Sep 30 2010
Apr 19 2010
There is a huge, dumb monster looming all over the published world.
It’s the ITS MONSTER.
Its greatest failure is the proper use of “its” and “it’s”.
The apostrophe is its weapon of choice. It’s the tiny character that it sticks in between the “t” and the “s”, and it almost never gets it right. The ITS MONSTER can be killed. It’s got to be killed. The way to do this is to remember when the apostrophe is included, and when it’s not.
It’s not really that hard:
If the “it” you’re talking about possesses something, then it’s “its.”
If the “it” you’re talking about is, or has done something, then it’s “it’s.”
The apostrophe has been used only to form a contraction. The possessive apostrophe, as in “John’s car or Mary’s dress,” is never used with “its.” Ever. Never ever. NEVER.
(Well, okay, maybe if you wanted to refer to the word “its.” In that case, something that belonged to “its” could be its’, but forget that; pay no attention to that. You would never do that.)
Here’s a link to a good English site which can help with many other commonly misspelled and misused English words:
Dec 08 2008
Grammar Girl is arguably one of the greatest champions of literacy today! Whenever you’re wondering if there should be an apostrophe somewhere in your writing, or if the phrase, “…begs the question…” is being used properly, she’s there to clear it all up for you. She’s so accessible! She’s timely, poignant, and memorable.
Today’s daily tip concerns punctuation for names that end in “s,” “z,” and “y.”
This is stuff you need to know when you’re addressing your Christmas greeting cards. Here’s a snippet form today’s lesson:
Greeting Card Grammar: The Smiths, the Alvarezes, and the Kennedys
You’re addressing envelopes or signing a card and suddenly you realize you don’t know how to make a family name that ends in “s,” “z,” or “y” plural. How do you address a family of people with the last name “Jones,” “Alvarez,” or “Kennedy”?
Add “es” to make names that end in “s” and “z” plural:
The Joneses invite you to dinner.
Season’s greetings from the Alvarezes.
Add “s” to make names that end in “y” plural:
The Kennedys throw a great holiday party.
Never use an apostrophe to make a name plural! Apostrophes are for possessives.
Click the image above for Today’s Free Grammar Girl Book Chapter
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A complete episode guide can be found here, at Grammar Girl complete episode guide.
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Dec 07 2008
Every complete sentence has a subject and a verb. There may be many additional elements, such as objects and modifiers, but the subject and the verb are always there.
The subject of a sentence is a noun, a person, place, thing, idea, or feeling. The subject often, but not always, comes at the beginning of the sentence. The subject can be more than one noun.
The subject is always performing an action, doing something, being something, or feeling something.
- Harry and Sally got married.
- Love triumphs.
- Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
Verbs are action words. Run and jump are verbs. Some actions are more subtle. Stay and wait are verbs. Even to be is a verb. Every sentence has at least one verb. There can be more than one.
A sentence can consist of nothing but a subject and a verb.
- I run.
- You waited.
Sometimes, two verbs together describe one action.
- We were jogging.
- You are reading.
If you are giving a command, you can even leave out the subject. The following examples are complete sentences. The subject is "you." The subject is implied.
A sentence can have more than one noun. While a subject performs an action, an object is a noun that has action performed on it. The object usually comes after the verb.
The following examples have a subject, then a verb, then an object.
- I ate dinner.
- Dave wrote a letter.
- The trumpet player played jazz.
Another very common sentence element is modifiers. Modifiers use adjectives or adverbs to describe, define, limit, or modify nouns or verbs. A modifier can be a single word or a phrase.
- I ate dinner in the dark.
- Dave almost wrote a letter to his mother.
- The fat trumpet player played slow jazz.
This post belongs to the WhiteSmoke Blog - the original article can be viewed here - Understanding Subjects, Verbs, Objects, and Modifiers
Dec 04 2008
Traditional English grammar divides words into eight parts of speech: verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections. There are a few more terms also often used to define words, such as articles and gerunds.
Verbs describe actions (eat, dance) or states of being (am, remain). Every sentence contains at least one verb.
A noun is a person, place, thing, idea, or feeling. Every sentence has a subject, which is a noun.
Pronouns replace nouns in a sentence to avoid repetition. Examples include she, it, and them. Pronouns can be possessive (mine, ours) or interrogative (who, what).
Adjectives describe or modify nouns. Big, old, hungry, blue, and vague are adjectives. Adjectives can be possessive (my cat), demonstrative (that cat), interrogative (which cat?), or indefinite (some cats).
Adverbs modify or describe verbs (he ran quickly), adjectives (the sun was very bright), or other adverbs (he ran fairly quickly).
Prepositions link nouns, pronouns, and phrases to the rest of the sentence. The preposition usually indicates a relationship in time (I swept the stairs before lunch), space (my socks are under the bed), or logic (there is no business like show business).
Conjunctions link words (I like jam and bread), phrases (do you want to wash the dishes or take out the garbage), and clauses (dinner is ready, so we should go in).
Interjections are words or short phrases added to a sentence to convey emotion. They are often followed by an exclamation mark. Interjections are informal.
Wow! This is great!
Hey, come on.
Articles introduce nouns. Common articles are the, a, and an.
A gerund is a verb form that functions as a noun. Gerunds always end in “ing,” although not every verb ending in “ing” is a gerund. The verb is a gerund if it is acting as a noun.
I am running - regular verb
Running is good for you - gerund
This post belongs to the WhiteSmoke Blog - the original article can be viewed here - So What Is A Gerund Anyway? Understanding the Parts Of Speech
Dec 02 2008
ClausesA clause contains a subject and a verb. Every complete sentence contains at least one independent clause. Here are some examples of simple sentences, each one consisting of an independent clause:
Susan is hungry.
I live in the city.
In the final example, the subject is "you," and it is implied. "Go away" is a complete sentence, even though the subject does not appear.
Subordinate ClausesA subordinate clause cannot stand on its own. A subordinate clause usually starts with a subordinating conjunction. If the subordinating conjunction is removed, the subordinate clause becomes an independent clause.
Here are some examples of subordinate clauses:
When he needs exercise.
Because prices are very high.
Before she eats breakfast.
All of the above examples are sentence fragments. To make the sentences complete, either connect the subordinate clause to an independent clause, or remove the subordinating conjunction.
Joe runs when he needs exercise.
Before she eats breakfast, Susan is hungry.
Prices are very high.
Run-on SentencesA run-on sentence contains more than one independent clause. The following examples are run-on sentences:
I am hungry, you are hungry.
You wanted to go to the store, we went to the store.
Joe is taller than Susan, Susan is taller than Kate.
These examples are also comma splices. Each example contains two independent clauses connected by a comma.
Often a run-on sentence can be fixed by making one clause subordinate. If that doesn't work, break the run-on sentence into two sentences.
I am hungry. You are hungry.
We went to the store because you wanted to go to the store.
Coordinating ConjunctionsIt is possible to have two independent clauses in one sentence. They must be connected by a coordinating conjunction. The most common coordinating conjunctions are and, but, or, and so. Nor, for, and yet can also be used.
The coordinating conjunction almost always goes between the two clauses.
I am hungry, and you are hungry.
You wanted to go to the store, so we went to the store.
Joe is taller than Susan, but Susan is taller than Kate.
This post belongs to the WhiteSmoke Blog - the original article can be viewed here - How to Write a Complete Sentence: Sentence Fragments, Run-On Sentences, and Comma Splices
Nov 26 2008
There are mistakes that people commit quite frequently when speaking or writing in English, three of which are listed here. Watch out for these three, and you are on your way to better English grammar.
1.Use of the Dangling Participle
This is a common mistake. The dangling participle or misplaced modifier can change the meaning of a sentence entirely. Check out these examples:
A: After falling from the tree, my uncle picked up the apple.
B: My uncle picked up the apple after it fell from the tree.
In example A, the dangling participle makes it seem as if the uncle fell from the tree. Example B shows the proper position of the modifier, which describes that the apple fell from the tree.
2.Confused Use of Homophones
Homophones are words that sound alike but are spelled and used differently. Examples of commonly misused homophones are the words “its” and “it’s”. See the following examples:
A: I put the laptop back in it’s case.
B: I put the laptop back in its case.
Example A uses “it’s”, the contracted form of “it is”. In effect it says, “I put the laptop back in [it is] case”, which is totally wrong. Dropping the apostrophe makes the sentence correct, as in example B.
3.Using a Non-Parallel Sentence Structure When Giving Lists
A: She likes taking long walks, baking cakes, and books.
B: She likes taking long walks, baking cakes, and reading books.
Use parallel sentence structure when you are enumerating something. Example A shows a non-parallel sentence structure. Example B shows a correct parallel sentence structure wherein all the items in the list begin in the ‘-ing’ form: taking, baking, reading.
Do not be overwhelmed by all the rules you have to remember. One thing you can do to improve your grammar is to get WhiteSmoke's software for English writing. Writing software will show you the basic steps towards perfect English grammar. In addition, English writing software is easy to use. So go get a software program, avoid these three common mistakes, and you are on your way to having perfect English grammar.
This post belongs to the WhiteSmoke Blog - the original article can be viewed here - 3 No-Nos in English Grammar
Nov 26 2008
The apostrophe is perhaps one of the most misused punctuation marks in the English language. If you are not sure how this punctuation mark should be used, then check out these three tips on how to use apostrophe properly.
1. Indicating the Possessive Form of Nouns
The apostrophe is used when writing the possessive form of nouns. Examples of these are: Mary’s house, Ray’s painting, and Agnes’ garden. The apostrophe in these examples indicates ownership; the house belongs to Mary, the painting to Ray, and the garden to Agnes.
2. In Place of Omitted Letters in Contractions
Contractions are words that have a letter or some letters omitted, oftentimes when in the act of combining two words together. Examples of these are: can’t, haven’t, it’s, who’s, and I’m. These contractions stand for: cannot, have not, it is, who is, and I am, respectively. Note that the apostrophes in these examples were placed where the omitted letters used to be.
3. When Not to Use an Apostrophe
The apostrophe is never to be used in possessive pronouns. Therefore, it is wrong to write possessive pronouns this way: their’s, her’s, it’s, your’s. The correct way of writing these pronouns is: theirs, hers, its, and yours, respectively.
Also, the apostrophe should not be used when writing plural nouns, such as in: market share’s, table’s and chair’s, book’s for sale. These should be correctly written as: market shares, tables and chairs, and books for sale, respectively.
You can remedy your apostrophe errors by consulting the WhiteSmoke online punctuation checker or the full desktop application, which features an English punctuation checker. Remember these three tips, apply them, and use a punctuation checker to polish your work, and you’ll be good to go.
This post belongs to the WhiteSmoke Blog - the original article can be viewed here - 3 Tips for Correct Use of the Apostrophe
Jul 27 2008
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Jun 17 2008
So what if I ponounciate it that way?
You know what I mean and that’s all that counts, right?
Are you judging me as a lesser person ‘cuz I ponounciate it that way?