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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 a Diphthong?

Posted on Wednesday, July 24, 2024, at 6:00 am

Communication is as much about sounds we make and interpret with meaning as it is words that are written with thought. Approximations of dates of origin of human speech have varied from 200,000 years ago to 50,000 years ago. Some recent research suggests our first speech sounds were made around 70,000 years ago. Unlike nonhuman …

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Like vs. As, Such As

Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, at 6:00 am

Most of us are likely aware of the give and take of spoken and written language. We give extra license for looseness when speaking; we take that license back to ensure and protect proper form when writing (or at least that should be our aim). Like a thriving rooftop cocktail party at sunset, American English …

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Onto vs. On To

Posted on Wednesday, May 29, 2024, at 6:00 am

(This discussion revisits the subject of On to vs. Onto first posted in January 2010.) English is a rich, descriptive language with a versatile vocabulary. It also is one that can keep even well-studied native writers on their toes with its many nuances, such as those we'll find among homophones. Another English subtlety lies in …

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Top 10 Grammar Mistakes in English

Posted on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, at 6:00 am

Grammar mistakes remain common in daily communication. While those of us who spend time at can reduce such solecisms, even the most observant can still potentially be duped by the occasional sneaky error. Because grammar mistakes in American English have always been and likely always will be, we thought it'd be fun and informative …

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Sibilance: Definition and Examples

Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2024, at 6:00 am

The art of language embraces sound just as it does precision and eloquence of written expression. For example, along the way we've discussed alliteration, which is the repetition of two or more neighboring sounds of words, often initial letters, to create a phonetic device: simple story accept and excel The repeating alliterative sounds occur either …

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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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