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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

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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The Business of Good Grammar: Dealmaker or Dealbreaker?

Posted on Monday, February 1, 2021, at 9:00 am

Knowing how to write a proper sentence is a critical business skill. You own a struggling young company with tons of potential. Your partner has just handed you a proposal aimed at hooking the biggest fish in your industry. Land this account and your financial woes are over. As you look over the document, spiral …

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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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How Long Is a Paragraph?

Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2021, at 12:00 am

The paragraph is the primary unit of English composition. It represents the whole of its parts, which include sentences with phrases and clauses formed by letters and words. When composing a paragraph, we might ask ourselves how long it should be. The web and social media have greatly altered our approaches to answers. In his …

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Less vs. Fewer

Posted on Monday, January 25, 2021, at 9:00 am

Less and fewer rank among the closest in meaning between two words, often leading to confusion about which to use in a sentence. In this article we’ll help to clear that up for you. Both less and fewer refer to smaller sizes, amounts, or degrees of something. For example, you could say you are looking …

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Everyday vs. Every Day

Posted on Friday, January 22, 2021, at 9:00 am

You have probably seen the word everyday and the phrase every day used interchangeably. You might have wondered which is correct in a sentence, as well as how you can use it more accurately. We’ll help you answer those questions. Everyday vs. Every Day: The Basics The single word everyday is an adjective describing an …

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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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Me Either vs. Me Neither: Which Is Better?

Posted on Monday, January 18, 2021, at 9:00 am

You have probably come across the phrases me either and me neither in both writing and conversation. Have you ever wondered which is correct? Let’s look at the grammar behind these expressions. Note that unlike pairs such as either vs. neither, these two phrases don’t have precise meanings. Although widely used, they are idiomatic as …

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Either vs. Neither

Posted on Friday, January 15, 2021, at 9:00 am

Have you ever wondered whether either or neither is the right word to use when you’re writing or speaking? Either and neither are similar words, but they have separate meanings. Let’s review either vs. neither and consider a few examples. When to Use Either The word either separates two choices, outcomes, or possibilities: We could …

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What Is Hyperbole?

Posted on Wednesday, January 13, 2021, at 12:00 am

We had at least a thousand interruptions today. Theo ran the race with winged feet. This crème brûlée is to die for. We all at some point exaggerate to emphasize our thoughts or feelings. When doing so, we are often using what is known as hyperbole. Originating from the Greek huperbolḗ (hupér "above, beyond" and …

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Year-End Quiz: 2020

Posted on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at 12:00 am

We conclude each twelve-month grammatical trip with a review of what we’ve studied and learned together. The 2020 master quiz features twenty-five items inspired by the year’s many different GrammarBook articles.

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The Diversity of American English Dialects

Posted on Tuesday, December 15, 2020, at 11:00 pm

Americans share a common language, but as in other countries, not all people speak it the same way. The U.S. has its own family of dialects that differ by region within its 3.8 million square miles. People establish a dialect when they live together within set social or geographical boundaries over time. As they use …

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The Spell of the Holidays

Posted on Tuesday, December 8, 2020, at 11:00 pm

The year-end holidays are an alternate reality. People dress differently, act differently … and even talk differently. This time of year has its own vocabulary, and some of these old-fashioned words have eccentric spellings. So here is our holiday spelling quiz. You'll find the answers directly below. 1. ___ the night before Christmas. A) T'was …

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Are Euphemisms Useful?

Posted on Tuesday, December 1, 2020, at 11:00 pm

Governments, businesses, and private people alike often look to soften an idea they think may hurt, offend, or dishearten another. For that reason, they develop and use alternate phrasing intended to sugarcoat certain connotations. For example, a company reducing staff is not "firing people"; it is "downsizing." People aren't "poor"; they are "economically disadvantaged." We …

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That’s nyooz to me

Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2020, at 7:00 am

Pronunciation changes gradually through the years—that’s evolution, and nothing could be more natural. But nowadays, if an influential public figure goes on TV or the Internet and says a word wrong, millions of people hear it, and the mispronunciation may gain an undeserved legitimacy. That isn’t evolution, it’s weeds taking over a rose garden. Virtually …

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