September 26, 2022

Flesh Out and Flush Out

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Think of fleshing out as completing something or filling it out, like adding flesh to bone. Think of flushing out as shooing an animal out of its hiding place.

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September 19, 2022

Well-paying but Good-looking?

Why is "well" correct in "well-paying" but "good" is correct in "good-looking"? It's the grammar.

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September 12, 2022

'Actually' and Similar Adverbs

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Filler words that weaken your writing and undermine your message.

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September 4, 2022

Indefinite Pronouns

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Someone. Neither. One. Little. When these words serve as subjects or objects, they're part of a group called indefinite pronouns. And they have some very unusual properties.

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August 29, 2022

When to Hyphenate Nouns

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The rules for hyphens talk a lot about making modifiers, like "hat-making" in "the hat-making business," where it works like an adjective to modify the noun "business." But style books give very little help on when to hyphenate compounds you use as nouns: "He wants to learn hat making/hat-making." Often, you have to guess whether the hyphen is best.

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August 22, 2022

Wrong and Wrongly

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"Wrong" is both an adjective and an adverb. So what's the point of "wrongly"? It usually comes before a participle, like "wrongly accused," often to describe an injustice. But there are no set rules on when to choose it.

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August 15, 2022

The Different Types of Pronouns

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Personal pronouns. Possessive pronouns. Reflexive pronouns. Relative pronouns. Indefinite pronouns. Demonstrative pronouns. Understanding the difference can improve your mastery of the language.

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August 8, 2022

Who, What, When, Where, Why, How

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When you're writing, don't spend so much time sweating the little stuff that you forget about the big stuff. Here's how to anticipate what your reader wants to know.

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August 1, 2022

Why You Shouldn't Hyphenate -ly Adverbs

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You can hyphenate two words that modify another, like a loose-knit group, if it aids understanding. But don't do it with an ly adverb, like a loosely defined term. The reason: The ly clearly shows the relationship between the words.

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July 25, 2022

When to Use 'Anymore' and 'Any More'

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Instinct goes a long way in helping you decide how to choose between these words.

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