Grammar purists bristle when they hear the plural they used to refer to one person, but the usage is likely to stick, because it’s a convenient answer to a vexing writing problem. When you don’t know if someone is male or female, you need to find a...
Think of the em dash as the traditional dash and the en dash as the hyphen. With our numerous punctuation marks, you would think that one dash is enough, but we have two little marks that are referred to as dashes, and if you are in the publishing business, there are...
Steven Pinker, the famous psycholinguist, says the Elements of Style usage manual is valuable but has some “cockamamie advice.” In an essay titled Writing in the 21st Century (http://bit.ly/1xBiAiN. Skip the first six paragraphs), Pinker, now at Harvard, notes that...
Insert a colon after words that form a complete thought, not after phrases such as for example or as a result. It is common for someone to write, The topics on the meeting agenda include: the annual conference, staff additions, and budget planning. Similarly, you...
People are familiar with using a comma before and, but, or so, but however, nevertheless, and furthermore are a different kind of connecting word and can be more problematic. Nearly three dozen words that appear at the start of a sentence and in the middle serve a...
People frequently are unsure whether to put a comma before “and,” but how about using a comma before such words as because, when, where, and who? Essential clause – Words that are an integral part of the main thought of a sentence form an essential clause, and...
If you want to persuade your superior to promote you over someone else, you could emphasize what you have accomplished, …
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