September 17, 2018

'Actually' and Similarly Fluffy Adverbs

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Some adverbs really do hurt the credibility of a piece of writing. "Actually" is one of them.

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September 10, 2018

The Unkindest Apostrophes

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If you pay attention to grammar, you already know that apostrophes cause some of the worst and most common mistakes. But it can still help to get a heads up for some of the apostrophe's most dangerous pitfalls. Here are some apostrophe traps to watch out for.

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September 3, 2018

Spacing Around Punctuation

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Knowing when put spaces around ellipses and dashes can make your writing look more professional. Here's a quick guide to spacing between punctuation.

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August 27, 2018

Upside-Down Subordination

Upside-down subordination isn't a grammar error per se. But it's a great example of how a solid understanding of grammar can improve your writing. When your most interesting or important information is languishing in a subordinate clause, where it lacks the impact you wanted, that's upside-down subordination. Here's a full explanation.

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August 20, 2018

Beware the Comma Splice

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When two clauses that could stand alone as sentences are connected with a comma instead of a conjunction or a semicolon, you have what's called a comma splice. Here's how to find them and fix them.

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August 13, 2018

Into, In To, Onto, On To

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When is into one word and when is it two? Here's a hint: When a preposition is integral to the noun's meaning, as in give in, log in, and tune in, that preposition is kept separate from a subsequent to. Tune in to the weekly program. Here's more on that.

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August 5, 2018

It Is I Who Am or It Is I Who Is?

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Getting relative pronouns like "who" to agree with verbs can seem tricky. But it's actually quite easy. The pronoun "who" takes the same number and person as its antecedent, in this case "I." So "It is I who am" is correct in this case. Here's a more thorough explanation.

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July 29, 2018

A Few Tips for Using ... Ellipses

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The pros use spaces around ellipses ... like this. And when the stuff before the ellipsis is a full sentence, end it with a period before the space and ellipsis. ... Like this.

Here are some more tips on how and when to use ellipses.

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July 23, 2018

Hyphenating Compounds After a Noun

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If your company has customer-friendly policies, would you say those policies are customer friendly or customer-friendly? The rules on modifying compound adjectives before a noun are pretty clear: use the hyphen anytime it aids comprehension. But when that same compound comes after the noun, especially when a verb intercedes, too, the rules get fuzzy. Here are some good guidelines.

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July 16, 2018

The Five Basic Sentence Structures

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There's a nearly infinite number of ways you can structure a sentence. But at the very heart of any sentence lie just five basic structures: subject + intransitive verb; subject + transitive verb + direct object; subject plus transitive verb plus indirect object plus direct object; subject + copular verb = complement of the copular verb; and subject + transitive verb plus direct object + object complement

Here's a complete explanation.

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