Category: Prefixes and Suffixes

Expressing Possession of Gerunds

Posted on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, at 11:00 pm

A gerund is the present participle (-ing) form of a verb functioning as a noun in a sentence. Example: He responded by laughing. (The gerund "laughing" is the noun object of the preposition "by.") A gerund phrase is a gerund plus another element such as an adverb, an adjective, or a noun. Example: Saving money …

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A Midsummer’s Musing on Miscellany

Posted on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, at 11:00 pm

Our regular readers might note that our study of American English periodically includes smaller but still noteworthy items we collect from research and reader correspondence. It's been several months since our last musings on miscellany, so we thought we'd return for more as we approach midsummer 2020. (To review miscellany from the past two years, …

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Adjectives and Adverbs: Forms for Comparison

Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at 11:00 pm

A common error in using adjectives and adverbs arises from using the wrong form for comparison. Incorrect:  She is the poorest of the two women. Correct: She is poor. (positive form) She is the poorer of the two women. (comparative form/two items) She is the poorest of them all. (superlative form/more than two) Many one- …

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Detaining the Double Negative

Posted on Tuesday, March 19, 2019, at 11:00 pm

We recently reviewed how negative constructions both serve English expression and muddy it more than positive constructions will. Another aspect of English negation that deserves a closer look is the double negative. To convey something is incorrect or untrue, English offers words such as no, not, nothing, barely, scarcely, and hardly, as well as terms with cancelling prefixes such as improbable and …

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Adjectives and Adverbs: Another Look at -ly

Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Those who study English grammar will eventually review the adverbial ending -ly. GrammarBook last wrote about Adjectives and Adverbs: When to use -ly in October 2007; the post has remained on our website since then to offer guidance on using the suffix. More than eleven years later, however, we—and you too, perhaps—still often encounter misuse of the ending. For …

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