Category: Adjectives and Adverbs

Quality, Service, Value, Needs:
Top Dogs on Our Writing Most-Wanted List

Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, at 11:00 pm

We began our campaign against worn-out words and phrases in 2017 with three posts on what to weed from our writing (June, July, December). We hope in 2018 you’ve been on guard against those verbal saboteurs that would sneak in to weaken your prose. This year we will also start to call out offenders that …

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Are We Hyphenating Well?

Posted on Tuesday, April 3, 2018, at 11:00 pm

The proper use of good and well in writing is a common grammatical topic; we last addressed it in September 2017. For many, the distinction can be uncertain. An equally slippery subject is whether to hyphenate well when it helps describe a noun. For example, do we write a well-dressed man or a well dressed …

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Grasping the Grammatical Expletive

Posted on Wednesday, February 7, 2018, at 8:45 am

There is/are…, It is…: We often use these constructions in communicating, perhaps without being aware they have a grammatical classification, the expletive. Expletives introduce clauses and delay sentence subjects. Unlike nouns and verbs, which have well-defined roles in expression, expletives do not add to sense or meaning; rather, they let us shift emphasis in sentences …

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Why a Y Tells a Lie

Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2018, at 8:30 am

A few years ago, there was an ad campaign for an ice cream bar that was now supposedly better than ever because of its “25 percent thicker chocolatey shell.” Note the misdirection, worthy of a master magician: a thicker shell, yes! We all love chocolate, and now we’re going to get more of it—except, hey, …

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Worn-Out Words and Phrases: Resolving to Keep Writing Fresh in 2018

Posted on Wednesday, December 20, 2017, at 9:33 am

A new year once again draws near. For us grammarians and careful writers, the last 12 months have been another insightful and adventurous journey through the rules, styles, and techniques that help form concise and expressive American English. Because each new year represents fresh resolve and beginnings, we thought we’d wrap up 2017 with new …

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