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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Verbs

Seen vs. Saw: Which Word Should You Use?

Posted on Monday, August 8, 2022, at 6:00 am

The words saw and seen have similar meanings and uses. Both refer to the use of sight in the past tense. However, they are not interchangeable. If you have ever confused the two, or feel like you couldn't explain the difference between saw and seen, this post will be very helpful. We will define each …

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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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What Is the Indicative Mood in English Grammar?

Posted on Monday, July 25, 2022, at 6:00 am

English grammar uses mood to establish how to regard a verb in a sentence, such as whether it is making a descriptive statement or expressing a wish or command. Verb mood differs from verb tense in that it more concerns the quality or form of the verb than it does when an action took place. …

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If I Was vs. If I Were

Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, at 6:00 am

Whether in conversation or in writing, we have likely shared expressions such as "if I were you" or "if I was in your position." We might also find ourselves shifting between "if I was" and "if I were" when making such statements. In these cases, we have a 50 percent chance of being grammatically right. …

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What Are Split Infinitives?

Posted on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at 6:00 am

An infinitive is the root form of a verb before it is conjugated. It contains the main verb and the word "to": to write, to study, to wish, to walk. An infinitive is split when something separates the main verb from its "to." Few grammatical items have received a rougher rap. As with starting a …

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Began vs. Begun

Posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at 6:00 am

English verbs are simple to work with when they are regular—i.e., they follow an obvious pattern for conjugating their past tense and past participle. Verb Infinitive Present Tense Past Tense Past Participle to breathe breathe, breathes breathed breathed to dine dine, dines dined dined to jump jump, jumps jumped jumped The pattern is basic and …

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American vs. British English: Verbs

Posted on Wednesday, April 6, 2022, at 6:00 am

Along the way we've enjoyed exploring some of the colorful qualities of American English and its immediate relatives in the U.K. and Commonwealth countries, such as in our discussions of spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation. In this review, we'll consider some different ways American and British English use verbs. American vs. British English Verbs: Spelling …

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If I Was vs. If I Were: Which One Is Right?

Posted on Monday, March 14, 2022, at 6:00 am

Many of us use the phrases if I was and if I were interchangeably. Some of us might apply one or the other according to what our ears are accustomed to but perhaps not fully recognize the grammatical reasoning behind that use. This brief review will explore the difference between if I was and if …

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Dangling Infinitives

Posted on Wednesday, March 9, 2022, at 6:00 am

Clear communication in writing depends on more than precise punctuation and word choice. It also relies on proper placement of modifiers. If related elements are not in proximity or the sentence does not otherwise make internal references clear, we will have a statement such as the following: To avoid an accident while driving at night, …

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What Is the Simple Past Tense?

Posted on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, at 6:00 am

English (and language in general) uses tense to indicate the timing of a verb's action in the present, the past, or the future. The simple past tense in English communicates that an action occurred at an earlier time. The action has been completed, and it is not continuing in the present or into the future. …

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