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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Effective Writing

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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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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Here Is vs. Here Are

Posted on Wednesday, November 8, 2023, at 6:00 am

Many of us have probably written or spoken statements such as: Here's the keys to the car. Here are those toothpicks you asked for. Here's the ten baseball cards I owe you. Here is the article I told you about. They are common forms of expression in American English. When spoken, most of these remarks …

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Anastrophe

Posted on Wednesday, October 25, 2023, at 6:00 am

Writing allows us extra room to infuse our expressions with an eloquence that would otherwise sound ill-suited when we're speaking. Where simple, declarative language often favors comfort and trust in conversation, techniques that are more affecting can infuse written language with style, voice, and even emotion when applied properly. One such structure is what is …

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Transitional Words and Phrases

Posted on Wednesday, July 26, 2023, at 6:00 am

Each writer's art is the formation of voice and technique over time. The more we write, the more we find and reveal thoughts and words connected only as we might convey them. The more we study and apply the principles for shaping good writing, the more eloquent and precise we can become. Writing differs from …

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How to Use Only Correctly

Posted on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, at 6:00 am

Any language has its accepted daily misuses, even as they miff the grammatical purist. In English, we might often deal in statements with solecisms such as: Please inform Sheila and I about the tickets. I must of left my backpack on the bus. Every dog has it's day. We're still in awe of the enormity …

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Should We Use There Is and There Are?

Posted on Wednesday, April 19, 2023, at 6:00 am

There are too many orange M&Ms in this bowl. There is a lot of congestion on I-88 into the city. There's a piece of confetti in your hair. If you're an American communicating in American English, such statements are as common as corn in the Midwest. There is, there are, and the contracted there's are …

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Motif: Definition and Examples

Posted on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, at 6:00 am

We write in order to inform, explain, express, persuade, and entertain. Through our proficiency with grammar and vocabulary, we enhance our ability to further develop interpersonal meaning and intelligence as well as the exchange of knowledge that shapes our perception of truth. Writing also lets us look further into the heart of human expression: to …

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Misplaced Modifiers: What They Are and How to Fix Them

Posted on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, at 6:00 am

Imagine you are reading the police-report section of your community newspaper. Someone has been committing a rash of local burglaries. The description in the report says, "The man is identified as being age 20 to 25 and approximately 5'9" to 6' tall with shoulder-length blond hair weighing 160 to 170 pounds." You furrow your brow …

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