May 20, 2019

Apostrophes Are Never Used to Form Plurals, Except When They Are

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Plurals formed with apostrophes are among the most common mistakes in the language, with people frequently wring "There are two Bella's in my class" instead of the correct "two Bellas." But in rare cases, it is correct to use an apostrophe to create a plural. Here's what you need to know.

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May 13, 2019

Sentence Types: Declarative, Interrogative, Imperative, Exclamatory

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A declarative sentence is a statement. An interrogative is a question. An imperative is a command. And an exclamatory sentence is exactly what it sounds like. Each has a specific structure and a specific job. Here's what you need to know.

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April 29, 2019

Parenthesis abuse? Seek help immediately

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Parentheses are great — in moderation. But when used to excess, they can turn any sentence into a wormhole from which your reader may never emerge. Here's what parenthesis abuse looks like and how to treat it.

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April 22, 2019

Simple, Complex and Compound Sentences

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One of the best ways to get a handle on your writing is to get a handle on the clauses in your sentences. Here's a look at simple, compound and complex sentences that lays the groundwork for getting the most out of every sentence.

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April 15, 2019

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

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Have you ever heard someone say a sentence is in the subjunctive mood or the first person or the passive voice? These aren't just general descriptions. They're hard concepts in grammar that are worth taking a moment to understand.

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April 8, 2019

Skunked Terms

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When a word is in transition—for example, a word like enormity, decimate or effete—it can be so controversial that even using it correctly will incur the wrath of some sticklers. The trick to using these skunked terms is to know your audience.

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April 1, 2019

While vs. Although

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"While" can be a synonym of "although": While she likes pasta, she prefers sushi. But it's not always a good choice. Here's how to decide which is best for your sentence.

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March 25, 2019

A Crash Course in Dashes

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Dashes are widely used but little understood. Here's everything you need to know.

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March 18, 2019

Appositives

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If you don't know what an appositive is, you should. An appositive is a noun or noun phrase that sits right next to another and restates it, like "a CPA" in, "My boss, a CPA, is a stickler for accuracy." And once you understand that, it makes certain punctuation and sentence structure decisions a lot easier.

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March 11, 2019

Palm Off vs. Pawn Off

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Be careful when using "palm off" and "pawn off." There's a difference!

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