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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May 18, 2015

Metaconcepts

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Ever noticed a correlation between terms like "approach," "level" and "concept" and really, really bad writing? Welcome to the wonderful world of metaconcepts, which go a long way to explain why academic writing can be so awful.

 

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May 11, 2015

The Five Forms That Verbs Take

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Any student of language has noticed how verbs can take different forms, like go, going, and went. Linguists identify five "form types" of verbs that can help you understand how sentences work. Here's a quick overview.

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May 4, 2015

The Dangers of Parentheses

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Parentheses are great tools for squeezing information into a sentence where it otherwise wouldn't fit. The danger, of course, is that they let you squeeze information into a sentence where it doesn't fit. Here's how to use parentheses well.

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April 27, 2015

Neologisms and When to Use Them

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Don't humblebrag about your glamping staycation until you've listened to this podcast!

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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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