punctuation marks exclamation mark

Punctuation Marks: The Exclamation Mark

It’s a relatively simple punctuation mark — a bold one without a lot of confusing rules — yet it’s still grossly overused. It gives our sentences pizzazz. It emphasizes dialogue when one character shouts or snaps at another. And it gives copy editors headaches. The exclamation mark sure packs a punch.

homophones hear here

Homophones: Hear, Here

When I see professional signs or business documents with words spelled incorrectly, it’s like someone’s dragging nails down a chalkboard, which is something I don’t want to hear. But I try not to get too riled up. I know that spelling isn’t easy for everyone. However, I do believe that with a little effort, anyone…Read More

grammar rules ending a sentence with a preposition

Grammar Rules: Ending a Sentence with a Preposition

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…Read More

punctuation marks ellipses

Punctuation Marks: Ellipsis

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…Read More

further vs farther

Grammar Rules: Further vs. Farther

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…Read More

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…Read More

homophones affect vs effect

Homophones: 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…Read More

grammar rules

Ten Grammar Rules Every Writer Should Know

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)…Read More

commas and clauses

Punctuation Marks: 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…Read More

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…Read More

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