Grammar |
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Idioms

Like vs. As, Such As

Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, at 6:00 am

Most of us are likely aware of the give and take of spoken and written language. We give extra license for looseness when speaking; we take that license back to ensure and protect proper form when writing (or at least that should be our aim). Like a thriving rooftop cocktail party at sunset, American English …

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Onto vs. On To

Posted on Wednesday, May 29, 2024, at 6:00 am

(This discussion revisits the subject of On to vs. Onto first posted in January 2010.) English is a rich, descriptive language with a versatile vocabulary. It also is one that can keep even well-studied native writers on their toes with its many nuances, such as those we'll find among homophones. Another English subtlety lies in …

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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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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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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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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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Bring vs. Take: What’s the Difference?

Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2022, at 6:00 am

"Would you bring me to the train station?" "How much money are you taking to the concert?" You've probably said, read, or heard such expressions. Bring and take are common verbs in English, and we use them often in our daily writing and speech. But are the questions above correctly conveyed? Both verbs involve actions …

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Colloquialism Examples to Help You Learn About Them

Posted on Monday, May 16, 2022, at 6:00 am

You might be familiar with the word "colloquialism." Even if you aren't, there's a good chance you use colloquialisms often, especially in your speech. They're so common to us that we may not even notice them unless we come upon one we don't recognize. Let's review the definition of colloquialisms as well as some examples. …

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What Is an Idiom? (With Examples and Usage)

Posted on Friday, December 10, 2021, at 6:00 am

Idioms are a big part of language—as well as a common source of confusion, particularly for non-native speakers. Because idioms are used so often in communications from emails to text messages to daily conversations, understanding them is important to mastering American English. In today's post we'll explain what idioms are and how they work, as …

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Euphemisms: What Is a Euphemism?

Posted on Friday, October 15, 2021, at 6:00 am

Some people may not be able to say what a euphemism is, but there’s a good chance they often use euphemisms, including sometimes without being aware. In today’s grammar post, we’ll explain what euphemisms are and how to use them. What Exactly Is a Euphemism? A euphemism is a mild term—typically an idiomatic one—that’s used …

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