Grammar Rules: Ending a Sentence with a Preposition

ending a sentence with a preposition

Is ending a sentence with a preposition ever acceptable?

A longstanding grammar myth  says we’re not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition. For years, this myth has persisted, tying writers up in knots and making their heads spin around sentences that simply must end with a preposition.

For example: Which store are you going to?

Folks who were taught (and are now attached to the idea) that one should never end a sentence with a preposition will argue that the proper way to write the sentence is as follows: To which store are you going?

But nobody talks that way. Read More

Punctuation Marks: Ellipsis

punctuation marks ellipses

Punctuation marks: the ellipses…

You see it everywhere, but most people don’t know what it’s called or how to use it properly.

In fact, it’s often referred to as “dot, dot, dot” even though it does have a name. This punctuation mark is the ellipsis.

It is a series or row of three periods, which is usually used to indicate an omission. It may also be used to indicate faltering or interrupted speech or a pause.

Punctuation Marks 

Some punctuation marks are clear-cut while others cause a lot of confusion. Most of us mastered periods and question marks back in elementary school. Commas, semicolons, and ellipses aren’t as easy to master. As a result, many punctuation marks are frequently misused.  Read More

Homophones: Compliment vs. Complement

compliment vs complement

Homophones: compliment vs. complement.

Homophones are words that sound alike but have different meanings. Sometimes, they’re also spelled differently: compliment vs. complement.

Since homophones sound the same, they are often misspelled. Sometimes they’re misspelled because the writer doesn’t know there are two different spellings. In other cases, misspelled homophones are the result of typing too fast or failing to proofread carefully.

Spell check will not catch these typos because the spelling is legitimate, even if it’s for a word with a different meaning.

To make it easier to remember which spelling goes with which meaning, we can use mnemonic devices, which are memory tricks. Today, we’re going to learn how to remember the difference between the homophones compliment and complement. Read More

Grammar Rules: Further vs. Farther

further vs farther

Further vs. farther: Is it further away or farther away?

Believe it or not, the words further and farther have different meanings, although people tend to use them interchangeably.

And it’s no surprise, because these two words look alike, sound alike, and the difference in meaning is subtle. Plus there are a few circumstances when they are legitimately interchangeable.

Let’s solve the further vs. farther mystery once and for all. Read More

Punctuation Marks: The Colon

the colon

Punctuation marks: the colon.

The colon is one of the most clearly-defined punctuation marks. It occasionally acts as a stand-in for a comma or period (though when one of these other punctuation marks will do, the colon is unnecessary).

Most commonly, the colon functions as an introductory punctuation mark, notifying the reader that the forthcoming information supports, explains, or elaborates upon what has been said prior to the colon.

These punctuation marks are common in math and science as well as technical documentation. In creative writing, we don’t see a lot of colons unless we’re working on a script. Colons are most often seen in text where a list is being introduced.

The Chicago Manual of Style provides a succinct definition for the colon: Read More

Homophones: Affect vs. Effect

affect vs effect

Homophones sound alike: affect vs. effect.

Homophones can be confusing. Luckily, there’s an easy way to remember affect vs. effect.

I see it all the time: affect and effect mixed up as if they were completely interchangeable.

But they’re not.

These two homophones may sound exactly alike, but they don’t even belong to the same parts of speech!

If you’ve ever written one of these words and scrunched up your eyebrows wondering whether to spell it with an a or an e, then this grammar lesson is for you! Read More

Ten Grammar Rules Every Writer Should Know

grammar rules

Some of the most overlooked grammar rules and best writing practices.

The more experience I gain as a writer, the more I’m convinced that writing is one of the most difficult skills to master.

It’s not enough to tell a great story, share an original idea, or create an intriguing poem; writers are also obligated to pay diligence to the craft. While the content (or message) of our writing is paramount, the way we use language can be just as critical. Read More

Punctuation Marks: Commas and Clauses

commas and clauses

Commas and clauses.

There’s a fine art to using commas. Today we’ll look at how commas work with clauses — both dependent clauses and independent clauses. And don’t worry if you’re not sure which clause is which. Everything will be explained.

Independent Clauses and Commas

An independent clause can stand alone as a sentence: I watch movies.

Two independent clauses can be joined with a conjunction: I watch movies and I watch television.

A comma can be placed before the conjunction: I watch movies, and I watch television.

So, should you use commas before conjunctions that connect two independent clauses? Read More

Homophones: Accept vs. Except

accept vs except

Homophones: accept vs except.

The English language is fraught with sound-alike words that look nothing alike on the page (or screen). These homophones have given many writers headaches as they agonize over word choice while composing poems, articles, essays, and stories.

Accept vs. except is one such pair of words. Though not among the most commonly confused homophones, these two words do occasionally find themselves getting mixed up and used incorrectly.

Here’s a quick way to remember the difference between accept vs. except. Read More

Homophones: They’re, There, and Their

homophones

Homophones: they’re, there, and their.

Homophones are words that sound exactly alike when pronounced out loud but have completely different meanings. They’re such troublemakers. Homophones confuse kids, slip past spell check, and pop up all over the place as typos and misspellings.

To make things worse, many homophones have different spellings, which means spell check ignores them, since alternative spellings are correct.

These little devils of the English language give readers headaches and copy editors nightmares, so it’s up to us as writers to learn how to use homophones correctly. Read More