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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

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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Adverb Examples: How to Modify Action Words

Posted on Monday, June 13, 2022, at 6:00 am

Adverbs are important to writing and speaking in English. However, even though adverbs are taught in school, many of us may not often consider them in such a way; they become words rather than parts of speech to us. We'll review what adverbs are, how they are used, and what they can add to our …

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First Person vs. Second Person vs. Third Person: Which One Do You Want?

Posted on Monday, June 6, 2022, at 6:00 am

Part of being a precise and eloquent communicator is conveying the right point of view. Person is used in grammar to distinguish who is speaking, who is being addressed, and who is not speaking or being addressed. Grammatical person includes first person, second person, and third person. In this post we will help you understand …

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Misplaced Modifiers: What They Are and How to Fix Them

Posted on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, at 6:00 am

Imagine you are reading the police-report section of your community newspaper. Someone has been committing a rash of local burglaries. The description in the report says, "The man is identified as being age 20 to 25 and approximately 5'9" to 6' tall with shoulder-length blond hair weighing 160 to 170 pounds." You furrow your brow …

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What Is the Plural of Thesis?

Posted on Monday, May 30, 2022, at 6:00 am

If you decide to stay in college long enough, you may eventually be required to write a thesis, which is an original academic work that demonstrates the research and critical-thinking skills you've developed along the way. Most graduates have to write only one thesis, but what happens if several students are discussing theirs as a …

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Inquiries or Enquiries: Which Spelling Is Correct?

Posted on Monday, May 23, 2022, at 6:00 am

Inquiry and enquiry are closely related words—so close that some consider them to be the same and others don't know what differences (if any) exist. This can make precision a challenge, but it's one that we can master with a bit of mindfulness. Let's discuss proper use when we're stuck at whether to make an …

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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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Colloquialism Examples to Help You Learn About Them

Posted on Monday, May 16, 2022, at 6:00 am

You might be familiar with the word "colloquialism." Even if you aren't, there's a good chance you use colloquialisms often, especially in your speech. They're so common to us that we may not even notice them unless we come upon one we don't recognize. Let's review the definition of colloquialisms as well as some examples. …

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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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What Is the Plural of Scarf?

Posted on Monday, May 9, 2022, at 6:00 am

We know a scarf can provide some extra warmth on a chilly day. In other cases, it might add a dash of flair to an otherwise lackluster outfit. One thing we might be unsure of, however, is the proper way to write and say the word for more than one scarf. In this post we …

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