Striking the Surplus from Tautologies (Follow-Up 1)

Posted on Tuesday, August 8, 2017, at 11:26 pm

A newsletter article in late April addressed the matter of the tautology (also known as a pleonasm), the “needless repetition of an idea, statement, or word.” We provided several such examples of overweight phrases and suggested how to trim them back into shape. Several readers responded in defense of certain phrases, sharing that what seemed to be a modifier repeating …

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Putting Out the Patrol for Made-Up Words

Posted on Tuesday, August 1, 2017, at 2:15 pm

Estimates of English’s total word count vary, but linguists agree the number ranks near the top of the world’s vocabularies. A May GrammarBook newsletter article cited English as having as many as 300,000 distinctly usable words. With so many residents in a vernacular, impostors posing as real words are bound to slip in. They start as mistakes …

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Stubborn Stinkaroos

Posted on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, at 1:01 pm

Some would say that the 2012 election year’s political dialogue divided the country into the obscenely ultra-rich one percent and the ninety-nine percent who comprise the poor, the shrinking middle class and the, I guess you could say, tastefully affluent. Compare that with the literary one-percenters, a mulish minority of nitpickers who believe “proper” speaking and …

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Worn-Out Words and Phrases: 2017 (Follow-up)

Posted on Thursday, July 20, 2017, at 12:15 pm

We enjoy helping you reinforce the way you express yourself with precise grammar and composition. We appreciate just as much when you join meaningful discussions about written language. Our recent GrammarBook article Worn-Out Words and Phrases inspired some great feedback about whether certain terms have outlived their welcome. After reading and considering your thoughtful responses, we determined …

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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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