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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Abbreviations

How to Use i.e. or e.g.

Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, at 6:00 am

We've probably all either seen or written the abbreviations i.e. and e.g. Some of us may have understood them, and some of us may have not been sure. For example, perhaps we've come across a statement such as: Please bring something to the potluck dinner (i.e., salad, appetizer, dessert). The context of that statement doesn't …

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Ms., Mrs., or Miss: Which One Should You Use?

Posted on Monday, March 22, 2021, at 9:00 am

Some speakers of American English think Ms., Mrs., and Miss all mean the same thing. They don't, and learning their differences can enhance your grammar while ensuring you communicate politely. Before we dive into details, we'll start by saying that each form of address is intended as a respectful title. To be well-mannered, you would …

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Clipping Syllables to Sizes We Like

Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, at 11:00 pm

The two following excerpts express the same thing. Which might you rather read or listen to? Today I went to the doctor's office for an exam because I thought I might be getting the flu. I skipped going to the gym after that. I stopped for gas and went home. Beth wanted me to help …

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Abbreviation, Acronym, or Initialism: Fixing (not Mixing) Identity

Posted on Tuesday, September 1, 2020, at 11:00 pm

American English often applies ways to shorten words and phrases for convenience and economy. This is particularly true in business, government, the military, and perhaps even more so now in texting and social media. For those with an interest in grammar, the question can become whether we are using an abbreviation, an acronym, or an …

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A Study of Style: The U.S. Military

Posted on Tuesday, August 18, 2020, at 11:00 pm

Our exploration of American English strives to venture even further than the principles that guide writing with precision and eloquence. We are also interested in the language variances beyond what we accept as common for information exchange. For example, we know that United States can be abbreviated, often as either US or U.S. One might …

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A Midsummer’s Musing on Miscellany

Posted on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, at 11:00 pm

Our regular readers might note that our study of American English periodically includes smaller but still noteworthy items we collect from research and reader correspondence. It's been several months since our last musings on miscellany, so we thought we'd return for more as we approach midsummer 2020. (To review miscellany from the past two years, …

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Exchanging English Over the Pond: U.S. and U.K. Part IV

Posted on Tuesday, June 23, 2020, at 11:00 pm

During the last several weeks we've covered some meaningful ground about the language we share with our friends across the water. For us, it's been fun to reflect on what we have in common as well as how each dialect varies its voice. So far, we've examined spelling, word choice, and points of grammar. We'll …

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Year-End Quiz 2018

Posted on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Another year of grammatical exploration has concluded with linguistic miles behind us. What we’ve learned and discussed with you along the way has been illuminating, and we are grateful for the thought and insight it has inspired. We hope you gathered even more sharpened tools for communicating in concise and eloquent English. A year-end review …

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Orwell and Newspeak

Posted on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, at 11:00 pm

It’s not just professors and snobs who deplore the decline of English. The great essayist and novelist George Orwell (1903-50) had much to say about the corruption of language—and how it enables tyranny. The warning was clear: a distracted populace with diminished reading, writing, and speaking skills is vulnerable. Orwell’s 1984, published in 1949, is …

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In the Zone: It’s About Time

Posted on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, at 11:00 pm

We’re all aware of how vital marked and measured time is to guiding and structuring our days. How then do we treat it in precise and careful writing? We offered some guidelines in our updated April 2017 article Writing Dates and Times. We’ll expand on those here by delving deeper into the most recent editions of …

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& What About the Ampersand?

Posted on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, at 11:00 pm

The ampersand (&): We see it often in our daily communication, which adheres to a modern ethos of speed and brevity as seen in letters, emails, texts, tweets, memos, and notes. The mark is appealing because it helps save character space, it fits right in with other letters’ heights, and many could argue it’s one …

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Capitalization of Academic Degrees

Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, at 6:16 pm

Perhaps you've wondered if and when academic degrees (bachelor's, master's, etc.) should be capitalized. If you read through our Capitalization rules, you will notice that capitalization is sometimes a thorny area. We do not always have hard-and-fast rules to rely on; some areas are open to interpretation. This is evident in the area of capitalization of academic …

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Writing Dates and Times

Posted on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at 8:54 am

Rule: The following examples apply when using dates: The meeting is scheduled for June 30. The meeting is scheduled for the 30th of June. We have had tricks played on us on April 1. The 1st of April puts some people on edge. (Some prefer to write it out: The first of April) Rule: There …

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Hyphenation with Numbers and Units of Measure

Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2017, at 7:21 pm

Few punctuation marks prompt as much debate and discussion about when and where to place them as the hyphen does. Opinions and directives vary. GrammarBook.com aims to help define common written English that applies proper, generally accepted rules. Those guidelines likewise look to reinforce a precise and articulate use of the language. This means our …

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Pop Tunes and Grammar

Posted on Monday, September 26, 2016, at 5:55 pm

For many years I’ve had a framed drawing sitting on my bookshelf. It’s from the New Yorker magazine, and it’s by the brilliant cartoonist Roz Chast. It depicts a record album titled Miss Ilene Krenshaw Sings 100% Grammatically Correct Popular Tunes. Songs include “You Aren’t Anything but a Hound Dog,” “It Doesn’t Mean a Thing …

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