Grammar

  1. Whose vs. Who’s

    Apostrophe or no apostrophe, that is the question. Well, to begin to answer that question, whose is the possessive form of the pronoun who, while who’s is a contraction of the words who is or who has. However, many people still find whose and who’s particularly confusing because, in English, an apostrophe followed by an s usually indicates the possessive form of a word. (For example, a purse belonging to a woman is “the woman’s purse.”) Not the case …

  2. Their, There, and They’re

    The trio of their, there, and they’re can flummox writers of all levels. It’s confusing; they are homophones, meaning they have the same pronunciation but differ in meaning and derivation. Even though they sound the same, they aren’t spelled the same . . . and cue the noticeable errors! Let’s explore the correct usages of the three. Their is the possessive case of the pronoun …

  3. Words That Can Ruin Your Sentence

  4. Words Moving From There to Here

  5. How -Able Lets You Expand Your Descriptive Abilities

    -Able is a cool suffix that allows you to describe things in new and interesting ways. Adding -able to a word makes it into an adjective that indicates something or someone is capable of or worthy of something. For instance, if a doughnut is dunkable, that means it can be dipped into a cup of milk or coffee. Verbs With -Able You’ll most often see …

  6. Every English “Rule” Has An Exception: I Before E, Except, Well, A Lot of Things

    A lot of times you’ll come across articles about English grammar that are like “You can do X, but not Y, and if you do Z your writing will be bad and you should feel bad.” OK, ouch. On the one hand, yes, English does have a lot of helpful rules in place that have developed over hundreds of years. And yes, rules help standardize …

  7. USA: Noun or Adjective?

    USA is an abbreviation for the United States of America. US tends to be the more popular way to abbreviate United States. Both of these abbreviations can serve as either adjectives or nouns. However, some style guides prefer United States as the noun form and US as the adjective form. USA USA is a noun because United States of America is a noun. A noun …

  8. What’s the Word for More Than One Software?

    The word software is a mass noun because it can be used to refer to a mass (or nonspecific number) of computing programs or products. Mass nouns function as both singular and plural nouns. They can describe either one item, multiple items of the same type, or an entire category of items. Some examples include bread, rice, hair, garbage, and ice. It isn’t necessary to add …

  9. 3 Easy Tips for Writing Realistic Dialects

    Dialects are unique ways that people speak within a language. They may be distinguished by special grammar, words, sentence structure, and pronunciation. Dialects may emerge in languages due to differences among regions, classes, or ethnic backgrounds. Many writers use dialects to enhance realism in their stories, especially for characters in specific locations. However, it’s easy to overuse or misuse dialects if you aren’t careful. To …

  10. What Are You Doing, Action Verb?

    Action verbs are typically single words that describe what a person or thing in a sentence does (like run, write, yell, and think). So if it answers the question What is the subject doing? it’s the action verb. In the sentence “John paints the garage,” the subject is John. To find the action verb, ask yourself What is John doing? John paints, so the action …