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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Which vs. That

Posted on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at 6:00 am

The which vs. that usage dilemma pops up when working with dependent clauses—also known as subordinate clauses—that require one of these two relative pronouns. A dependent clause contains a subject and a predicate but cannot stand alone as a complete, independent sentence. Which and that are used with essential (also called restrictive) clauses, which contain …

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Subjunctive Mood: What Is the Subjunctive Mood?

Posted on Monday, April 19, 2021, at 6:00 am

A GrammarBook reader came across this sentence: If I were very lucky, I would get the chance to go. She asked, "Shouldn't I be followed by was, not were, since I is singular?" This is type of question is common within English grammar, particularly because it walks the line between the conditional tense and the subjunctive mood when a dependent if clause is …

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To vs. Too vs. Two: Are You Using Them Correctly?

Posted on Friday, April 16, 2021, at 6:00 am

Are there any three identically pronounced words in the English language that can give people so much trouble? Even those who grew up with these words in school can confuse them. If you doubt this, simply visit your favorite social media site after reading this article. There's a chance you could see incorrect usage, particularly …

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Compound Predicates

Posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, at 6:00 am

The two main components of English sentences are subjects and predicates. Together, they form clauses. The complete subject is the main part of the sentence that contains at least one noun (or noun equivalent) and all of its modifiers. The complete predicate contains at least one verb and its auxiliaries, modifiers, and completing words if …

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Should You Write Alright or All Right?

Posted on Monday, April 12, 2021, at 9:00 am

You might sometimes wonder whether it's all right to use the word alright. As it turns out, there is a mostly right answer to that. The Meaning of All Right and Alright The two-word expression all right is a short way of saying "all is right." That phrase itself is a quicker version of the …

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Passive Voice vs. Active Voice

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

If you grew up attending American schools, at some point you probably received the advice to "write in the active voice." Although English instructors tend to hold passive-voice statements in lesser esteem, many English speakers (including college graduates) still often use them. Others might even have trouble identifying them in sentences. So what exactly is …

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Dependent and Independent Clauses

Posted on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, at 6:00 am

Clauses are the foundation of English sentences. A clause is typically defined as related words that contain a subject and a predicate. There are two types of clauses: dependent and independent. A dependent (subordinate) clause is an incomplete thought that cannot stand alone as a sentence. An independent (main) clause is a complete thought that …

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Is It Gray or Grey? Same Color, Different Spelling

Posted on Monday, April 5, 2021, at 9:00 am

As much as we love the English language, we have to admit it can be a little confusing sometimes. It includes words with nearly identical spellings but entirely different meanings. In other cases, as we'll see in a moment, a single word can be spelled in more than one way. Have you ever asked yourself …

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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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