February 8, 2016

Danglers

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Sure, dangling participles and the like are fun to talk about. But if you want to understand the mechanics of a problem sentence like "I photographed an elephant in my pajamas," they're actually useful to understand. Here's what you need to know.

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February 1, 2016

The 'Couple Who' or the 'Couple That'?

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Here's a quick lesson on a finer point of using the relative pronouns "who" and "that."

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January 25, 2016

'May' and 'Might'

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You don't have to worry about the difference between these two modal auxiliaries if you don't want to. But if you'd like to please your most proper readers, here's how.

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January 18, 2016

'That' vs. 'Which'

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Can you use "which" in a sentence like, "The many items which we purchased include food and clothing"? Or should that "which" be "that"? The answer depends on whether you're trying to follow one of the two major editing styles. Here's the full story.

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January 11, 2016

A Controversial Comma

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How many commas are in "red, white and blue"/"red, white, and blue"? The answer is as contentious as anything you'll encounter in the punctuation world. Here's everything you need to know about the serial comma, also called the Oxford comma.

 

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January 4, 2016

'The Couple Is' or 'The Couple Are'?

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Some nouns are singular in form but plural in meaning. Here's how to choose the right verb to go with them.

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December 28, 2015

Who vs. Whom

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"Whom" is really just for formal speech and writing. And who decides what qualifies as formal? You and your reader. When you want to use it right, here's how.

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December 21, 2015

Synonyms, Antonyms, Homophones, Homonyms and Homographs

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People often use these terms wrong, for example by saying homonym when they mean homophone. But it just takes a moment to get them straight. Here's everything you need to know.

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December 14, 2015

Happy Holidays From the 'Smith's'?

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It's peak season for screwing up plurals and possessives of people's last names. Here's how to get them right.

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December 7, 2015

Begs the Question

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"Beg the question" started life as a logic term meaning to arrive at a wrong conclusion through one of several errors in reasoning. But its popular uses raises the question: Can "beg the question" be used to mean "raise the question"? The answer, most experts agree, is that's probably not a good idea.

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