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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Verbs

Pronouncing the Word Blessed

Posted on Saturday, August 11, 2012, at 2:28 pm

We sometimes receive inquiries from readers regarding the proper way to pronounce blessed. The word blessed can be pronounced in two different ways according to its part of speech in the sentence. Rule 1. When blessed is used as a verb, it is pronounced with one syllable (blest). Example: Before we ate, our uncle Tony blessed [blest] the …

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If I Would Have vs. If I Had

Posted on Saturday, April 4, 2009, at 7:25 pm

When talking about something that didn't happen in the past, many English speakers use the conditional perfect (if I would have done) when they should be using the past perfect (if I had done). For example, you find out that your brother saw a movie yesterday. You would have liked to see it too, but …

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Nouns Can Become Verbs

Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2009, at 10:11 am

E-Newsletter reader Clifford A. recently wrote: My wife says she texted our daughter. I say, I sent her a text message. Is texted an accepted usage? English allows many nouns to become verbs. We can table a motion, salt our food, and water our plants. Particularly in the realm of developing technology, new usages are …

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Are You Among the Many Who Do This?

Posted on Tuesday, August 5, 2008, at 9:08 pm

Can you guess which word I see misspelled most often? Did you guess misspelled? You’re getting warm. Actually, it’s grammar. From my experience, I think it’s safe to estimate that 20 percent of the English-speaking world spells it with an -er ending. Before anyone points an accusing finger at anyone else, we might want to …

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Irregular Verbs

Posted on Friday, July 18, 2008, at 6:25 pm

A verb is called a regular verb if its past tense and past participle are formed by adding -ed (waited, insisted) or sometimes just -d (breathed, replaced). Verbs in English are irregular if they don't have a conventional -ed ending in the past tense. Example: Go (present tense), went (past tense), gone (past participle) Note: …

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When to Add s to a Verb

Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007, at 8:44 pm

Our review of English verbs has included discussion of when to add es to a verb. You might also wonder when to add s to the end of a verb. With verbs, only those with a third-person singular noun or pronoun (he, she, boat, courage) as a subject add an s to the end. Verbs with plural nouns and …

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You Could Look It Up

Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007, at 2:06 pm

I hope you enjoy this. Thanks to Peter H. for sending it. There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that word is up. It's easy to understand up, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, …

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What Is a Gerund and Why Care?

Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007, at 6:00 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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Affect vs. Effect: Should I Use Affect or Effect?

Posted on Wednesday, January 10, 2007, at 3:57 pm

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. Rule 1. Use the verb effect when you mean bring about or brought about, cause or caused. …

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