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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Prepositions

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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What Are Prepositional Phrases?

Posted on Monday, March 28, 2022, at 6:00 am

Many of us may have learned about prepositional phrases in school, but unless we are writers, editors, or teachers, we might not think about them often even though we use them every day. In this brief discussion, we'll review what prepositional phrases are and look at some reinforcing examples. What Is a Preposition? A preposition …

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Object of a Preposition Examples

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

In today’s post we will look at prepositions, objects, and the relationship between the two. With that knowledge, you’ll have greater insight into another fine point of English grammar. What Is a Preposition? A preposition is a word that usually comes before a noun or pronoun and expresses a relationship to another word. In other …

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Threw vs. Through: What’s the Difference?

Posted on Friday, April 30, 2021, at 6:00 am

Threw and through are two words that sound exactly the same (making them homonyms), but with completely different meanings. That makes them easy to tell apart, once you know the distinctions. In today's post we will explore the meaning of each, give you some examples, and quiz you on the difference. Ready to get started? …

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Ending a Sentence With a Preposition

Posted on Wednesday, March 24, 2021, at 6:00 am

Many of us who learned American English in school likely received certain inviolable decrees about usage. One of them was to use "___ and I" only as a subject. Another was never to split an infinitive (not true). Yet another was never to end a sentence with a preposition, a breach of form that can …

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For All Intents and Purposes vs. For All Intensive Purposes

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

You've probably heard this expression used a couple of different ways. You may also have wondered which one is correct and where the confusion comes from. Let's break down what you should write and say, what the phrase means, and why there is confusion about it. Is For All Intents and Purposes Right, or Is …

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Past or Passed: Which Word Is Correct?

Posted on Monday, February 8, 2021, at 9:00 am

The past is many things—but it’s not the same as passed. Passed: gone ahead of; approved. Past: a former time; beyond. If you ever find yourself struggling with the grammatical difference between the two, you aren’t alone. They sound identical when spoken aloud and have somewhat related definitions. However, they do have different meanings, and …

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Expressing Possession of Gerunds

Posted on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, at 11:00 pm

A gerund is the present participle (-ing) form of a verb functioning as a noun in a sentence. Example: He responded by laughing. (The gerund "laughing" is the noun object of the preposition "by.") A gerund phrase is a gerund plus another element such as an adverb, an adjective, or a noun. Example: Saving money …

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American vs. British English: Grammar

Posted on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, at 11:00 pm

We hope you’re enjoying our exploration of American and British English as much as we are. So far we've considered variations in spelling and vocabulary between the dialects. Our review continues with a closer look at American and Commonwealth grammar. Prepositions Different phrasing involving prepositions between American and British English may not be as pronounced …

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Writing with Nimble Variation

Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at 11:00 pm

Writing is much like anything else involving enjoyment: too much of one thing can eventually spoil the fun. Just as they might tire from eating the same cereal every morning, readers can soon grow weary from an over-repetition of compositional forms. Consider the following sentence:      Winthrop grew up in poverty. He could not …

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