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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Year-End Quiz: 2023

Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2024, at 6:00 am

As we learned together in 2023, we can explore a lot of grammatical ground during twelve months. Between January and December, we reviewed subjects from stative verbs to nominal numbers to anastrophe. We look forward to continuing more linguistic review and discovery with you in 2024. Before we move farther down the trail, we'll first …

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Mnemonic Devices

Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2023, at 6:00 am

The human brain contains 100 billion neurons, 400 miles of capillaries, 100,000 miles of axons, and an estimated 100 trillion synaptic connections. Scientists estimate that if the modern human brain were a computer, its storage would be up to 2,500 terabytes (as of 2023, the world's largest commercial hard drive is 100TB). During an average …

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Using Brackets: Changing a Quote and More

Posted on Wednesday, December 6, 2023, at 6:00 am

We've touched on the topic of brackets in writing at different times along the way. We also continue to receive occasional questions about their use from our readers. With that in mind, we thought it would be a good time for a current review of brackets by gathering guidelines we've shared both on our website …

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What Is Syntax?

Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, at 6:00 am

The capacity to write, read, speak, and hear expressive language is exclusive to human beings: There is no other ability like it among Earth's living creatures. To use this system of communication, we must have an ordered, understood structure of linguistic elements: a syntax that allows us to deliver and receive patterns of words with …

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Here Is vs. Here Are

Posted on Wednesday, November 8, 2023, at 6:00 am

Many of us have probably written or spoken statements such as: Here's the keys to the car. Here are those toothpicks you asked for. Here's the ten baseball cards I owe you. Here is the article I told you about. They are common forms of expression in American English. When spoken, most of these remarks …

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Cumulative Sentence: Definition and Examples

Posted on Wednesday, November 1, 2023, at 6:00 am

Writers focused on pacing, mechanics, and style have many tools at their disposal in English. One such technique is the placement of a main clause at the beginning or end of a sentence. Placing a main (independent) clause at the end of a sentence creates what is referred to grammatically as a periodic sentence. Examples …

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Anastrophe

Posted on Wednesday, October 25, 2023, at 6:00 am

Writing allows us extra room to infuse our expressions with an eloquence that would otherwise sound ill-suited when we're speaking. Where simple, declarative language often favors comfort and trust in conversation, techniques that are more affecting can infuse written language with style, voice, and even emotion when applied properly. One such structure is what is …

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Past Progressive Tense: Definition and Examples

Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, at 6:00 am

We use verb tense in English to communicate when an action or state of being occurred. We also combine verb tense with grammatical aspect, which further indicates time-related characteristics such as the tense's duration, completion, or repetition. English has three tenses (past, present, future) and four aspects (simple, perfect, progressive, perfect progressive), creating twelve primary …

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Single Quotation Marks: Uses and Examples

Posted on Wednesday, October 4, 2023, at 6:00 am

Punctuation allows us to express ourselves to readers in clear and structured ways. It is the system by which we organize, pace, and contain written language so it does not become a chaotic crowd of loose and random thoughts. Within punctuation, the single quotation mark has particular functions. It is also a mark that can …

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What Is Aspect in Grammar?

Posted on Wednesday, September 27, 2023, at 6:00 am

We use verbs to communicate actions. We also express their timing in the present, past,¬†or future through their tense: e.g., practice, practiced, will practice. Beyond establishing timing, we further treat verbs to indicate their open or closed nature within their tense. In other words, how does the action extend or not extend during a particular …

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