August 22, 2016

Indexes or Indices?

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Some words follow foreign-language rules for forming plurals. Some don't, even though they're adopted from other languages. Here's a guide to help cut through some of the confusion.

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August 15, 2016

The Media Is or the Media Are?

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There are a lot of old-time prescriptivist guides that will tell you "media" should never be used as a singular. But it would be a mistake to trust them. Here's how to use "media" well.

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August 8, 2016

Peruse This Very Carefully

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People often say things like, "Jane was casually perusing titles at her local bookstore." But that's a secondary definition of peruse. Its main definition means pretty much the opposite of "skim casually." Here's the full story.

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August 1, 2016

'A Variety Is' or 'A Variety Are'?

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What would you think if I said “a variety of new fashions is coming this fall”? Doesn’t sound too good, does it? On the other hand, if I said “the wide variety of apples in this store are astounding,” that wouldn't seem right, either. Here's everything you need to know for when to treat "variety" as a singular or a plural.

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July 25, 2016

Paris Is a Place

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When you write a sentence like "Paris is a place that gets many tourists," you've squandered your main clause on a statement that's already comically obvious: Paris is a place. Here's how to get the most out of every main clause.

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July 18, 2016

'Try To' vs. 'Try And'

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Some people have a big problem with "try and." They're wrong, of course, but it's good to know where they're coming from.

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July 11, 2016

Apostrophes in Lets, Whose and Theirs

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Let's and lets can both be correct, depending on what you mean. So can whose and who's. But theirs never takes an apostrophe. To avoid screwing these up, you need a clear understanding of contractions -- and when not to use them. Here's what you need to know.

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July 4, 2016

'For Conscience's Sake' and 'For Goodness' Sake'

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Should terms like "for conscience's sake" and "for goodness' sake" be considered possessive? If so, do you make them possessive by adding an apostrophe alone or apostrophe plus s? The reference guides are all over the map on this question. So here are some good guidelines.

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June 27, 2016

'There's' Plus a Plural

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If there's is a contraction of there and is, wouldn't it be wrong to say "There's a lot people here today"? Well, yes and no. Here's everything you need to know about existential there followed by a plural.

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June 20, 2016

'Myself' and Other Reflexive Pronouns

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If it annoys you when people say, "Joe or myself will lead the meeting," you're not alone. Here's everything you need to know about reflexive pronouns.

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