Grammar

  1. 12 Most Common Types of Adjectives

    Have you ever thought about where we’d be without adjectives?  Well, for one, we’d be left wondering how everyone is doing today. We wouldn’t be able to answer, “I’m fine.” We wouldn’t be able to specify, “I’d like the chocolate ice cream.” (That’s a seriously scary thought.) And we wouldn’t be able to clarify, “That’s my book!” (Get your paws off of it!) What is …

  2. Is It “I Wish I Were” Or “I Wish I Was”?

    Picture it. You’re texting your buddy, and you type out “I wish I were.” But there’s that pesky autocorrect, trying to change it to “I wish I was.” Is autocorrect ducking with you, or are you about to commit a grammar faux pas? First, a little grammar lesson … Were and was are both past tense versions of the verb to be. But were is …

  3. Why Capitalizing “Native American” Matters

    These days, social media is glut with excited folks who are sending off their cheek swabs to find out just what’s hiding in their DNA. Will they find out they had an ancestor on the Mayflower? Or, maybe there was a Native American who played a role in their genes along the way. That would make them Native American too, right? Well, the definition of …

  4. 10 Types Of Pronouns And How To Use Them

    We talk a lot about pronouns today, especially she/hers, he/him, and of course the age-old palaver over the singular they. But, if you’re really going to dig into your pronouns, shouldn’t you know all the types that are out there? We’re here to help. Certain types of pronouns closely relate to one another, and many words can function as multiple different types of pronouns, depending …

  5. When To Use “A” vs. When To Use “An”

    There are all sorts of grammar rules out there. But, one of the most basic is determining when you should use the very first letter of the alphabet. Do you know when to use a vs. when you should use an? Let’s break this one down! A vs. an The rule is: Use an before a word beginning with a vowel sound (not letter). It doesn’t matter how the …

  6. Understanding Title Case: Which Words To Capitalize In A Title

    Titles can be confusing—either due to length (we’re looking at you, Baz Luhrmann’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet), punctuation (Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood), or content (sigh, 2002’s Mr. Mom). But, titles can also stump readers and writers across the board due to title case—conventions of which words in a sentence start with capital letters. Have no fear: We’ll walk you through the steps, one …

  7. What Is A Hyphen And How To Use It?

    The hyphen, along with its cousins the en and em dash, may be the most misunderstood punctuation mark in English. One reason that hyphenation is so complex: it changes over time. A tour through the Google nGram view of many common words reveals their hyphenated pasts: co-operate became cooperate, to morrow became to-morrow and then tomorrow, and good-bye became goodbye (though both are still acceptable). …

  8. Should You Avoid Using Double Negatives?

    What’s a double negative? A double negative is when two negative words or constructions are used within a single clause. Sentences with double negatives are not grammatically correct . . . and they’re confusing. That’s because double negatives cancel each other out and make a positive. So, when you use a double negative it ends up being the exact opposite of what you mean. You’ll …

  9. What Is An “Interrupter”? How Do I Use Them In A Sentence?

    What’s an interrupter? Interrupters—like this little guy right here—are squeezing into more and more contemporary writing. They’re often the goofy/sarcastic “wink-wink-nudge-nudge” asides writers play with in nonacademic writing and online content. Also called insertions, interrupting phrases, or parenthetical expressions, interrupters are words, phrases, or clauses that break the flow of writing—because if the author feels like it, why not?—to offer additional, can’t-be-held-back, or spur-of-the-moment thoughts …

  10. What Is An Em Dash And How Do You Use It?

    The em dash is an incredibly versatile punctuation mark that can be used instead of parentheses, commas, colons, or quotation marks in a sentence. The em dash has a fan club of sorts, as writers love to debate its many uses (and possible overuses). Noting that people have proclaimed their love of this punctuation mark with em dash tattoos, the New York Times called it …