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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Pronouns

Sentence Subjects: Looking Past Nouns and Strict Verb Agreement

Posted on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, at 12:58 am

Sentence subjects are typically obvious in English grammar. Many are nouns, and they take corresponding plural or singular verbs. How then do we identify and explain the parts of speech in the following sentences? 1. Buying houses and flipping them has been netting him a small fortune. 2. To be alone is to find true …

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Whoever vs. Whomever

Posted on Wednesday, November 8, 2017, at 11:36 am

In the "English Rules" section of our GrammarBook.com website, and in our blog post Who vs. Whom, you will find our simple explanation for determining whether to use who or whom. Briefly, this is the trick: who = he (subject pronouns) whom = him (object pronouns) Example: Who/Whom is at the door? He is at the door. Example: For who/whom should I vote? …

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Commonly Confused Words That Bring Bumps to Writing

Posted on Wednesday, October 4, 2017, at 9:07 am

The English language—its words, its structure, its stylistic possibilities—is rich, descriptive, and versatile. It can communicate with precision and convey vivid, persuasive thoughts and ideas. At times, it can also confuse. Those not familiar with the nuanced or multiple meanings of many English words and the finer points of grammar can sometimes trip where they’re …

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Reflexive Pronouns

Posted on Wednesday, July 5, 2017, at 12:59 pm

English includes several types of pronouns, such as personal, demonstrative, interrogative, relative, indefinite, possessive, and intensive pronouns. In this review, we’ll examine what reflexive pronouns are. What Is a Reflexive Pronoun? A reflexive pronoun is one that refers back to itself: myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves. A reflexive pronoun differs from other …

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I vs. Me

Posted on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, at 10:09 pm

You don’t need to learn how to diagram a sentence to be able to learn the rules of grammar and punctuation. Let me help you use pronouns correctly without any unnecessary jargon. First, let’s define a pronoun: a pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun. We can divide pronouns into three …

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Media Watch: Word Choice, Articles, Pronouns

Posted on Monday, May 29, 2017, at 2:43 pm

These articles used to be a lot more fun to write, but that was before newspapers and magazines went on life support. Mainly, we do “Media Watch” for the copy editors, those unsung word nerds who make journalists watch what they say and how they say it. When companies struggle, they downsize, so we shudder …

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When to Add es to a Verb

Posted on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at 3:08 pm

Our review of English verbs has included discussion of when to add s to a verb. You might also wonder when to add es to the end of a verb. As we point out in that other discussion, only verbs paired with a third-person singular noun or pronoun (he, she, boat, courage) as a subject add …

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In Print Is Forever

Posted on Wednesday, January 25, 2017, at 11:15 am

Oh, the things we see in print these days … From Time magazine: “General David Petraeus asked a famous question: ‘Tell me how this ends?’ ” Did you catch it? Here’s a clue: tell me how that’s a question. If Petraeus had asked a question, it would have been something like, “Tell me, how does this …

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Pop Tunes and Grammar

Posted on Monday, September 26, 2016, at 5:55 pm

For many years I’ve had a framed drawing sitting on my bookshelf. It’s from the New Yorker magazine, and it’s by the brilliant cartoonist Roz Chast. It depicts a record album titled Miss Ilene Krenshaw Sings 100% Grammatically Correct Popular Tunes. Songs include “You Aren’t Anything but a Hound Dog,” “It Doesn’t Mean a Thing …

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Media Watch: Pronouns, Misused Words, Excess Verbiage

Posted on Monday, August 15, 2016, at 5:26 pm

The following are less-than-exemplary snippets from recent newspapers and magazines … • “The suspect was linked to at least nine different bank robberies.” Why not just “nine bank robberies”? It would be interesting to know what compelled the writer to add “different.” However, this sentence is not a total loss; it could be shown to …

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