Grammar

  1. getty

    Did You Just Interrupt . . . My 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 …

  2. em dash

    Getting To Know The Em Dash

    What is an em dash? 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 (—) sets off a word or clause and adds emphasis. Or, it can signal an interruption (see our article on interrupting sentences for more on that!) or amplification (“expanding”) of an idea. It’s also …

  3. miss mrs ms

    What Are Mr. And Mrs. Short For?

    What are Mr. and Mrs. short for? History and etiquette tell us that Mister and Missus, known by the contractions Mr. and Mrs., are the proper ways to address men and women. Beneath the surface of these everyday honorifics lies a linguistic glitch though. And, it has created social havoc since “Mrs.” entered mainstream English in the 17th century. Where did Mister and Missus come …

  4. what is a conjunction

    Making Connections With Conjunctions

    What is a conjunction? A conjunction is a connecting word used to join words, phrases, sentences, and clauses. Conjunctions are often single words (and, but, because). In some cases, they can also be phrases (in any case). The two main types of conjunctions are subordinating and coordinating. There are also correlative conjunctions. What is a subordinating conjunction? A subordinating conjunction connects a dependent clause to an independent …

  5. What’s The Deal With Piqued, Peeked, And Peaked?

    When do you use piqued? The word set we’re examining today can send writers into a spiral of uncertainty when it comes to word choice, particularly in the context of one expression: piqued my interest, peaked my interest, or peeked my interest? The answer is piqued—and here’s why. Pique means “to excite (interest, curiosity, etc.),” as in “The suspenseful movie trailer piqued my curiosity.” The term also …

  6. What’s The Difference Between “i.e.” And “e.g.”?

    What’s the difference between i.e. and e.g.? They may be small, but their power to befuddle writers and speakers of the English language is mighty. The term i.e. is a shortening of the Latin expression id est, which translates to “that is.” It is used to introduce a rephrasing or elaboration on something that has already been stated. The term e.g. is an abbreviation of …

  7. Warranty Vs. Guarantee

    What’s the difference between warranty and guarantee? A warranty is “a promise or guarantee given.” A warranty is usually a written guarantee for a product, and it holds the maker of the product responsible to repair or replace a defective product or its parts. It is only used as a noun. So, what’s a guarantee? Basically, it’s the promise included in the formal (and legal) warranty. As a noun, guarantee is “an agreement assuming responsibility to …

  8. quotation marks rules

    How To Use Quotation Marks

    What are quotation marks? Quotation marks (” “) are used for direct quotations. A quotation begins and ends with quotation marks: “I am getting worried,” she said, “that he has not called.” This signifies that someone actually said these words. How else are quotation marks used? 1. Quotations marks can be used around expressions to offset (or call them out) from the other text. For example: …

  9. The Difference Between “A While” and “Awhile”

    What are the difference between a while and awhile? Few word pairs capture the idiosyncrasies (“peculiar characteristics”) of the English language like a while and awhile do. Both of these terms are expressions of time, but one is written with a space while the other is one word. These two terms represent different parts of speech. The two-word expression a while is a noun phrase, consisting of the article a and …

  10. When to Use a Comma

    Let’s Pause And Talk About Commas

    What is a comma? You’ve probably heard a lot of things about the comma and may have questions about when to use a comma. A comma (,) signifies a short pause in a sentence. It can also divide clauses (“parts of a sentence”) or items in a list. It is often used to create division or to improve the clarity of a sentence. When to use a comma …