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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Commas

Becoming Savvy with Sentence Structures: Part One

Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, at 11:00 pm

The art of writing resembles any trade that begins with the basics and evolves into skillful applications of them. A key component of precise and eloquent composition is understanding sentence structures. English comprises four foundational sentence constructions: simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex. In part one of our discussion, we’ll review simple and compound sentences. Simple …

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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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Commas Before and in a Series

Posted on Tuesday, September 25, 2018, at 11:00 pm

Many of you no doubt saw the news last week that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joined our ranks of fellow grammar watchdogs when he issued instructions to his staff on the proper use of commas. According to an internal State Department email given to CNN, “The Secretary has underscored the need for appropriate …

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Arranging Multiple Adjectives

Posted on Tuesday, September 4, 2018, at 11:00 pm

We know an adjective is a word that describes or modifies a noun. We also know that in English adjectives almost always precede their noun, unlike languages such as Spanish and French, in which adjectives more commonly can be placed either before or after a noun depending on their function or emphasis. Understanding adjectives’ position …

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So Tell Me—When Is It Correct to Use So

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

So: It’s among the shortest words in English, and use of it abounds. So, when are we going to meet up? That movie was so good. I so much want to be there. He’s not feeling well, so he probably won’t go to the meeting. The word has become a versatile agent for our language …

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A _____ Walks Into a Bar

Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, at 11:00 pm

The phrase A ______ walks into a bar has provided the take-off point for an uncountable number of jokes over the years. No matter what one’s opinion is of bars, we hope that everyone can appreciate the lessons in English grammar contained in the clever sentences that follow: A dangling participle walks into a bar. Enjoying …

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Oxford Comma Dispute Settled

Posted on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, at 8:30 am

Eleven months ago, in our newsletter of March 29, 2017, we passed along to you the newspaper article "Lack of Comma Costs Company Millions in Dispute." Our Rule 1 of Commas discusses the value of the Oxford comma in a series of three or more items. Our rule allows writers to exercise discretion as to whether to omit …

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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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Hitting the Right Notes with Salutations and Closings

Posted on Wednesday, December 6, 2017, at 4:28 pm

We live in an age of constant communication through multiple channels. Written correspondence can be as full of effort and care as a handwritten letter or as abridged and impulsive as a tweet or a text. We also exist in a time when the line between professional vs. personal and formal vs. informal addressing of …

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Comma Chameleon

Posted on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, at 11:28 am

I realize that on the grand scale of interesting things, punctuation is pretty far down the list. (In a recent survey, it was in a dead heat with stovepipes, just behind pocket lint.) Punctuation is a dying art. I’m not sure whether this is the writers’ or the readers’ fault, but I mostly blame the …

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