Grammar

  1. Why Is “Ain’t” Such A Controversial Word?

    What’s all the fuss over ain’t about? Is it “bad English”? Is it really a word? What does ain’t even stand for? Let’s break down this controversial—but very misunderstood—term. What does ain’t mean? Ain’t is a contraction that can mean am not, are not, and is not. It can also mean have not, has not, do not, does not, or did not. We ain’t joking: …

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    What Is A Collective Noun?

    A  collective noun refers to a type of noun that encompasses “a whole group as a single entity” as well as the members of that group. It is considered singular in form. For example, words like faculty, herd, and team are collective nouns—they’re singular words but represent a group. There are collective nouns for people, animals, objects, and concepts. Collective nouns differ from mass nouns (water, electricity, …

  3. The Origin (And Grammar) Of Father’s Day

    While Mother’s Day became an official holiday in 1914, Father’s Day took a little longer to be considered a national holiday. And its origin, sadly, lies in two, unrelated tragic events. How did Father’s Day begin? About six months after the Monongah mining disaster of 1907, in which the small West Virginia town lost over 350 men, Grace Golden Clayton organized an event to honor the …

  4. English Affixes From A To Z: A One-Stop List Of Suffixes, Prefixes, and Combining Forms

    In English, we love to make new words by adding all sorts of bits to the front and back of existing terms. These are called affixes, and they are added to the base or stem of a word. When attached to the end of word, the affix is called a suffix. And to the beginning? A prefix. Then there are combining forms, which can be …

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    Why Do We Capitalize The Pronoun “I”?

    Even though it feels natural to English speakers, capitalizing I is unusual. In fact, English is the only language that does it. Germanic and Romantic languages typically have some conventions for capitalizing proper nouns, like Deutschland (in German) or Place de la Concorde (in French), but English is the only one that insists on capitalizing the personal pronoun. Still don’t think it’s weird … then …

  6. Can You Name Some Common Types Of Adjectives?

    Have you ever thought about where we’d be without adjectives?  Well, for one we’d be left wondering how everyone is doing today. We wouldn’t be able to answer, “I’m fine.” We wouldn’t be able to specify, “I’d like the chocolate ice cream.” (That’s a seriously scary thought.) And we wouldn’t be able to clarify, “That’s my book!” (Get your paws off of it!) Adjectives are …

  7. Why We Need The Serial Comma: 10 Hilarious Real-World Examples

  8. New Year’s vs. New Year: How To Ring In The Year With Good Grammar

    As if the words to “Auld Lang Syne” weren’t difficult enough to remember, ringing in a brand-new year comes with some particularly befuddling grammar landmines. Of course, the punctuation we use when talking about the New Year’s holiday couldn’t do us a solid and follow the same pattern as Veterans Day (note the lack of apostrophe), because … well, that’s the English language for you. Don’t …

  9. Is It “I Wish I Were” Or “I Wish I Was”?

    Picture it. You’re texting your buddy, and you type out “I wish I were.” But there’s that pesky autocorrect, trying to change it to “I wish I was.” Is autocorrect ducking with you, or are you about to commit a grammar faux pas? First, a little grammar lesson … Were and was are both past tense versions of the verb to be. But were is …

  10. How To Make Your Last Name Plural

    If writing out your holiday cards or ordering a sign for the front of your house makes you break out in hives, you may know a few grammar sticklers who like to poke fun. You know the type: the people who own stock in red ink manufacturing and are quick to point out when you’ve misused that apostrophe and inappropriately pluralized your last name. But …