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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Dangling Infinitives

Posted on Wednesday, March 9, 2022, at 6:00 am

Clear communication in writing depends on more than precise punctuation and word choice. It also relies on proper placement of modifiers. If related elements are not in proximity or the sentence does not otherwise make internal references clear, we will have a statement such as the following: To avoid an accident while driving at night, …

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Where vs. Were: Do You Know the Difference?

Posted on Monday, March 7, 2022, at 6:00 am

Where and were are words that look and sound similar. That's probably why they could be easy to confuse sometimes. If you want to know the difference—and, more important, consistently use the right word in context—this brief discussion will provide what you're looking for. Let's start with a definition of each word, and then we'll …

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Is It St. Patrick’s Day or St. Patricks Day?

Posted on Friday, March 4, 2022, at 6:00 am

As March 17 approaches, some people may wonder how to write the name of the holiday that honors Saint Patrick. Do You Use an Apostrophe When Spelling St. Patrick's Day? The day is recognized as the "Feast of St. Patrick" in honor of the patron saint of Ireland. The Associated Press Stylebook identifies the holiday …

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What Is the Simple Past Tense?

Posted on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, at 6:00 am

English (and language in general) uses tense to indicate the timing of a verb's action in the present, the past, or the future. The simple past tense in English communicates that an action occurred at an earlier time. The action has been completed, and it is not continuing in the present or into the future. …

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What Are Anagram Words? (With Examples)

Posted on Monday, February 28, 2022, at 6:00 am

You may have heard of an anagram or anagram words. They may appear in puzzles and quiz questions, as well as on the occasional game show. So what are they and how do they work? Anagrams are words or phrases that can be formed from the letters of other words. For example, both night and …

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What Are Correlative Conjunctions?

Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2022, at 6:00 am

A conjunction is a part of speech that connects words, phrases, or clauses. The two types of conjunctions are coordinating conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions. Correlative conjunctions are coordinating conjunctions used in pairs. They connect two items of equal rank and grammatical unit. Some common correlative conjunctions include: either…or neither…nor both…and not only…but also as…so rather…than …

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Regards, Best Regards, or Kind Regards: What Is the Best Usage for Each?

Posted on Monday, February 21, 2022, at 6:00 am

Most of us have probably seen the word regards at the end of an e-mail or letter—or possibly a variation such as best regards or kind regards. But some people might not always be ready to explain what regards actually means or when the best time to use each version might be. Today we'll look …

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Ordinal vs. Cardinal Numbers

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2022, at 6:00 am

Numbers can often present different style questions in American English. When should we spell them, and when shouldn't we? In particular, what are ordinal numbers and what are cardinal numbers, and how do we treat them? Mastering these distinctions will refine your precision in your daily writing. For this discussion, we'll review style guidance from …

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Is It President’s Day, Presidents’ Day, or Presidents Day?

Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2022, at 6:00 am

As the third Monday in February approaches, some people may wonder how to write the name of the American holiday that honors U.S. presidents. The answer may surprise you, since authorities seem to disagree on the spelling as well as the name itself. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the official name is "Washington's Birthday" …

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What Are Auxiliary Verbs? (Including Examples and Usage)

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2022, at 6:00 am

We use auxiliary verbs—also known as helping or modal verbs—all of the time in American English. Even if you aren't familiar with the definition of an auxiliary verb, there's a great likelihood you've used many today before reading this. In this discussion we'll review what an auxiliary verb is. We'll also provide you with examples …

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