Grammar Girl and its accompanying podcast, both created by writer and editor extraordinaire Mignon Fogarty, are excellent resources when faced with grammatical questions and other “nuts and bolts” writing issues. The site’s content is clear, fun, and includes plenty of mnemonic devices to help you remember basic rules of grammar. Fogarty addresses common conundrums—such as when to use “who” or “whom” and “lay” or “lie”—in ways that make the principles simple and easy to understand. The site also features a highly effective search function that allows you to quickly find the exact tip you need, as well other related tips.
Grammarly offers a free tool on its homepage where you can check a small piece of writing for grammatical mistakes, or you can opt for the paid service and submit larger files. It is incredibly popular, easy to use, and relatively precise. Like any other automated grammar check, it has its limitations when it comes to nuance and idioms, but in general, Grammarly is a very helpful tool. The website also offers thorough yet concise lessons about grammar so you can also learn the rules in order to improve your own writing.
Grammar Book is the free online version of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation by Jane Straus. This site is clearly organized and offers basic and advanced grammar and punctuation rules, as well as videos and free quizzes to help you hone your grammar skills. This site has no fluff, a scholarly tone, and is easy to navigate. Grammar Book is a great resource to help you learn and understand the essential rules of writing and editing the English language.
Part resource and part diversion, this site offers quizzes on a variety of common grammatical issues, for which visitors receive lavish cyber “rewards” like a “trip to the Bahamas.” If you’d rather just get a quick answer to a specific question, the site also features writing tips and rules for grammar, as well as links to informative (but quirky) videos on the GrammarWood YouTube channel.
The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr. (online)
Thanks to Bartleby, the entirety of The Elements of Style is now available online for free. To many writers, The Elements of Style is more than just a reference book; it is their vade mecum, their constant companion and infallible guide. Strunk provides unwaveringly confident advice on the use of language, both to ensure the proper use of grammar and to demonstrate the pinnacle of style. Now, in its online form, you can search the text and instantly reference all relevant sections from the book.