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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Pronouns

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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Small Dishes (2016)

Posted on Tuesday, July 5, 2016, at 1:07 pm

• Here is the type of sentence that makes grammar sticklers crazy: one of the students forgot to bring their lunch. You probably know this old tune: laissez-faire scholars and editors say the sentence is just fine, whereas nitpickers demand a rewrite because one is singular and their is plural. Things took a turn in …

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Media Watch: Pronouns, Prepositions, Danglers and More

Posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2016, at 7:46 am

Here is another set of recent flubs and fumbles from usually dependable journalists. • “Yet my relationship with the game was simple and uncomplicated.” How did this one get by the editors? One of those two adjectives has to go. • “He is accused of fleeing to London in March while owing more than $1 …

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Pronoun Puzzlers

Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2016, at 2:17 pm

Today let’s look into a seldom-discussed subject that’s quite a mouthful: compound possessives with nouns and pronouns. Have a look at this sentence: Cesar’s and Maribel’s houses are both lovely. Note the ’s at the end of each name. This tells us that Cesar and Maribel each own their own house. But when two people …

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Hypercorrection

Posted on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, at 5:39 pm

Trying hard is good, but trying too hard is another matter. Hypercorrection is the technical term for mistakes in grammar, punctuation, or pronunciation that result from trying too hard to be correct. Perhaps the most common hypercorrection involves pronouns. We constantly hear things like Keep this between you and I or The Wilsons invited he …

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Media Watch: Pronouns, Punctuation, Word Choice

Posted on Tuesday, February 9, 2016, at 3:19 pm

Let’s begin this installment of “Media Watch” with a headline we could do without: • “Manning and Co. bring in ’da noise” Did you catch it? Why the apostrophe? It should not be there unless one or more letters are omitted from the front of da (like the missing be in ’cause). That’s not the …

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