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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February 9, 2015

Verb Agreement with Teams and Groups

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Why did a news headline say "Mexico Take World Cup" instead of "Mexico Takes World Cup"? Here's a hint: It was a British news site. Listen to get the full story on making verbs agree with teams and groups.

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February 2, 2015

Prefixes With Special Hyphenation Rules

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The general rule for whether to hyphenate prefixes goes like this: You shouldn't hyphenate them, except when you should. Here are some of those "when you should" situations ...

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January 26, 2015

Superlatives in Comparisons of Two

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A reader says: “I was taught that you use ‘er’ when referring to two items or people and ‘est’ when referring to three or more. Thus, I have two grandsons. The older one is Wyatt and the younger one is Casey. Yet all the time I see: ‘I have two grandsons. The oldest is Wyatt and the youngest is Casey.’” Is the reader right? Is "oldest" in this case an error? Nope. Here's the full story.

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