By Seth Spencer, Writing Studio Consultant
Nobody likes talking about grammar – it’s just one of those subjects that causes massive outbreaks of narcolepsy among students. As unpleasant as this topic may be, “good” grammar is a cornerstone of effective communication. It’s one of the building blocks of language, and it could mean the difference between sounding like an authority on the subject of your writing and sounding like a total buffoon.
Recently, several YouTube channels helping writers tackle this tricky topic have sprung up. If you’re struggling with a particular grammar question or you just need a quick refresher on “who” vs. “whom,” take a gander at these channels. Your fear of the dreaded “G” word will fade, and you’ll master this aspect of writing with the help of these resources!
Grammar Girl, primarily known as a website devoted to answering various grammar questions, now employs YouTube as another medium to spread its message. The lengths of the videos vary, ranging anywhere from 15 seconds to 15 minutes, and they cover just about every topic under the sun. Not only do they address pretty standard topics like passive voice and contractions, some even address literary terms like irony, and others talk about the craft of writing dialogue for plays and screenplays. One of the handiest features is the “Quick Tips” series. These videos, in 15 seconds, address common grammar questions many students have in an entertaining and informative way.
Mary Norris, AKA the Comma Queen, is a copyeditor who has worked for the prestigious magazine The New Yorker for 24 years. Recently, she has released a series of videos addressing some of the most frequently asked grammar questions posed by writers. Most of them are quite short, ranging from one to five minutes. Her videos, with amusing titles such as “The Semicolon; or, Mastering the Giant Comma” and “Excuse Me! Your Participle is Dangling,” educate writers on these diverse topics while maintaining a light-hearted, accessible tone.
Check out her video series on The New Yorker’s YouTube channel here.
engVid is a fantastic resource used by writers for whom English is not their native language. Not only can you learn basic sentence construction and tackle complex grammatical issues, but the channel features eleven different “teachers” you can choose from depending on your preferred learning style. engVid even hosts videos that help English language learners in certain social situations, such as how to start a conversation, how to tell a joke, and the correct lingo to use while texting! The videos also feature a mixture of traditional “whiteboard” lectures and eye-catching graphics that reinforce the lessons. Most of the videos are short, lasting around five minutes.
Check out engVid’s channel here.