On to vs. Onto

Posted on Wednesday, January 6, 2010, at 8:53 am

Rule 1: In general, use onto as one word to mean "on top of," "to a position on," "upon." Examples: He climbed onto the roof. Let’s step onto the dance floor. Rule 2: Use onto when you mean "fully aware of," "informed about." Examples: I'm onto your scheme. We canceled Julia's surprise party when we …

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Advice vs. Advise

Posted on Thursday, December 17, 2009, at 10:07 am

The word advice is a noun. It means recommendation. Example: My sister gave me great advice about applying to colleges. The word advise is a verb. It means "to give advice," "to inform," "to recommend." Example: Can you advise me about colleges that offer bioengineering degrees?   Pop Quiz The principal gave the graduating seniors …

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The Apostrophe with Numbers, Letters, and Abbreviations

Posted on Monday, November 9, 2009, at 10:28 am

Rule 1: The plurals for capital letters and numbers above nine do not require apostrophes, but some use them anyway. Examples: She learned her ABCs. (some writers prefer ABC's) the 1990s (some writers prefer 1990's) Rule 2: For clarity, most writers use apostrophes with single capital letters and single-digit numbers. Examples: Please dot your I’s. …

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Apostrophes with Names Ending in y

Posted on Thursday, October 22, 2009, at 10:01 am

Question: How do you form the plural of a proper noun that ends in y like Murphy? Should you change the name to Murphies as in I visited the Murphies yesterday? Answer: No. Never change the spelling of a name to show the plural form. Example: I visited the Murphys yesterday. Question: How do you …

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Semicolons

Posted on Tuesday, September 29, 2009, at 9:56 am

Do you get confused about the proper way to use a semicolon? Semicolons do not represent a full stop at the end of a sentence, as periods do; rather, they're like the "yellow light" of punctuation marks: they signal a pause between one sentence and the next. You slow down, then stop at the end …

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