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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Effective Writing

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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Subjunctive Mood: What Is the Subjunctive Mood?

Posted on Monday, April 19, 2021, at 6:00 am

A GrammarBook reader came across this sentence: If I were very lucky, I would get the chance to go. She asked, "Shouldn't I be followed by was, not were, since I is singular?" This is type of question is common within English grammar, particularly because it walks the line between the conditional tense and the subjunctive mood when a dependent if clause is …

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Passive Voice vs. Active Voice

Posted on Friday, April 9, 2021, at 9:00 am

If you grew up attending American schools, at some point you probably received the advice to "write in the active voice." Although English instructors tend to hold passive-voice statements in lesser esteem, many English speakers (including college graduates) still often use them. Others might even have trouble identifying them in sentences. So what exactly is …

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Looking at Closures to Letters, or “How Do I End a Letter?”

Posted on Friday, April 2, 2021, at 9:00 am

Have you ever finished writing a letter to someone—whether for personal, professional, or academic reasons—and found yourself stumped at the right way to finish it? If so, you certainly aren't alone. Selecting the right closure can sometimes be an uncertainty. That's because how you conclude a letter says something about yourself, your relationship to the …

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Could or Couldn’t Care Less: Which One Is It?

Posted on Friday, February 19, 2021, at 9:00 am

Sometimes in American English, you find an expression that is used or pronounced more than one way. In the case of could and couldn't care less, we may often find that different people use one expression or the other—and they are certain their form is correct. So which is the right one for proper writing …

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What Is an Imperative Sentence?

Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, at 12:00 am

The English language includes four types of sentences: declarative, interrogative, exclamatory, and imperative. An imperative sentence is one in which we assert something, such as when we issue a command, make a request, or give advice, directions, or instructions. The word imperative stems from the 16th century Latin imperātīvus, from the Latin imperāre ("to command"). The word emperor …

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The Business of Good Grammar: Dealmaker or Dealbreaker?

Posted on Monday, February 1, 2021, at 9:00 am

Knowing how to write a proper sentence is a critical business skill. You own a struggling young company with tons of potential. Your partner has just handed you a proposal aimed at hooking the biggest fish in your industry. Land this account and your financial woes are over. As you look over the document, spiral …

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How Long Is a Paragraph?

Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2021, at 12:00 am

The paragraph is the primary unit of English composition. It represents the whole of its parts, which include sentences with phrases and clauses formed by letters and words. When composing a paragraph, we might ask ourselves how long it should be. The web and social media have greatly altered our approaches to answers. In his …

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Less vs. Fewer

Posted on Monday, January 25, 2021, at 9:00 am

Less and fewer rank among the closest in meaning between two words, often leading to confusion about which to use in a sentence. In this article we’ll help to clear that up for you. Both less and fewer refer to smaller sizes, amounts, or degrees of something. For example, you could say you are looking …

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Me Either vs. Me Neither: Which Is Better?

Posted on Monday, January 18, 2021, at 9:00 am

You have probably come across the phrases me either and me neither in both writing and conversation. Have you ever wondered which is correct? Let’s look at the grammar behind these expressions. Note that unlike pairs such as either vs. neither, these two phrases don’t have precise meanings. Although widely used, they are idiomatic as …

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