Style Guides

Some grammar and usage rules are strict and never change, no matter the context: “it’s” will always be a contraction meaning “it is”; “its” will always be a possessive of the pronoun “it.”

Other rules are flexible; their application can depend on the style guide your employer or engineering field dictate. Some style guides specify the use of serial commas, which require a comma between every item in a list: apples, oranges, and grapes. Other style guides require eliminating the comma before the last item in a list: apples, oranges and grapes.

Different engineering disciplines use different style guides. In addition, your employer may have a specific, in-house style guide. Find out what style guide you should use, then investigate its recommendations for the common grammar errors covered here, as well as any additional errors you commonly make.

Some common style guides for engineers include, but are not limited to [1]:

Grammar Resources

The IEEE Professional Communication Society’s site provides a basic overview of common grammar topics, but there are many other resources available to learn about a broader set of grammar topics.

Grammar guides

Use these online guides to learn about all things grammar.

Grammar Quizzes

The best practice you’ll get will be writing on a daily basis in the workplace, but there are multiple online exercises to practice using proper grammar on those slow writing days.


1 D.A. Driscoll and A. Brizee. (2012, June 4). Complete discipline listing, Purdue Online Writing Lab. [Online]. Available: