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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Definitions

Ring vs. Rang vs. Rung

Posted on Tuesday, June 10, 2008, at 4:55 am

In verb conjugation, a regular verb follows a simple, predictable pattern, such as print (present tense), printed (simple past), and printed (past particle): I print, you printed, and they have printed. An irregular verb is one that forms its simple past tense and past participle with a non-standard pattern. Ring is one such verb. Ring conjugates as …

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Principal vs. Principle

Posted on Monday, April 21, 2008, at 9:06 pm

If you decide to take the free Grammar Mastery Quiz, you’ll eventually come to #40, which has turned out to be confusing for many. Question 40: The department's principal/principle concern is the safety of all employees. First, let’s figure out what part of speech the word is in the sentence above. Since it describes concern, …

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Pleaded vs. Pled

Posted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008, at 2:54 am

For the past tense of to plead, you may use either pleaded or pled. Example: He pleaded not guilty before his trial. Example: He pled not guilty before his trial. Note: In the strict legal sense, one cannot plead innocent. Word of the Week Avuncular: Like an uncle, especially in kindness or tolerance. Example: He …

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Assure vs. Ensure vs. Insure

Posted on Monday, November 26, 2007, at 3:24 pm

The three words, assure, ensure, and insure, are often confused. All three words share an element of "making an outcome sure." However, rather than using these words interchangeably, I'd like to point out the unique aspects of each word so that you can use them to communicate your intention clearly. Assure is to promise or …

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Anymore, Any more; Anyone, Any one; Everyone, Every one; Everybody, Every body

Posted on Friday, October 26, 2007, at 10:18 pm

Some words written as one word will differ in meaning when split into two words. So you need to know which word you really want. Anymore: any longer, nowadays Example: Harry doesn't travel anymore. Any more: something additional or further Example: I don't want any more cake.   Anyone: anybody Example: Anyone can learn to …

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Using [sic] Properly

Posted on Sunday, October 7, 2007, at 11:17 pm

Sic is a Latin term meaning "thus." It is used to indicate that something incorrectly written is intentionally being left as it was in the original. Sic is usually italicized and always surrounded by brackets to indicate that it was not part of the original. Place [sic] right after the error. Example: She wrote, “They …

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Bad vs. Badly

Posted on Friday, July 6, 2007, at 2:50 pm

Proper use of certain English adjective and adverb forms of a word can be elusive because of what they describe. One such pair is bad and badly. The word bad is an adjective that modifies nouns and pronouns: She was in a bad accident. The word badly is an adverb that conveys the manner or degree of …

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What Is a Gerund and Why Care?

Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007, at 6:00 pm

What is a gerund and why do you need to know? Maybe it would be better to answer the second part of the question first so that you have some motivation to identify gerunds. If you are able to pick the gerund(s) out in your sentence, you will avoid a grammar gaffe that often goes …

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Continual vs. Continuous

Posted on Thursday, January 25, 2007, at 12:05 am

Continual means repeated but with breaks in between; chronic. Example: The continual problem of our car's not starting forced us to sell it. Continuous means without interruption in an unbroken stream of time or space. Example: The continuous dripping of the faucet drove me crazy.

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