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Grammar Blog

Welcome to the blog, where you’ll find a wealth of information about grammar and writing in American English. Bookmark this page for quick and easy access to our most current newsletter as well as recent articles. You can also search for your subject of interest or choose from our popular grammar and punctuation categories.

If you have a thought or a question about a particular subject, simply leave us a comment in the box at the bottom of the article’s page.

What Is Epenthesis?

Posted on Wednesday, April 10, 2024, at 6:00 am

Language evolves as we do. Over time, we become agents of change in shaping words to suit our sense of comfort, ease, and desired sound. This agency appears when we add a sound to a word that is already established without it. For instance, perhaps we have said or heard "athlete" pronounced as "ath-uh-lete" or …

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Consonance: Definition and Examples

Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, at 6:00 am

The impact of language is often just as much about its sound as its meanings and organization of words. When used with skill and well-aimed subtlety, certain devices in American English can add extra voice and harmony to our writing. Read the following aloud to yourself: If we're lucky, the truck's gear shift won't get …

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Elision: Definition and Examples

Posted on Wednesday, March 13, 2024, at 6:00 am

If you care to be honest, you'll admit that Delilah is a ne'er-do-well. Ralph should probably offer to share that ham sandwich, or Billy Ray is gonna snatch it from him anyway. Coulda, shoulda, woulda: This is what happens when we don't change the oil. Many of us who use American English have probably read, …

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Assonance: Definition and Examples

Posted on Wednesday, February 28, 2024, at 6:00 am

Language provides more than the means to express and deliver ideas and information. It also bears the power to please us through the tools we use to shape it. Thoughtful, eloquent communication can satisfy the outer and inner ear as much as awaken the mind. One technique that attracts us to writing and speech is …

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Alliteration: Definition and Examples

Posted on Wednesday, February 14, 2024, at 6:00 am

Writing reflects music in that it offers its own types of accents for a composition's structure and sound. They are not central features but rather grace notes that can add melody, rhythm, and voice to our sentences. One such grace note in writing is alliteration: the repetition of two or more neighboring sounds of words, …

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Using sic in 2024

Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, at 6:00 am

An item that still periodically surfaces among readers is the proper use of sic. Sic is a Latin term meaning "so, thus." A complete word that requires no punctuation or abbreviation, it is found only in direct quotations and other directly quoted material to indicate that something was communicated "in this manner." Writers include it …

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Year-End Quiz: 2023

Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2024, at 6:00 am

As we learned together in 2023, we can explore a lot of grammatical ground during twelve months. Between January and December, we reviewed subjects from stative verbs to nominal numbers to anastrophe. We look forward to continuing more linguistic review and discovery with you in 2024. Before we move farther down the trail, we'll first …

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Mnemonic Devices

Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2023, at 6:00 am

The human brain contains 100 billion neurons, 400 miles of capillaries, 100,000 miles of axons, and an estimated 100 trillion synaptic connections. Scientists estimate that if the modern human brain were a computer, its storage would be up to 2,500 terabytes (as of 2023, the world's largest commercial hard drive is 100TB). During an average …

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Using Brackets: Changing a Quote and More

Posted on Wednesday, December 6, 2023, at 6:00 am

We've touched on the topic of brackets in writing at different times along the way. We also continue to receive occasional questions about their use from our readers. With that in mind, we thought it would be a good time for a current review of brackets by gathering guidelines we've shared both on our website …

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What Is Syntax?

Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, at 6:00 am

The capacity to write, read, speak, and hear expressive language is exclusive to human beings: There is no other ability like it among Earth's living creatures. To use this system of communication, we must have an ordered, understood structure of linguistic elements: a syntax that allows us to deliver and receive patterns of words with …

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