January 16, 2017

Is There a Wrong Way to Use 'Decimate'?

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Roman generals who needed to punish their own troops would kill a random one out of ten — the origin of the word "decimate." So can you use it to mean "completely annihilate"? That's debatable.

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January 9, 2017

I Appreciate You/Your Taking the Time?

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Would you say "I appreciate him taking the time to meet with me" or "I appreciate his taking the time"? Spoiler alert: They're both acceptable. But only one is stickler-approved. And the grammar behind their reasoning is interesting to just about any word nerd.

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January 2, 2017

Awhile vs. A While

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A while can be used anywhere you'd use awhile, but it doesn't work the other way around. It's an error to say "I'll see you in awhile." The reason: awhile is an adverb and a while is a noun phrase, and only a noun phrase can be the object of a preposition like "in." Here's a full explanation.

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December 26, 2016

Can 'Impact' Be a Verb?

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A lot of people cringe when they hear "impact" used as a verb. It should be a noun, they say. Are they right? In a word: no.

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December 19, 2016

'Sneak Peak'

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Could this be the most common mistake of all time?

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December 12, 2016

'Whom' vs. 'Who' at the Beginning of a Sentence

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"Whom was called into the office?"

Technically, that "whom" is correct because it's the object of the verb "called." Yet almost no one would say it that way. Does that mean everyone's wrong? No. It means that, when the pronoun's at the beginning of a sentence, even the most formal writing can use "who" as an object. Here's the full explanation.

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December 5, 2016

'A' vs. 'An'

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The indefinite articles "a" and "an" come pretty easily most of the time. Still, you can get tripped up if you're not mindful. Here's your guide to getting them right every time.

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November 28, 2016

Mama vs. Momma

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Kinship names like "papa" and "mama" are written multiple different ways. Here are some insights to help you decide how you want to write them.

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November 21, 2016

Writing Numbers

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Nine out of 10 6-year-olds do well in first grade.

If you ever tried to make sense of when publishers write numerals and when they spell out numbers, you may have come up empty-handed. Here's an overview to help in your own writing.

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November 14, 2016

Hyphenation: The Big Picture

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There are different rules for hyphenating compound modifiers like well-traveled, compound nouns like self-esteem, compound verbs like second-guess, and prefixes and suffixes like those in anti-immigration. Here's an overview.

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