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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August 7, 2017

Continual and Continuous

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If you've been using these two words interchangeably, that's probably okay. But if you want to be precise, they do have slightly different connotations. Continual emphasizes recurring action. Continuous suggests nonstop action. Here's a more complete explanation.

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July 31, 2017

The Strange Properties of 'Every'

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The pitcher and shortstop know the rules. Notice how, in this simple example of a compound subject, the verb is plural: know. But fascinatingly, there's a way to add more pitchers and shortstops to this sentence yet make the verb singular.

Every pitcher and shortstop knows the rules.

That's the strange power of the determiner "every." Here's a look at how it works.

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July 24, 2017

Use Your Login to Log In

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Sometimes you see "login" and "logoff" as one word. There's no set rule in English, yet. But a good guideline is to use always use the two-word form for the verb. Here's a more thorough guide.

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July 17, 2017

Loan vs. Lend

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Sometimes it's hard to let go. You learn something is wrong, you believe it, and then you learn it was okay all along. Yet you keep hanging on. "Loan" and "lend" are like that for me. Once taught that "loan" is a noun and "lend" is a verb, I can't quite shake the idea. Here's what you need to know.

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July 10, 2017

'Than I' or 'Than Me'?

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The word "than" is tricky. Traditionally it's considered a conjunction. Conjunctions can introduce whole clauses like "I am." And when you say "taller than I," you're basically saying "than I am." Prepositions, on the other hand, take objects like "me."

That's why people have a problem with "than me." But the truth is, they go too far. This week's podcast looks at the reasons why "than me" is okay and often preferable to "than I."

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July 3, 2017

Healthcare, Health Care, or Health-care?

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This one's a little tougher than most hyphenation-vs-closed-form questions. It varies by editing style, dictionary, and function in the sentence. At least that makes it hard to get it wrong. Here's the full explanation.

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June 26, 2017

'These Ones'

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Of all the language grips I've heard over the here's, this is one of the most surprising: You can't say "these ones." It's illogical because "one" is singular. So is that true? Of course not.

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June 19, 2017

Can 'Apropos' Mean 'Appropriate'?

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Sure, the words are similar. But are they interchangeable? Here's the full story.

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June 12, 2017

Peak vs. Pique

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Never write that something "peaked" your curiosity. That's a job for "piqued." Here's the full story.

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