January 13, 2020

Are False Ranges Really a Problem?

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The menu offerings at Joe’s Cafe are diverse, ranging from fresh seafood and meats to pastas and gluten-free entrees.

Believe it or not, a sentence like that can draw a lot of criticism because it contains something often called a false range. It's not an error, per se. But some readers (and editors) look down on using from-blank-to-blank ranges to talk about things that aren't really ranges. Here's what you need to know.

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January 6, 2020

Dashes and Colons Aren't Always Interchangeable

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Joining complete clauses isn't technically in the dash's job description — that is, this dash would be better replaced with a colon, period, or semicolon. Here's the complete story.

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December 30, 2019

Choosing Specific Nouns and Verbs

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Nothing will put your reader to sleep faster than a collection of abstract nouns like "items" and "person" and vague verbs like "moved" and "made." Choosing the most specific alternatives available, like "switchblade knives" instead of "items" and "careened" instead of "moved" can make all the difference.

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December 23, 2019

Commas to set off nonrestrictive information

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There's a big difference between "the man who stole my purse ran away" and "the man, who stole my purse, ran away." The difference is that those commas indicate nonrestrictive information — stuff that isn't crucial to understanding the noun "man." Here's more.

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December 16, 2019

Founder or Flounder?

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Here are two commonly confused words that you can always get right with just a quick primer.

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December 9, 2019

Anymore vs. Any More

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Wondering whether "any more" should be one word or two? Listen up.

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December 2, 2019

OK, O.K., Okay: Which Should You Choose?

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They're all OK/O.K./okay, of course. But it's nice to know what's expected where.

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November 25, 2019

All Right vs. Alright

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Alright is super-annoying to a lot of copy editors. But is it wrong? Technically no. Here's the full story.

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November 18, 2019

'Thru' for 'Through'? It's up to you

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Thru is getting more acceptable with each passing year. But that doesn't mean it's always a good idea.

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November 11, 2019

Existential 'There'

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In a sentence like "There is something you should know," there is functioning as something called existential there, in which it's a subject even though it's not the doer of the action know. Here's an overview of existential there.

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