You Could Look it Up

Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007, at 2:06 pm

I hope you enjoy this. Thanks to Peter H. for sending it. There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that word is up. It's easy to understand up, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, …

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What Does vs. What Do

Posted on Friday, March 2, 2007, at 3:10 pm

Should we say, "What does Gloria and I have in common?" or "What do Gloria and I have in common?" If you turn the question around to place the subjects first, you would say, "Gloria and I does/do have what in common." Gloria and I are the subjects so we need a plural verb. Which …

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Some vs. Any

Posted on Saturday, February 24, 2007, at 8:23 pm

Any and some can be synonymous; that is, they may have the same meaning. Both may be used in affirmative or negative questions: Examples: Will you have any? Will you have some? Won't you have any? Won't you have some? Generally, it is better to use some, not any, for affirmative statements and answers. Correct: …

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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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