Using Commas, Semicolons, and Colons Within Sentences

Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, at 8:30 pm

Two weeks ago we revisited the case of the lawsuit brought by a group of Maine dairy truck drivers that centered on the proper use of commas. Interestingly, the dispute was "resolved" through the use of semicolons (and cash). In light of that legal case, we thought it would be useful today to review the …

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Tackling More Tricky Word Choices: Another Look at Number Is and Number Are

Posted on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, at 8:30 am

Recently we’ve been reviewing word choices with nuances worthy of noting. Understanding subtleties of meaning and usage makes the instruments in our toolboxes even sharper for precise and eloquent writing. Today we’ll look at another English-usage item that can sometimes be tricky even for experienced communicators. When using the word number as a collective noun for countable …

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Oxford Comma Dispute Settled

Posted on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, at 8:30 am

Eleven months ago, in our newsletter of March 29, 2017, we passed along to you the newspaper article "Lack of Comma Costs Company Millions in Dispute." Our Rule 1 of Commas discusses the value of the Oxford comma in a series of three or more items. Our rule allows writers to exercise discretion as to whether to omit …

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Tackling More Tricky Word Choices:
As, Because, and Since

Posted on Wednesday, February 21, 2018, at 8:30 am

American English is a rich, expressive language. At the same time, it includes words that sometimes appear to be alike but have slight distinctions. Without recognizing those subtleties, we might use one word when we mean another. As, because, and since are three conjunctions that introduce subordinate clauses (those that cannot stand alone in sentences) …

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You Lost Me After “Feb”

Posted on Wednesday, February 14, 2018, at 8:30 am

In honor of both our present month as well as the birthday of our late writer Tom Stern, today we repeat his classic pronunciation article first published on February 3, 2016.   Feb-yoo-ary. Febber-ary. Feb-wary. Can’t anyone around here say “feb-roo-ary”? It’s time to revisit dissimilation, the labored linguistic theory that purports to explain why so …

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