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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Adjectives and Adverbs

Leonard’s Ten Commandments

Posted on Monday, August 26, 2013, at 2:22 pm

The writer Elmore Leonard, who died in 2013 at the age of 87, was the master of hard-bitten prose. He started out as a pulp novelist, and went on to transcend the genre. Since the mid-1950s, more than forty of his works have been adapted for movies and TV, many of them featuring such A-listers …

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Basically, Why Your Cohort Isn’t Your Buddy

Posted on Saturday, June 15, 2013, at 12:38 pm

I received an e-mail from a fellow fussbudget deploring basically. He considers it meaningless and useless, and if you think about it, he has a point. Say any sentence with it and without it, and basically there’s no change in meaning (see?). Perhaps the most basic use of basically is as a promise to cut …

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Pronouncing the Word Blessed

Posted on Saturday, August 11, 2012, at 2:28 pm

We sometimes receive inquiries from readers regarding the proper way to pronounce blessed. The word blessed can be pronounced in two different ways according to its part of speech in the sentence. Rule 1. When blessed is used as a verb, it is pronounced with one syllable (blest). Example: Before we ate, our uncle Tony blessed [blest] the …

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This/That/These/Those: Demonstrative Adjectives and Pronouns

Posted on Tuesday, March 23, 2010, at 9:09 am

The demonstrative adjectives this/that/these/those, which may also be pronouns, tell us where an object is located and how many objects there are. This and that are used to point to one object. This points to something nearby, while that points to something "over there." Examples: This dog is mine. This is mine. That dog is …

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This and That, These and Those, Than and Then

Posted on Friday, July 18, 2008, at 5:48 pm

This vs. That This and that are singular. This indicates something physically nearby. It may also refer to something symbolically or emotionally "close."  That can refer to something "over there" or to something that is not as symbolically or emotionally "close" as this is. Examples: This dog is mine. This is mine. That dog is …

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Adjectives and Adverbs: When to Use -ly

Posted on Sunday, October 7, 2007, at 11:09 pm

Do you wonder when to add -ly to a word? For example, should you say, “He speaks slow” or “He speaks slowly.” Let’s find out. Adjectives describe nouns and pronouns. They may come before the word they describe: “That is a cute puppy.” Adjectives may also follow the word they describe: “That puppy is cute.” …

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Different From vs. Different Than

Posted on Friday, July 6, 2007, at 2:46 pm

Different from is the standard phrase. Most scholars obstinately avoid different than, especially in simple comparisons, such as You are different from me. However, some of the experts are more tolerant of different than, pointing out that the phrase has been in use for centuries, and has been written by numerous accomplished authors. These more-liberal …

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Good vs. Well

Posted on Friday, April 6, 2007, at 11:07 pm

Good is an adjective while well is an adverb answering the question how. Sometimes well also functions as an adjective pertaining to health. Examples: You did a good job. Good describes job, which is a noun, so good is an adjective. You did the job well. Well is an adverb describing how the job was …

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You Could Look It Up

Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007, at 2:06 pm

I hope you enjoy this. Thanks to Peter H. for sending it. There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that word is up. It's easy to understand up, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, …

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