Grammar

  1. 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 …

  2. 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 …

  3. everyday vs every day

    Everyday Vs. Every Day

    What’s the difference between everyday and every day? Do you eat breakfast every day or everyday? The word everyday describes things that are commonplace or ordinary, and it also answers the question “what kind?” For example, in the sentence “Wear your everyday clothes,” the word everyday tells you what kind of clothing to wear. The phrase every day indicates that something happens each day. It also answers the question “when?” …

  4. getty

    ‘Tis the Season To Learn More About ‘Tis

    What does ‘tis mean? Well, it’s an old—very old—contraction of it is. The apostrophe replaces the i in the word it to create ’tis . . . not quite how we create contractions today. According to Google’s Ngram Viewer, the contraction ’tis was a fan favorite in the early 1700s. At this time, it was likely used more often than it’s.   Why is ’tis used? ‘Tis is also known as a proclitic. …

  5. Whose Vs. Who’s

    What do who’s and whose mean? Apostrophe or no apostrophe? That may be the real question. And, to begin to answer these questions, 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 …

  6. Their, There, and They’re

    Why do their, there, and they’re sound the same? 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 (sound) but differ in meaning and derivation (origin). Even though they sound the same, they aren’t spelled the same . . . cue the noticeable errors! Let’s explore the correct usages of the three. How do you …

  7. Words That Can Ruin Your Sentence

  8. Words Moving From There to Here

  9. 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 …

  10. 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 …