Category: Verbs

Aid or Aide: Which One Do You Mean?

Posted on Friday, March 26, 2021, at 9:00 am

The words aid and aide are spoken the same way, and the only difference in their spelling is a single e. Does that mean you can use either one? Actually, the two words have entirely different meanings and uses. We will explain them in today's short post. How to Use the Word Aid The word …

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Was vs. Were

Posted on Friday, March 5, 2021, at 9:00 am

While some of our articles focus on minor grammar points or innocent, common mistakes, here we want to tackle a bigger issue. Many people may struggle with the difference between was and were. Because these are both frequent words that might be used throughout the day, understanding how and when to apply each one can …

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Simple Predicates

Posted on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, at 6:00 am

The basic building blocks of an English sentence are the subject and the predicate. Together, the subject and the predicate form a clause. A Quick Review The complete subject is the main part of the sentence that contains at least one noun (or noun equivalent) and all of its modifiers. The complete predicate contains at …

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Could or Couldn’t Care Less: Which One Is It?

Posted on Friday, February 19, 2021, at 9:00 am

Sometimes in American English, you find an expression that is used or pronounced more than one way. In the case of could and couldn't care less, we may often find that different people use one expression or the other—and they are certain their form is correct. So which is the right one for proper writing …

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Farther vs. Further

Posted on Friday, February 12, 2021, at 9:00 am

Few sets of words stump speakers and writers of American English as much as farther and further do. In this post we'll examine the correct uses for each word. One reason farther and further are difficult to distinguish is that both mean something close to "beyond." However, there is a big difference. Farther generally refers …

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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. 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 that can help you understand when each word should be …

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Lead vs. Led: Do You Know the Difference?

Posted on Friday, February 5, 2021, at 9:00 am

The English language is filled with tricky words. One such word is lead. With just four simple letters, it can have different pronunciations and distinctive meanings based on use and context. Let’s look at why that is, and how you can use lead correctly in its different forms. What You Should Know About the Word …

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What Is a Linking Verb?

Posted on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, at 12:00 am

A linking verb is a verb that requires a complement that refers to the subject and completes its meaning. Linking verbs “link” the subject to descriptive information that follows. That subject complement can be an adjective, a noun, a pronoun, or a possessive. The verb be is perhaps the most common linking verb. A few …

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Affect vs. Effect

Posted on Friday, January 29, 2021, at 9:00 am

Affect and effect are similar words with comparable meanings and pronunciations, so it’s little wonder that so many speakers of American English confuse the two. Here we will provide a quick guide for using the two words correctly. The basic starting difference between affect and effect is: affect is typically used as a verb that …

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The Present Perfect Tense

Posted on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, at 12:00 am

The English language has three verb tenses to indicate the time an action took place: present, past, and future. Each tense is then further categorized as simple, progressive, perfect, and perfect progressive, resulting in twelve total tenses. In this discussion, we'll review the present perfect tense. The present perfect is used to communicate occurrences or …

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We the People, or…?

Posted on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, at 7:00 am

For much of the last two months, we have been analyzing why the subject pronouns I, he, she, we, they and the object pronouns me, him, her, us, them are chronically misused and confused. In this final installment, we'll deal with flawed sentences like Politicians should respect we the people and It's a happy outcome …

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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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Two More Reasons Pronouns Plague Us

Posted on Tuesday, October 6, 2020, at 7:00 am

For several weeks now, we’ve been counting the ways that pronouns give us nightmares. Today we’ll look at two more culprits: infinitives and verbs that end in -ing (known technically as participles and gerunds). To form an infinitive, precede a verb with the word to. The infinitive of look is to look. Constructions like to …

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The Subjunctive Mood

Posted on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, at 7:00 am

An e-newsletter fan came across this sentence: If I were very lucky, I would get the chance to go. She asked, “Shouldn’t I be followed by was, not were, since I is singular?” Let us answer that by asking you a question: Are you old enough to remember the ad jingle that began, “I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener …”? …

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Exchanging English Over the Pond: U.S. and U.K. Part IV

Posted on Tuesday, June 23, 2020, at 11:00 pm

During the last several weeks we've covered some meaningful ground about the language we share with our friends across the water. For us, it's been fun to reflect on what we have in common as well as how each dialect varies its voice. So far, we've examined spelling, word choice, and points of grammar. We'll …

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