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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Em Dash: What Is an Em Dash?

Posted on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, at 6:00 am

The em dash in American English is a punctuation mark that helps to convey emphasis, introduction, interruption, or a swift change of thought. In doing so, the em dash acts similarly to commas, semicolons, colons, and parentheses. In formal writing, an em dash is the width of an m and longer than both a hyphen and an …

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Alternate vs. Alternative: Which Word Do You Need?

Posted on Monday, May 24, 2021, at 6:00 am

You are probably familiar with the words alternate and alternative. You may have even used them interchangeably. Many native speakers of American English think the words mean the same thing, but they have slightly separate definitions and uses. Which word do you need in a particular sentence? In this article we'll give you the answers …

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Nonrestrictive Clause: What Is a Nonrestrictive Clause?

Posted on Friday, May 21, 2021, at 6:00 am

In a recent post we explained how a restrictive (essential) clause includes information that will change the meaning of a sentence if removed. Today we will look at its grammatical companion, the nonrestrictive (nonessential) clause. As its name suggests, a nonrestrictive clause is one that can be taken away from a sentence without changing understanding …

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Possessive Pronouns

Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2021, at 6:00 am

English includes several types of pronouns, such as personal, demonstrative, interrogative, relative, indefinite, reflexive, and intensive pronouns. In this review, we'll examine what possessive pronouns are. What Are Possessive Pronouns? A possessive pronoun is a pronoun that indicates or identifies ownership. It can be either an adjective or a stand-in for an antecedent, the noun …

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Restrictive Clause: What Is a Restrictive Clause?

Posted on Monday, May 17, 2021, at 6:00 am

Understanding restrictive clauses is a valuable skill in applying English grammar. With this information, you'll gain further insight into how sentences are constructed for clarity. The Anatomy of a Restrictive Clause A restrictive clause is a dependent clause that modifies a word (noun). The information it gives is necessary for description or identification. In other …

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Helping Verbs: Examples of Helping Verbs

Posted on Friday, May 14, 2021, at 6:00 am

Helping verbs (also referred to as modal and auxiliary verbs): Are you familiar with what they are and how they help other verbs? Whether you are or not, this grammar post will further clarify them for you. What Helping Verbs Are It's easy to pick up the verb in a simple sentence. You just look …

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How to Use Dashes in Sentences

Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2021, at 6:00 am

The en dash and the em dash offer different functions for punctuation. They also have different ways they can be made using a keyboard. In this brief discussion, we’ll review common uses of the en dash and the em dash as well as methods for forming them with your keyboard. En Dash An en dash …

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Semicolon Use in Lists

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

A properly inserted semicolon helps to provide pause and clarifying separation in sentences. It also connects closely related thoughts. In this review, we’ll further consider how the semicolon operates in forming lists that involve items in a series. Semicolons Use in Lists: Items with Internal Punctuation Some of us at some point may have come …

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Direct Object: Examples of Direct Objects

Posted on Monday, May 10, 2021, at 6:00 am

Different words play different roles in a sentence. Direct objects are words that have a specific function in forming a statement. Being able to identify and understand their role is a useful skill for those who want to be clear and versatile in their writing. Today's post will review direct objects and give some examples …

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Mood vs. Tone in Writing

Posted on Friday, May 7, 2021, at 6:00 am

Those who study the art of composition are likely to hear references to mood and tone along the way. The terms may seem or sound synonymous, but they identify different aspects of substance in writing. If you're looking to further develop the style and impact of your writing, particularly as emotional depth is concerned, you …

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