October 16, 2017

Gerund, Participle or Participial Modifier?

 

"Ing" forms of verbs can do a number of different jobs. They can be parts of verbs, they can be nouns, or they can be adjectives. Knowing which form you're working with can help you better understand how your sentence is structured. Here's a quick look at "ing" forms.

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October 9, 2017

Hoi Polloi

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You hear people use hoi polloi to mean upper-crust, elite types. Actually, it's more strongly associated with the masses. Here's a full breakdown, along with when to use the in front of it.

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October 2, 2017

Faze, Principal, Site

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Some English words practically dare you to mix them up. Vigilance is your only hope.

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September 25, 2017

'Could Of'

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This is writing well 101: the phrase that sounds like could of doesn't have an "of." It's could've, a contraction of "could" and "have." And if you're not aware of this very common error, it's worth taking a minute to learn how to avoid it.

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September 18, 2017

Mens Store, Womens Shoes, Childrens Books?

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It's not uncommon to see the apostrophe omitted from the possessive men's, women's and children's. Is that okay? Not really. Here's what you need to know.

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September 11, 2017

Everyday vs Every Day

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People get this one wrong a lot: "Everyday" is not a noun phrase. It's an adjective. You can use it to modify nouns, as in "everyday values." But it's a mistake to use it as a noun phrase, as in "We're open everyday." Here's a more complete explanation.

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September 4, 2017

'Drive Slow' and Other Flat Adverbs

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Is it correct to say drive slow in place of drive slowly? Short answer: yes. Here's the long answer.

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August 28, 2017

Firstly and Secondly

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Here are two more to add to your "I didn't know people could have a problem with that" file: firstly and secondly. But take heart: You can use them if you want to.

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August 21, 2017

When to Hyphenate Prefixes and Suffixes

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Is it co-worker or coworkerNonprofit or non-profitPre-approved or preapproved? When it comes to prefixes and suffixes, spell-checker will let you down, flagging compounds that are actually correct. Here's how to know when to hyphenate them and when to make them one word.

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August 14, 2017

Predicate Adjective at the Beginning of a Sentence

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You'd never say "Delicious is the apple pie." Yet it's pretty common for feature articles to have sentences like, "Also delicious is the apple pie." It's grammatical in some interesting ways, but in the writing world, it can be a little hacky.

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