July 27, 2015

Titles of Works: Quote Marks or Itals?

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A minor point, yet one of the questions I get most: Do you put book, movie, etc., titles in quotation marks or italics? The answer is it depends mostly on style. Here are the guidelines you can follow.

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July 20, 2015

Shared Possessives

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Is it Jane and Bob's kids, or Jane's and Bob's kids? Depends on whether they parent together. Here's what you need to now about "shared possessives."

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July 13, 2015

More Easily Confused Words

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Waiver, breath, brooch, vise -- these words and others are just waiting to trip you up.

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July 6, 2015

When to Put Periods and Spaces in Initials

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Is it WC Fields, W.C. Fields, or W. C. Fields? Depends on whose rules you're following. Here's how to choose well.

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June 29, 2015

Preventive or Preventative?

 

The choice between preventive and preventative has spawned some pretty silly battles in the language wars. You can use either. But preventive is the safer choice. Here's the full story.

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June 22, 2015

Founder vs. Flounder

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People confuse these two verbs a lot, and that's a mistake you don't want to make.

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June 15, 2015

Writing Academic Degrees

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An apostrophe in master's degree? How do you write its plural? And do you put periods in abbreviations of academic degrees? Here's a quick lesson in how to write degrees right.

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June 8, 2015

Run-on Sentences, Comma Splices, and Sentence Fragments

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How to avoid some common sentence-punctuation problems.

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June 1, 2015

Some Things You Don't Need to Capitalize

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A sure-fire sign of amateur writing is a certain brand of self-conscious capitalization -- a sort of timid style in which the writer seems to feel that someone else practically owns the words they want to use. Here are some examples of often-capitalized letters you might want to keep in lowercase.

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May 25, 2015

Mastering Longer Sentences

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Short sentences are a safe bet for every writer. They're clear and pose fewer pitfalls for the writer to get tripped up in her own thoughts. But just because longer sentences often go awry doesn't mean they're necessarily bad. Here's how to handle them well.

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