This/That/These/Those: Demonstrative Adjectives and Pronouns

Posted on Tuesday, March 23, 2010, at 9:09 am

The demonstrative adjectives this/that/these/those, which may also be pronouns, tell us where an object is located and how many objects there are. This and that are used to point to one object. This points to something nearby, while that points to something "over there." Examples: This dog is mine. This is mine. That dog is …

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Hyphens with Common Prefixes

Posted on Tuesday, March 16, 2010, at 9:09 am

Should we use a hyphen with a common prefix such as non or un? For example, is it non-alcoholic beverages or nonalcoholic beverages? Generally, with common prefixes, you do not need to use a hyphen unless it would avoid possible confusion.  Therefore, most writers would write nonalcoholic beverages. Examples: uninviting uninterested noncompetitive preexisting (some writers …

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Writing Elegantly

Posted on Monday, March 1, 2010, at 9:12 am

Most of us know clumsy sentences when we hear or read them, but we don’t always know exactly why they are clumsy or possess the skills to fix them. An E-Newsletter reader heard the awkwardness of the following sentence but was puzzled by how to reword it. The network that this computer is able to …

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Unusual Plurals of Abbreviations

Posted on Tuesday, February 16, 2010, at 9:14 am

Thanks to Lawrence K., who responded to my tip on forming plurals of symbols by pointing out that the plurals of some abbreviations are formed in ways other than by adding an s. Example: pp. = pages Example: sp. = species (singular); spp. = species (plural) Example: cc., c.c., C.C., Cc, or cc = copy/copies …

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Pleaded vs. Pled and Enormity Defined

Posted on Friday, February 5, 2010, at 12:22 pm

Today I will answer a couple of questions I received from radio listeners when I was a guest. Question: Should you say "pleaded guilty" or "pled guilty"? Answer: Either one is considered correct. Question: Does "enormity" mean "something monstrous" or "something huge"? Answer: In formal writing, enormity has nothing to do with something's size. The …

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