Clarity, Grammar, and Usage: Introduction

In practice, nobody’s grammar and usage is perfect. Whether you are writing in your native language or in a language you learned later in life, you will occasionally write sentences that have problems with verb tense, article use, and word choice, to name just a few possibilities. How much should we worry about these kinds of mistakes? Often enough, readers are able to figure out what you meant to say given the context of your other sentences. But what happens when the sentences that give readers the context of your meaning are confusing or misleading? For academic readers, there is an expectation that certain sentences and paragraphs will guide them in their understanding of your Argument, your various claims, and your main conclusions. If these sentences are confusing or end up saying something other than your intended meaning, a reader will struggle to understand the larger points you are making in your academic writing. In this resource, we prioritize revision strategies that help writers achieve a greater form of clarity. In other words, the following revision strategies help writers to check grammar and usage strategically, placing particular focus and attention on predictably high-impact locations within an academic text, locations where readers expect to receive clear guidance on what the author is saying.