July 15, 2019

Gauntlet vs. Gantlet

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You throw down the gauntlet and run the gantlet. But can you also run the gauntlet? Actually, yes. Here's the full story.

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July 8, 2019

The Three Verb Types

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Verbs come in three flavors: transitive, intransitive and linking. Here's why that's important.

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July 1, 2019

Eat, Ate, Eaten: Form Types of Verbs

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Verbs have five form types and knowing them can help you get a better handle on grammar — especially when you're having trouble knowing which form to use. Here's an overview.

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June 24, 2019

Mastering Longer Sentences

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Contrary to what some people will tell you, long sentences aren't necessarily bad. But they can get bad very fast if you don't keep a tight rein on the structure. The best way to keep a handle on them is to know a few things about grammar. Here's what you need to know.

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June 10, 2019

What Not to Capitalize

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Do you capitalize the S in "Senator John Doe"? How about if you're just talking about a generic senator? And what about certain dishes like "Steak Dianne"? Does that S really need to be capitalized? Here are a few finer points of capitalization to be aware of.

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May 28, 2019

Metaconcepts

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If you want to avoid stuffy language and let the substance of your message to shine through, you need to know about metaconcepts.

Metaconcepts are concepts about concepts — terms like approach, assumption, condition, context, framework, issue, level, model, perspective, process, prospect, role, strategy, subject, tendency, variable and even concept itself. These words take simple, straightforward ideas and dilute them down to abstractions buried under layers of concepts upon concepts. Here’s what you need to know.

 

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May 20, 2019

Apostrophes Are Never Used to Form Plurals, Except When They Are

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Plurals formed with apostrophes are among the most common mistakes in the language, with people frequently wring "There are two Bella's in my class" instead of the correct "two Bellas." But in rare cases, it is correct to use an apostrophe to create a plural. Here's what you need to know.

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May 13, 2019

Sentence Types: Declarative, Interrogative, Imperative, Exclamatory

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A declarative sentence is a statement. An interrogative is a question. An imperative is a command. And an exclamatory sentence is exactly what it sounds like. Each has a specific structure and a specific job. Here's what you need to know.

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April 29, 2019

Parenthesis abuse? Seek help immediately

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Parentheses are great — in moderation. But when used to excess, they can turn any sentence into a wormhole from which your reader may never emerge. Here's what parenthesis abuse looks like and how to treat it.

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April 22, 2019

Simple, Complex and Compound Sentences

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One of the best ways to get a handle on your writing is to get a handle on the clauses in your sentences. Here's a look at simple, compound and complex sentences that lays the groundwork for getting the most out of every sentence.

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