What Is the Best Way to Learn Basic Business Grammar?

Researchers studying methods of training writers know the most successful way to teach grammar. It was stated by the National Council of Teachers of English in a position statement:

This resolution was prompted by the continuing use of repetitive grammar drills and exercises in the teaching of English in many schools.  Proposers pointed out that ample evidence from 50 years of research has shown the teaching of grammar in isolation does not lead to improvement in students’ speaking and writing, and that in fact, it hinders development of students’ oral and written language.” (On Grammar Exercises to Teach Speaking and Writing. NCTE Position Statement adopted at the 1985 NCTE Annual Business Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

A workshop with grammar rules flatly will not teach you or your employees how to avoid usage errors when they write.  They must learn how to correct errors over time by having someone show them the errors in their own writing samples and helping them understand how to write differently in the context of their own writing.

What Makes Ideal Business Grammar Training?

Business-writing trainers know how to teach adults grammar, punctuation, spelling, sentence clarity, vocabulary, and word usage. The research shows us that to learn to use correct grammar, adult learners must have these components in their training:

  1. Each trainee must be assigned to a trainer who works with him or her throughout the training.
  2. The trainees must submit writing samples no one has edited for them.
  3. The trainer must go through each sample thoroughly, identifying skills the trainee needs to learn.
  4. The trainee must receive a list of sentences with the same problems together, with corrections showing how they should have been written, so the trainees can see how they are consistently making the same error.
  5. They must read about the grammar rule that pertains to the error and show they understand the rule.
  6. They must go through activities practicing the skills, and the trainer must evaluate the practice activities and correct any misconceptions.
  7. The trainees must rewrite their original documents using the corrected sentences to see the writing in their own text.
  8. They must study the corrected sentences to be sure they can write them correctly on their own, then take a test containing sentences from their original writing sample to show they can correct from memory.
  9. The trainer must evaluate the quiz and coach the trainee through anything he or she still needs to learn.

The Business Writing Center’s Basic Grammar Skills Tutorial contains this individualized training. You can learn more about the individualized writing training at this link: Basic Grammar Skills Tutorial

The counterpart that uses the same methods to teach nonnative speakers of English to polish their language grammar is the Individualized Writing for Nonnative Speakers of English course. You can read about it at this link: Individualized Writing for Nonnative Speakers of English

A Second Option: A Basic Grammar Course with Rules Taught in Lessons

Though not as effective as individualized training, business people can learn to use correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, and word usage in a course with lessons. This type of course is called a “survey course.” These are the components a survey course must have:

  1. It must cover the major areas of business grammar.
  2. It must have an instructor available to coach the trainee if he or she is having difficulty.
  3. The course must have a pre-test trainees take before the course and a post-test taken after the course to ensure the person has learned the skills.
  4. The course must have pre-tests before each lesson and post-tests after each lesson to ensure that the trainee has learned the skills.
  5. The lesson materials must have clear explanations anyone can understand easily.
  6. The training must include examples so the trainee can see how the rules are applied.

The Business Writing Center’s Basic Grammar Essentials and Basic Grammar for Business courses are examples of high-quality survey courses. The Basic Grammar Essentials course materials are online. The course contains all the components require to teach grammar rules successfully. More about the course

The Basic Grammar for Business course is more in-depth. It uses a grammar textbook with lessons from the textbook. More about the course
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