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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Looking at Closures to Letters, or “How Do I End a Letter?”

Posted on Friday, April 2, 2021, at 9:00 am

Have you ever finished writing a letter to someone—whether for personal, professional, or academic reasons—and found yourself stumped at the right way to finish it? If so, you certainly aren't alone. Selecting the right closure can sometimes be an uncertainty. That's because how you conclude a letter says something about yourself, your relationship to the …

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i.e. vs. e.g.: How to Use i.e. or e.g.

Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, at 6:00 am

We've probably all either seen or written the abbreviations i.e. and e.g. Some of us may have understood them, and some of us may have not been sure. For example, perhaps we've come across a statement such as: Please bring something to the potluck dinner (i.e., salad, appetizer, dessert). The context of that statement doesn't …

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Apart vs. A Part: Do You Know the Difference?

Posted on Monday, March 29, 2021, at 9:00 am

There are some aspects of American English that can be fairly described as "confusing." That's certainly the case when one word can be separated into two and result in a different meaning. Even native speakers of American English can be puzzled by the difference between apart (one word) and a part (two words). Do you …

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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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Ending a Sentence in a Preposition

Posted on Wednesday, March 24, 2021, at 6:00 am

Many of us who learned American English in school likely received certain inviolable decrees about usage. One of them was to use "___ and I" only as a subject. Another was never to split an infinitive (not true). Yet another was never to end a sentence with a preposition, a breach of form that can …

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Ms., Mrs., or Miss: Which One Should You Use?

Posted on Monday, March 22, 2021, at 9:00 am

Some speakers of American English think Ms., Mrs., and Miss all mean the same thing. They don't, and learning their differences can enhance your grammar while ensuring you communicate politely. Before we dive into details, we'll start by saying that each form of address is intended as a respectful title. To be well-mannered, you would …

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Catalog or Catalogue: Which Is Correct?

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

Have you seen the word catalog spelled two ways—with and without a u—and wondered which is correct? Here we'll aim to clarify the distinction by explaining the spelling differences and discussing how to use the word in both of its forms. How Do You Spell It? In the U.S., we typically spell catalog without a …

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Demonstrative Pronouns

Posted on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, at 6:00 am

Most writers and speakers of English have a general understanding of what pronouns are, particularly personal pronouns such as you, I, and they. Pronouns have other categories as well, such as interrogative, relative, and demonstrative pronouns. In this discussion, we'll look at demonstrative pronouns. What Is a Demonstrative Pronoun? A demonstrative pronoun is a pronoun …

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Anytime vs. Any Time: Which Is Correct?

Posted on Monday, March 15, 2021, at 9:00 am

This question comes up often, and for good reason. You frequently see both anytime and any time used in written sentences, and when spoken, they sound the same. Because the pause that would go between the two-word version is passed over, it's tough to tell if it should be there in the first place. So, …

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Their vs. There vs. They’re

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

One of the hardest things to master in English is the difference among three very similar words: their, there, and they're. Because these words have similar spellings and nearly identical pronunciations, they tend to be commonly misused. Learning to put each one in its correct place is a great way to write more clearly. Or, …

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