Category: Verbs

No Shortcuts with Irregular Verbs

Posted on Tuesday, February 23, 2016, at 10:22 am

It isn’t just the disadvantaged or disaffected among us who struggle with irregular verbs. A political insider with his own long-running TV show keeps saying “has ran.” Fifty years ago a textbook called Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition said: “Irregular verbs … cause the greatest single problem in standard verb usage because there is no …

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Year-End Quiz

Posted on Tuesday, December 15, 2015, at 2:31 pm

To close out 2015 we have put together a comprehensive pop quiz based on the year’s GrammarBook.com grammar posts. The quiz comprises twenty-five sentences that may—or may not—need fixing. Think you can fix the ones that need help? You’ll find our answers directly below the quiz. Each answer includes, for your convenience, the title and …

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Things We Will Never Say

Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, at 10:49 am

There are certain words or phrases that seem to cast a spell over people. All at once some expression is all the rage, and there is no escaping it. It is hard to say anything positive about this particular manifestation of herd mentality but we’ll try: It’s better than a lynch mob. Have you noticed …

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Media Watch

Posted on Tuesday, November 3, 2015, at 10:51 pm

What better way to begin a Media Watch column than with headlines? Here are two recent ones that got our attention: • “Bacteria has sickened more than 100.” • “Foreclosure crisis makes taught thriller.” “Bacteria has sickened” is incorrect because has is singular and bacteria is the plural of bacterium. If the headline writer balked …

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Why Irregular Verbs Are Strong

Posted on Tuesday, October 6, 2015, at 11:05 am

When the authorities labeled certain verbs “irregular,” it was never intended as a putdown. Quite the opposite: another term for irregular verbs is “strong verbs.” In A Dictionary of Modern American Usage Bryan A. Garner explains: “Irregular verbs are sometimes called ‘strong’ verbs because they seem to form the past tense from their own resources, …

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