April 20, 2015

Simple, Complex, and Compound Sentences

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To understand how your sentence is constructed, look at the clauses.

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April 13, 2015

Declarative, Imperative, Interrogative, and Exclamatory Sentences

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Sentences usually come in one of four types: declarative, imperative, interrogative, and exclamatory. And understanding the difference can shed some fascinating insights into not just language but the personality of the speaker, too.

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April 6, 2015

Mood, Modality, Tense, Aspect, Voice, Number, and Person

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Have you ever heard someone say that a verb was in the past tense? How about that it’s in the first person? Or maybe that something is in the passive voice or subjunctive mood? Or perhaps that a verb should agree in number with its subject. Here are seven categories that help us understand the functions of verbs.

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March 30, 2015

Subject-verb Agreement with Linking Verbs

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A sentence like "His greatest source of pride is cars" sounds weird verging on wrong. But there's an easy way to ensure these sentences matching singular and plural things are grammatical.

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March 23, 2015

Adverbs vs. Adverbials

Adverbs aren't the only things that can work as adverbs. Prepositional phrases and even nouns can be "adverbials."

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March 16, 2015

'False Ranges'?

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Can a store's offerings really "range" from electronics to hardware? Or are ranges just, you know, actual ranges like from a smaller number to a larger one? The short answer is that "range" is a more flexible word than some folks believe. But it's a good idea to stay realistic. Here's the full story.

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March 9, 2015

A Common Mistake in Dealing with Dashes

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If you want to use dashes well, think twice before putting one between two complete clauses.

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March 2, 2015

Three Types of Verbs

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Understanding verb types is more than memorizing labels like "transitive" and "linking." It helps you understand why it's "I feel bad" and not "I feel badly" and whether you can "graduate college" instead of "graduate from college." Here's a quick look at three major verb categories.

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February 23, 2015

Skunked Terms

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Hopefully, decimate, healthy: If you want to be right, you can use them any way you like. But if you want other people to think you're right, well, that's another matter entirely.

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February 16, 2015

Gauntlet vs. Gantlet

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You can throw down a gauntlet or run a gantlet. But can you also throw down a gantlet? If you know the origins of these two words, it's clear that you can.

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