Punctuating Compounds That Precede

Posted on Tuesday, August 21, 2018, at 11:00 pm

It's enough to drive even the most exacting writers, proofers, and editors a little batty sometimes: More than one descriptive word precedes a noun, forming what we call a compound modifier. Do we need to hyphenate the words, or are they well enough left alone? What if we have two words modifying another word and all three …

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More Mangled Language and Pompous Usages to Avoid

Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2018, at 11:00 pm

This column is mostly concerned about the written word, but even so, pronunciation will inevitably enter the picture from time to time. The expressions chomping at the bit and stomping ground are both corruptions of the original champing and stamping. People find this incredible. But, for instance, consult the 1961 cult-favorite western film One-Eyed Jacks, …

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In the Zone: It’s About Time

Posted on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, at 11:00 pm

We’re all aware of how vital marked and measured time is to guiding and structuring our days. How then do we treat it in precise and careful writing? We offered some guidelines in our updated April 2017 article Writing Dates and Times. We’ll expand on those here by delving deeper into the most recent editions of …

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Don’t End a Sentence with a Preposition—Where Did This Myth Come From?

Posted on Tuesday, July 31, 2018, at 11:00 pm

We’ve written a newsletter article about it (Problems with Prepositions), and in Rule 1 of Prepositions we state, “One of the undying myths of English grammar is that you may not end a sentence with a preposition.” Yet, we still receive admonitions from well-meaning readers who think we've made an error when ending a sentence with a …

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So Tell Me—When Is It Correct to Use So

Posted on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, at 11:00 pm

So: It’s among the shortest words in English, and use of it abounds. So, when are we going to meet up? That movie was so good. I so much want to be there. He’s not feeling well, so he probably won’t go to the meeting. The word has become a versatile agent for our language …

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