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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Definitions

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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In and of Itself

Posted on Friday, January 19, 2007, at 3:16 pm

To many people, the phrase in and of itself sounds clunky and old-fashioned. However, when used sparingly—and correctly—it serves a purpose. Example: The weather was not, in and of itself, the cause of the traffic delays. vs. The weather was not the cause of the traffic delays. In both sentences, we understand not to blame …

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Affect vs. Effect: Should I Use Affect or Effect?

Posted on Wednesday, January 10, 2007, at 3:57 pm

Affect and effect are similar words with comparable meanings and pronunciations, so it’s little wonder that so many speakers of American English confuse the two. Here we will provide a quick guide for using the two words correctly. Rule 1. Use the verb effect when you mean bring about or brought about, cause or caused. …

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