Can vs. May

Posted on Saturday, February 24, 2007, at 12:07 am

Although, traditionally, can has meant “to be able” and may has meant “to be permitted” or to express possibility, both can and may are commonly used interchangeably in respect to permission. Example: He can hold his breath for 30 seconds. Meaning: He is able to hold his breath for 30 seconds. Example: He may hold …

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What Is a Gerund and Why Care?

Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007, at 6:00 pm

What is a gerund and why do you need to know? Maybe it would be better to answer the second part of the question first so that you have some motivation to identify gerunds. If you are able to pick the gerund(s) out in your sentence, you will avoid a grammar gaffe that often goes …

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Quotations Within Quotations

Posted on Friday, January 26, 2007, at 1:18 am

Almost all of us have found ourselves confused with double and single quotation marks. When do we use single quotation marks? Where does the punctuation go with single quotation marks? With just a few rules and examples, you will feel surer about your decisions. Rule: Use single quotation marks inside double quotation marks when you …

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Capitalization of Job Titles

Posted on Thursday, January 25, 2007, at 12:14 am

With capitalization of job titles, there are rules and then there is the “rule.” The rules are based on some precedent while the “rule” is based on ego. Let’s go over the rules that have precedent first. Rule: Capitalize job titles immediately preceding the name when used as part of the name. Example: We asked …

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Continual vs. Continuous

Posted on Thursday, January 25, 2007, at 12:05 am

Continual means repeated but with breaks in between; chronic. Example: The continual problem of our car not starting forced us to sell it. Continuous means without interruption in an unbroken stream of time or space. Example: The continuous dripping of the faucet drove me crazy.

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