Grammar & Usage

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Combining Subordinate and Independent Clauses in One Sentence

Using clauses can vary the rhythm of your sentences, making them more fun to read. Some clauses are like mature grown-ups. They have their own apartment, pay their own rent, and wash the dishes frequently [more…]

Replacing Improper Antecedents in Your Writing

In English an antecedent and its pronoun should be completely interchangeable. In other words, you should be able to replace the pronoun with its antecedent [more…]

How to Avoid Dangling Participles

Descriptions must have something to describe. However, to English speakers participles that function a descriptions tend to cause as many problems as a double-date with an ex. Participles look like verbs [more…]

How to Avoid Dangling Infinitives

If you dangle your infinitives, the grammar police are sure to come knocking on your door. English speakers commonly dangle infinities and believe it or not it really changes the meaning of their sentences [more…]

How to Write Clear Descriptions

To write clear descriptions, think about real estate. Location, location, location! That’s what real estate agents say matters, and it’s also what grammarians declare. Learn to avoid placing descriptions [more…]

How to Form Common Comparatives in English

English has two ways of creating comparisons, but you can’t use them together and they’re not interchangeable. You can add -er or -est or use more, more [more…]

Making Irregular Comparisons in English

Whenever English grammar gives you a set of rules that make sense, you know it’s time for the irregulars to show up. Not surprisingly, then, you have to create a few common comparisons without [more…]

How to Avoid Writing Incomplete Comparisons

When you are writing comparisons, you have to compare at least two things. Something has to be compared to something else otherwise it is not complete. That might sound confusing. But read this sentence [more…]

How to Avoid Writing Illogical Comparisons

Not all comparisons make sense. Some comparisons seem complete, but if you are not careful you can ask your readers to compare apples with oranges. You can avoid writing these illogical comparisons by [more…]

Maintaining the Same Verb Tense in Your Sentences

If you shift tense when you're writing a sentence, you can stall your communication. (Consider this analogy: If you’ve ever ridden in a car with a stick shift, you know that smooth transitions require [more…]

Keeping to One Point of View in Your Writing

Grammarians count three points of view in writing and speaking. In first person, the subject narrates the story: In other words, I or we acts as the subject of the sentence. In [more…]

Improve Your Writing by Using a Consistent Voice

The voice of a verb — not baritone or soprano — is either active or passive. The voice of the verbs in a sentence should be consistent unless there’s a good reason for a shift. A shift in voice is not [more…]

How to Avoid Common Errors in Your Comparisons

The grammar police will arrive, warrant in hand, if your comparisons aren’t parallel. There are lots of pitfalls when making comparisons in English. You can avoid common errors, by watching out for the [more…]

Using English Language Verb Moods

Verbs in modern English have three moods: indicative, imperative, and subjunctive. Indicative is the most common; almost all verbs are in the indicative mood. The two other moods — imperative and subjunctive [more…]

Using the Subjunctive Mood in English

Although uses for the subjunctive mood in English are rare, they are difficult enough to make a grown man cry. You can form subjunctives with were, had [more…]

Common Double Negatives to Avoid in Writing

In some lucky languages, the more negatives the better. In English, however, two negatives are a no-no. Some double negatives are obvious, but here you learn about some of the sneaky double-negatives that [more…]

Knowing When to Use Who and Whom

Even native English speakers have trouble knowing when to use who versus whom. These words are pronouns. Whois the subject pronoun and whom is the object pronoun. The rule for knowing when to use [more…]

How to Write Balanced Sentences

In art class, you draw parallels. In math class, you plot them on a graph. In grammar, you create parallel constructions. Parallel constructions in grammar, aren’t about lines that look like train tracks [more…]

How to Punctuate Sentences Correctly

Punctuation creates meaning by helping your reader understand where one thought ends and another begins, what's quoted or possessed, when a list follows, and a host of other things. Use these grammar quick [more…]

How to Add Variety to Sentences

One easy way to add flair to your writing style is to vary the pattern of your sentences. Try these strategies that add interest without sacrificing meaning or correct grammar: [more…]

Tricky Grammar: Is It Singular or Plural?

Usually, it's pretty clear whether a noun is singular or plural. Some words, however, can be tricky — and figuring out if you should pair a singular or plural verb or pronoun with them is essential. Follow [more…]

Possessive Rules of English Grammar

Who owns what? An apostrophe helps answer that question. Here's how to place an apostrophe in the right spot to show possession: [more…]

Creating Grammatically Correct Bulleted Lists

How did we live without presentation slides and bulleted lists? They're everywhere, but their grammar may be confusing. Follow this guide to keep your bulleted lists looking good: [more…]

English Grammar Workbook For Dummies

Writing proper English — and deciding how proper you want to be in a given situation — isn't as easy as they make it look on TV, but it's not brain surgery either. Check out these tips on punctuation, [more…]

5 Tips for Punctuating with Quotation Marks

Using quotation marks properly can flummox some writers, especially when there's a lot of other punctuation next to the quotation marks. The rules governing the placement of quotation marks around punctuation [more…]

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