Category: Commas

The Man Who Hated Semicolons

Posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2015, at 8:34 am

Ten years ago, the author Kurt Vonnegut stirred things up with four sentences he wrote in his final book, A Man Without a Country: “Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.” One must consider …

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What Have We Learned This Year?

Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2014, at 7:40 pm

To close out 2014, we have put together a comprehensive pop quiz based on the year’s GrammarBook.com grammar tips. The quiz comprises twenty-five sentences that may need fixing. Think you can fix them? Our answers follow the quiz. Each answer includes, for your convenience, the title and date of the article that raised the topic. …

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i.e. vs. e.g.

Posted on Tuesday, October 7, 2014, at 3:25 pm

Be honest now: do you know the difference between i.e.and e.g.? A lot of people think the two are virtually the same, but if they were, we’d only need one of them. So let’s break it down, once and for all. Writers use i.e. to restate the subject at hand: A good Samaritan (i.e., my neighbor Blake Smith) drove my …

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Essential and Nonessential Elements, Part III

Posted on Tuesday, September 2, 2014, at 10:41 am

See what you can infer from this sentence: When my three siblings and I entered the dark house, my brother, Marky, got scared. A careful reader would know instantly that the author had one brother and two sisters. Why? Because of the commas surrounding Marky, which tell us that the brother’s name is nonessential. The commas enable the …

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Essential and Nonessential Elements, Part II

Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2014, at 1:04 pm

Here is the rule again, in case you missed it: Essential elements in a sentence should not be enclosed in commas. Nonessential elements in a sentence should be enclosed by commas. Last time, we applied the rule to clauses. Today we’ll look at essential and nonessential phrases (a phrase is two or more related words …

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