Archive: Punctuation and Grammar

Puzzling Pairs: Words that Confuse Writers

Puzzling Pairs: Words that Confuse Writers

English has many troublesome pairs that often perplex writers, because many words in English are similar to others but are not synonyms. Here are some “twins” that often leave a writer wondering which one is appropriate and why. i.e. and e.g. — Using...
Can Writers Trust Writing-Style Guides?

Can Writers Trust Writing-Style Guides?

Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style,” for 60 years a bible of good writing for many students and adults, is still valuable but has some “cockamamie advice,” says famed linguist Steven Pinker. In an essay titled Writing in the 21st...
Don’t Be a Lazy Writer: Don’t Go Comma-less

Don’t Be a Lazy Writer: Don’t Go Comma-less

We could live without some commas, but eliminating all of them would hinder clarity, and people would waste time rewriting the sentence just to avoid using them. A linguist at Columbia, John McWhorter, says that many text messages and email illustrate that most commas...
Punctuation Puzzler: When to Use a Dash

Punctuation Puzzler: When to Use a Dash

Dashes are not a one-size-fits-all answer each time you need to pause. People frequently use dashes interchangeably with the comma: Anytime they want to pause, they just toss in dashes without realizing that the nature of the information dictates whether a dash is...