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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Definitions

Past Participles: What Is a Past Participle?

Posted on Friday, July 16, 2021, at 6:00 am

English grammar has its share of technical terms, so unless you regularly teach or study the language, you might furrow your eyebrows if you hear things such as present perfect tense or infinitive verb. Many of us may use such components in our writing and speech without being fully aware of what they are. That …

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Examples of Indirect Objects

Posted on Friday, July 9, 2021, at 6:00 am

Most American-born people will have heard of direct and indirect objects at some point in their schooling years. And yet, those same English speakers—even those who grew up in the U.S.—may have a hazy understanding of the difference between a direct and indirect object. Today, we will review the distinction. We'll explain what an indirect …

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How to Use an Ampersand

Posted on Friday, June 25, 2021, at 6:00 am

The ampersand (the "&" symbol) is an unusual feature of the English language. It supposedly has survived in a limited form since the days of the Roman Empire. Despite the mark's longevity, people may still sometimes have questions about when and how to use it. In formal writing, use of the ampersand to replace the …

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While vs. Although: Are They Interchangeable?

Posted on Friday, June 11, 2021, at 6:00 am

Do you ever wonder about whether to use while or although in a sentence? This discussion will help guide you. While and although are two common words that also happen to be often misunderstood. By understanding the difference between them, you can further ensure you use each one properly. The Meaning of Although We'll start …

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Desert vs. Dessert: What’s the Difference?

Posted on Monday, June 7, 2021, at 6:00 am

Desert and dessert are similar words, so it's no wonder why they're so often mistaken for each other. In today's post we'll discuss the difference, as well as offer a tip you can use to remember which one is which. Before we dive into the definitions, however, let's start by pointing out that both desert …

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Is Stupider a Word?

Posted on Friday, June 4, 2021, at 6:00 am

A leading principle in learning grammar is that there are no stupid questions. However, there can be questions about the word stupid. That brings us to the topic of today's post: Is stupider really a word? Or would it be better grammar to say more stupid? Neither is very polite, and the answers might surprise …

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Capital vs. Capitol: Which Spelling Do You Need?

Posted on Monday, May 31, 2021, at 6:00 am

What are the differences between the words capital and capitol? What do they mean, and what are the proper spellings? These are common questions that we'll address in today's post. First Things First: Both Capital and Capitol Can Be Grammatically Correct Let's begin by pointing out that capital and capitol are two different words that …

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Is It Supposed to Be or Suppose to Be?

Posted on Friday, May 28, 2021, at 6:00 am

This is a common question about American English, even among those who grew up speaking the language. That's because both can appear in print and sound the same when spoken aloud. So, should you say supposed to be or suppose to be? Say What You're Supposed To The short answer is that supposed to be …

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Alternate vs. Alternative: Which Word Do You Need?

Posted on Monday, May 24, 2021, at 6:00 am

You are probably familiar with the words alternate and alternative. You may have even used them interchangeably. Many native speakers of American English think the words mean the same thing, but they have slightly separate definitions and uses. Which word do you need in a particular sentence? In this article we'll give you the answers …

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Mood vs. Tone in Writing

Posted on Friday, May 7, 2021, at 6:00 am

Those who study the art of composition are likely to hear references to mood and tone along the way. The terms may seem or sound synonymous, but they identify different aspects of substance in writing. If you're looking to further develop the style and impact of your writing, particularly as emotional depth is concerned, you …

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