Category: Verbs

Understanding Verb Particles

Posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2017, at 12:40 pm

As noted in a recent GrammarBook e-newsletter article, verbs form both the engine and the steering wheel driving our language. They determine the direction and speed of a sentence. Sometimes, we’ll spot other words riding with them in the passenger seat. They’re not verbs, but they still attach themselves with seat belts secured. We accept and …

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When to Add s to a Verb

Posted on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at 3:08 pm

If you feel confident about forming plurals in English by adding an s or es at the end of the word, we're about to make you feel a little wobbly. Although most noun plurals are formed this way, only verbs with a third-person singular noun or pronoun (he, she, boat, courage) as a subject ever have …

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Tightening Verb Phrases for Making an Engine That Purrs

Posted on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, at 10:11 am

Imagine the English language as a car that can keep its body and performance pristine if driven and maintained correctly. Think of nouns as the wheels that keep it rolling; adjectives as the chassis riding the wheels; adverbs as the paint job (some say the less flashy the better); and all other parts of speech …

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Whether to Give a Hoot About Moot

Posted on Wednesday, April 12, 2017, at 9:22 am

Those who follow the evolution of English understand that some words with a once-fixed identity can get pulled into the pool of common use and begin to lose their form. Some words become a new creation. Others obtain a duality that makes them hard to discern. One such word is moot. Dating back to the …

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Words Can Be Bullies

Posted on Tuesday, February 14, 2017, at 2:03 pm

Words that start with the letter h don’t always act like it. Consider “herb,” when it means “an aromatic plant used for seasoning in cooking.” Americans dump the h, whereas many Brits pronounce it. So we say “an ’erb,” but an Englishman says “a herb.” A different sort of h-confusion happens when self-important speakers and …

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