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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Apostrophes

Expressing Possession Greater Than One

Posted on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, at 11:00 pm

Communicating joint ownership can be a grammatical no-man’s land for many of us. Whether we were listening, speaking, or writing, we’ve probably found ourselves with statements similar to these: Chuck and Joe’s vacation resorts are in South America. Chuck’s and his vacation resorts are in South America. Theirs and Marla’s meetings are on Tuesday. Marla …

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Plural and Possessive Forms with Names Ending in y or i

Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, at 7:00 am

How do you form the plural of a proper noun that ends in y such as Murphy? Should you change the name to Murphies? Given how other English words ending in y form their plurals, you would think so. Examples: puppy / puppies army / armies supply / supplies However, proper nouns are not pluralized …

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How Did They Get In Here?

Posted on Tuesday, July 2, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Writers today have problems keeping their sentences internally consistent. This is especially true of print journalists. Because of staff cutbacks at financially challenged newspapers, many articles are proofread hastily, if at all. Combine that with the shocking decline in Americans’ English language skills over the last fifty years or so and you get sentences unworthy …

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Declining or Just Changing?

Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, at 11:00 pm

If you think you know your English, Ammon Shea’s Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation might make you question your most cherished notions. The book has a lot to offer grammar sticklers with open minds, but it will challenge—and enrage—most traditionalists. People who care about language tend to deplore the slovenly habits of their …

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Confusing Possessives Revisited

Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2018, at 11:00 pm

As the second Sunday in May approaches, many of you may be wondering how to write the name of the holiday—is it Mother’s Day, Mothers’ Day, or Mothers Day? We first looked into the topic of where to properly place holiday apostrophes in a 2008 newsletter. Today we provide an update. The Chicago Manual of …

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Rules Do Change

Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at 11:00 pm

Spacing after periods, colons, question marks, and exclamation marks Originally, typewriters had monospaced fonts (skinny letters and fat letters took up the same amount of space), so two spaces after ending punctuation marks such as the period were used to make the text more legible. However, most computer fonts present no difficulty with proportion or …

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Year-End Quiz 2017

Posted on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, at 12:01 pm

Review is good for retention. That’s why GrammarBook.com likes to start the new year with a jumbo quiz that spans the last twelve months of topics we’ve covered with you. In 2017 we explored an array of ways to enhance your grammar and writing. We hope what you learned follows you well into 2018 as …

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Using Apostrophes with Names Ending in s, ch, or z

Posted on Thursday, September 7, 2017, at 8:02 pm

Some topics in American English grammar may require repeat visits and discussions, mainly because they can remain elusive even after practice, review, and application. One of those topics is how to form the plural and possessive forms of names ending in s, ch, or z. Most of us are likely comfortable with creating the plural …

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Graphic Ignorance

Posted on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, at 10:17 am

TV networks’ graphics departments have long been out of control with their intrusive cluelessness. After 9/11, many cable channels initiated a constant “crawl” of news at the bottom of the screen. The spellbinding stream of words, slow and endless, is perversely distracting. But if you run a news channel, shouldn’t credibility be a front-burner concern? …

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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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