice doing something wrong, you only keep yourself in the habit of being wrong. Just pick books you like to read and go for it. I recommend early 20th century British lit, as they had really expansive vocabularies during that time. Try some Sherlock Holmes, maybe some Father Brown, and Out of the Silent Planet. Try to read fiction rather than nonfiction, because nonfiction can be too straightforward and stale for a writer.

    Once you've gotten into the habit of reading a lot more, try writing poetry. Because poetry has few rules, it's good practice to play with words and exercise your narrative.
     
  9. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Memorise memorise memorise! Spell the words out - so I mean, when you're trying to spell "apple", don't think in your head "Ap-ple" as in the 2 syllables, but rather think in your head: "A P P L E" - in terms of the letters.

    Try and remember the way something looks rather than sounds. Like Mitosis and Meiosis - Meiosis is how I am created, hence the word "Me" at the beginning of Meiosis - spelling and meaning in one :D Think of creative ways of remembering the spelling.

    Now the way we learnt how to write Chinese was this: you simply repeated, written the same word over and over again like 20 times, and you get one little mistake, like a missing dot, you write it out again correctly another 10 times til there's not a single mistake, and thanks to this method millions can write Chinese. Spelling English is a lot easier than writing Chinese, so try this method :D Repetition really is key!

    You might also like to see if you might be dyslexic? My dyslexic friend often spells things the way it sounds, they have little visual memory of how a word looks I think.
     
  10. P R Crawford
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    P R Crawford Member

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    I'd just like to suggest, along with the other excellent recommendations above, to not let this problem impact you during your first draft writing sessions. In other words, when you're working on a new story, just spell the words in whichever way flows best for you without worrying about trying to edit or correct yourself. Otherwise you may end up blocking your natural creative flow.

    Save the spell-check (copy-editing) for last, after you've got the story itself in good shape.
     
  11. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    You're still pretty young. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Like learning anything, practice makes perfect.
    Reading will definitely improve your grammer. Keep using spell check programs.

    Also if writing is in your heart as something you truely want to pursue - start to love words the way painters love colors.

    Don't put so much pressure on yourself - make learning fun. Check out some books on word games , lost
    forgotten words , go to spelling game sites. Pretty soon you'll be gloating over the words that gave you
    trouble - as I gloat over doubt - with it's buttinski b.
     
  12. Exzalia
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    Exzalia Contributing Member Contributor

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    thanks for the input! I always wondered if I maybe a tad bit dyslexic since this problem has been with me my whole life.
    Not that I'll let that stop me!:)

    I like your idea about changing the way I think I'll try it.
     
  13. Exzalia
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    Exzalia Contributing Member Contributor

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    thanks for all the advice guys.
     
  14. cobaltblue
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    cobaltblue Member

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    Maybe as you read books and come across words that you know you often misspell, you could take a moment and spell them out loud to yourself, or even write them down with the correct spelling. Just the constant practice to spelling words the correct way might help imprint them on to your brain.

    I know my kids spelling homework is a lot of repetition.

    Blue
     

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