10 easy ways to quickly improve your grammar, from affordable online courses to a free Chrome plug-in

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Online grammar resources 4x3
  • Knowledge of grammar is important in the world of professional emails and job applications.
  • Online resources can help you improve your punctuation, writing style, and sentence structure.
  • The list below includes 10 online classes, books, and free apps to sharpen your grammar skills.

Whether your job prospects actively involve a lot of writing or you find English punctuation rules confusing, understanding grammar can make your sentences stand out. It’s an increasingly important skill to have, considering how much our careers usually revolve around written text – be it in cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, emails, or presentations.

While learning more about grammar can seem like a daunting endeavor, there are plenty of accessible ways to do it, whether you take a short online course, consult a reference guide, or install a free grammar-checking app.

10 affordable resources to improve your grammar:

Grammarly

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Cost: Free for basic plan; $11.66 a month for Premium.

If you consider yourself more of a hands-on learner, you can download Grammarly, an AI-powered writing Chrome extension and mobile keyboard. It’s essentially like the spellcheck tool, but gives more detailed feedback so you can learn more about grammar as you go. It’s free to download, but the paid version gives more personalized guidance on style, such as avoiding excess words like “really” or “I think,” using more inclusive language, or tweaking your tone. You can read a review of the free version of Grammarly here.

Available on Grammarly.

“The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

"The Elements of Style" by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White 4x3

Length: 96 pages

Cost: $2.98 on Kindle; $7.89 paperback

This style manual is a staple of many high school and college classes and is regarded as a must-have by many writing and English instructors. It includes commonly misspelled words and expressions, making it a handy reference guide for when you get stuck on an essay or writing assignment. If you’re planning on expanding your grammar knowledge, you can’t go wrong with this classic.

Available on Amazon.

English Grammar and Style

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Length: 8 weeks

Cost: Free

Offered by the University of Queensland in Australia, this course devotes each week to one section (such as verbs or punctuation) so that you’re not overwhelmed. The class comes with video interviews from grammarians to guide you through the lessons, plus virtual quizzes and writing activities so that you can practice everything you learn right after you learn it.* 

Available on edX.

*This course is archived, but you can still access all the materials

Editing and Proofreading Made Simple

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Length: 39 minutes

Cost: Free with 1-month trial; $29.99 a month or $19.99 a month (annual fee) after trial ends

Not everyone has the money or time for a personal proofreader, so this speedy course is meant to help you edit your own work quickly and effectively. You go over the five keys of good editing for things like emails, presentations, and blog posts, so that you can apply these lessons to your daily professional life. This course comes with a LinkedIn certificate of completion at the end.

Available on LinkedIn Learning.

Grammar Foundations

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Length: 2 hours and 11 minutes

Cost: Free with 1-month trial; $29.99 a month or $19.99 a month (annual fee) after trial ends

This relatively short beginner course isn’t about memorizing an endless list of rules that you know you’ll eventually forget. Rather, it’s focused on quickly teaching you the most basic principles you can apply to avoid the most common mistakes. It provides you with tricks for using words that sound alike (like “affect” and “effect”) and understanding parallel sentence structure. As a bonus, you automatically receive a certificate of completion by the end of the course, which you can add to your LinkedIn profile.

Available on LinkedIn Learning.

Tricky English Grammar

Tricky English Grammar 4x3

Length: 4 weeks

Cost: Free with 7-day trial; $49 a month to keep learning after trial ends

Designed for both native and nonnative English speakers, this UC Irvine course is built around the things that can trip you up. Through a combination of lectures and practice quizzes, you learn whether to put “a” or “the” in front of certain nouns, or how to navigate confusing rules about infinitives. Completion of the course earns you a certificate to put on your resume or LinkedIn profile. The course is also part of a larger Coursera specialization in Intermediate Grammar.

Available on Coursera.

Writing and Editing: Word Choice and Word Order

Writing and Editing  Word Choice and Word Order 4x3

Length: 4 weeks

Cost: Free with 7-day trial; $39 a month to keep learning after trial ends

Beyond understanding grammar, knowledge of syntax (or the order of words) can help you make complex information easier to read. On top of covering crucial grammar rules, this engaging University of Michigan course teaches you how to simplify your sentences and consider your word choice, so that you can present your ideas in a more effective way. Completion of the course gets you a certificate to put on your resume or LinkedIn profile.

Available on Coursera.

Purdue University’s OWL (Online Writing Lab)

Purdue University's OWL (Online Writing Lab) 4x3

Cost: Free

Purdue University’s online writing lab (OWL) offers a wealth of written resources to answer all your grammar and style questions as they come up. It has specific examples as well, like explaining the difference between “that” and “which,” and provides detailed guidance on sentence mechanics, punctuation, and style. 

Available on Purdue University’s OWL.

How to Write an Essay

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Length: 5 weeks

Cost: Free; $169 for a certificate

In a little over a month, this UC Berkeley class teaches you how to structure a convincing essay, with a strong focus on grammar and style. This is great if you want to get better at longer-form writing, such as academic writing, or sharpen a personal statement for a college application. You can take this course free or pay to get a shareable certificate. 

Available on edX.

“Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English” by Patricia T. O’Conner

"Woe Is I  The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English" by Patricia T. O'Conner 4x3

Length: 320 pages

Cost: $9.99 for e-textbook

Written by a former “New York Times” book review editor, this tome is full of funny, light-hearted examples of grammatical errors, with clear (and judgment-free) instructions on how to avoid common mistakes. The tone of the book is geared toward reminding you that everyone — including bestselling authors — can find English grammar confusing. You can order as a book or e-textbook, which lets you annotate the text and create digital flashcards.

Available on Amazon.

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