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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

What Are Prepositional Phrases?

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

Many of us may have learned about prepositional phrases in school, but unless we are writers, editors, or teachers, we might not think about them often even though we use them every day. In this brief discussion, we'll review what prepositional phrases are and look at some reinforcing examples. What Is a Preposition? A preposition …

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Commas in Lists

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

American English is rife with details concerning written style. One common item concerns how to punctuate lists and particularly whether to include commas in them. In this review, we'll consider ways you can approach presenting content in lists. Our focus will be on lists in a vertical format as opposed to in sentence form (e.g., …

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You and I or You and Me: Which Is Correct?

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

Even those who pay attention to grammar can allow certain inaccuracies to slip in, particularly in informal communication. One of the most prevalent grammatical errors appears in how we apply phrases such as you and I and you and me. Writers and speakers might use one or the other to sound articulate and yet be …

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What Are Intensive Pronouns?

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

A reflexive pronoun in English is one that refers back to itself: myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, oneself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves. It is used when the subject and the object of a sentence are the same. It can act as either an object or an indirect object: We should finish it by ourselves. (object of a …

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If I Was vs. If I Were: Which One Is Right?

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

Many of us use the phrases if I was and if I were interchangeably. Some of us might apply one or the other according to what our ears are accustomed to but perhaps not fully recognize the grammatical reasoning behind that use. This brief review will explore the difference between if I was and if …

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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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