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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Definitions

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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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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Using sic in 2024

Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, at 6:00 am

An item that still periodically surfaces among GrammarBook.com readers is the proper use of sic. SicĀ is a Latin term meaning "so, thus." A complete word that requires no punctuation or abbreviation, it is found only in direct quotations and other directly quoted material to indicate that something was communicated "in this manner." Writers include it …

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Mnemonic Devices

Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2023, at 6:00 am

The human brain contains 100 billion neurons, 400 miles of capillaries, 100,000 miles of axons, and an estimated 100 trillion synaptic connections. Scientists estimate that if the modern human brain were a computer, its storage would be up to 2,500 terabytes (as of 2023, the world's largest commercial hard drive is 100TB). During an average …

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What Is Syntax?

Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, at 6:00 am

The capacity to write, read, speak, and hear expressive language is exclusive to human beings: There is no other ability like it among Earth's living creatures. To use this system of communication, we must have an ordered, understood structure of linguistic elements: a syntax that allows us to deliver and receive patterns of words with …

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Apocope Definition and Examples

Posted on Wednesday, June 7, 2023, at 6:00 am

We often use language techniques and functions in our writing and speech with such familiarity that we might not even know what they are nor what we're applying. As one more-recognizable example, when we merge will with not to form won't, we are contracting the words. Another operation we use with instinct but perhaps not …

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Interjections: What They Are and Examples

Posted on Wednesday, November 2, 2022, at 6:00 am

Way to go! If you're engaging this discussion, you have a sincere interest in understanding how specific parts of speech function in American English. Congrats! An English interjection communicates a writer's or speaker's feeling or focus in emphasizing a statement or drawing someone's attention to it. It is a reaction to someone or something. Interjections …

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What Is a Homophone? (Examples and Usage)

Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, at 6:00 am

There's a chance that at some point in your communication in English, you've read or written a word that sounds like the right one when spoken but is misspelled in print. One such example is the use of "you're" when the context means "your" (or vice versa). This common tendency is the result of what …

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