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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Pronouns

More on “More Ear-itating Word Abuse”

Posted on Tuesday, July 16, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Last month we reran More Ear-itating Word Abuse by our late writer Tom Stern. The article first appeared in August 2013. We heard from many readers, and their comments were just about evenly split between: For years I've hated hearing people mispronounce these words. Thank you for shining a spotlight on this subject. and You …

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Securing the Subject of Subjects

Posted on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Last week we discussed how predicates form half of a clause. This week we’ll look closer at the other half, subjects. If the predicate is the engine of the action we communicate, the subject is the body of the vehicle being driven by it, including parts and accessories. The subject includes at least one noun (or noun …

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Predicating Our Knowledge of Predicates

Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2019, at 11:00 pm

A thorough review of English structure includes understanding subjects and predicates in broader terms. While the concepts of subjects and predicates in their totality may not be as commonly taught as they once were, a brief study will both reinforce our facility as writers and grammarians and further acquaint us with grammatical terminology. Today, we’ll focus on the predicate, the engine of the …

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Declining or Just Changing?

Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, at 11:00 pm

If you think you know your English, Ammon Shea’s Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation might make you question your most cherished notions. The book has a lot to offer grammar sticklers with open minds, but it will challenge—and enrage—most traditionalists. People who care about language tend to deplore the slovenly habits of their …

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Overseeing Omissions in Writing

Posted on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Sometimes in our writing or speaking we will drop a word or words that are needed for grammatical completeness, but they are still understood when they are left out. Examples Do you think [that] she is correct? His brother and [his] attorney, Chris, will represent him. I tend to watch football more than [I watch] …

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Year-End Quiz 2018

Posted on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Another year of grammatical exploration has concluded with linguistic miles behind us. What we’ve learned and discussed with you along the way has been illuminating, and we are grateful for the thought and insight it has inspired. We hope you gathered even more sharpened tools for communicating in concise and eloquent English. A year-end review …

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More Mulling Over Miscellany

Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2018, at 11:00 pm

A few weeks ago we explored some English miscellany, linguistic bits perhaps too small for full and separate treatment yet still worthy of a closer look. Much of the miscellany to consider comes from you, our faithful, thoughtful readers. In our last article, we referred to such items as fireflies in a jar. Today we’ll …

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What Is a Gerund and Why Care?

Posted on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, at 11:00 pm

What is a gerund and why do you need to know? Maybe it would be better to answer the second part of the question first so that you have some motivation to identify gerunds. If you are able to pick the gerund(s) out in your sentence, you will avoid a grammar gaffe that often goes …

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So Tell Me—When Is It Correct to Use So

Posted on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, at 11:00 pm

So: It’s among the shortest words in English, and use of it abounds. So, when are we going to meet up? That movie was so good. I so much want to be there. He’s not feeling well, so he probably won’t go to the meeting. The word has become a versatile agent for our language …

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Shall I or Will I Use the Right Auxiliary Verb?

Posted on Tuesday, May 1, 2018, at 11:00 pm

Few will ever forget the words spoken by Winston Churchill in June 1940 under the thickening shadow of Nazi aggression: “We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and strength in …

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