Principal vs. Principle

Posted on Monday, April 21, 2008, at 9:06 pm

If you decide to take the free Grammar Mastery Quiz, you’ll eventually come to #40, which has turned out to be confusing for many. Question 40: The department's principal/principle concern is the safety of all employees. First, let’s figure out what part of speech the word is in the sentence above. Since it describes concern, …

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Pleaded vs. Pled

Posted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008, at 2:54 am

For the past tense of to plead, you may use either pleaded or pled. Example: He pleaded not guilty before his trial. Example: He pled not guilty before his trial. Note: In the strict legal sense, one cannot plead innocent. Word of the Week Avuncular: Like an uncle, especially in kindness or tolerance. Example: He …

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Irregular Plurals

Posted on Saturday, April 5, 2008, at 12:32 am

Many nouns in English have a plural form either with an s/es ending or without. For example, when is it correct to use youth vs. youths, fish vs. fishes, or hair vs. hairs? Use youths and hairs when countable. Example: Three youths were given awards for community service. If youth is being used collectively, do …

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Dangling Phrases and Clauses

Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2008, at 5:35 pm

When phrases or clauses are misplaced in a sentence, such that they don’t agree with the subject, sometimes funny or even embarrassing meanings and images will result. Danglers are difficult for us to spot when we write them because we can’t always see that what we have written is not what we meant to express. …

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Abbreviations vs. Acronyms vs. Initialisms

Posted on Monday, March 17, 2008, at 10:06 pm

Dictionaries don’t all agree on the definitions of these words and neither do style manuals. So we will attempt to shed more light on the distinctions. Abbreviations According to, an abbreviation is a shortened or contracted form of a word or phrase, used to represent the whole, as Dr. for Doctor, U.S. for United …

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