Grammar, Mechanics, Usage

Read articles on all of the following topics:

Punctuation

  • Using a Comma before And
  • Using the Serial Comma (the comma before and in a list)
  • Punctuating with Parentheses
  • Using the Semicolon
  • Using the Colon
  • Using Commas between Coordinate Adjectives
  • Punctuating with Quotation Marks: Part One
  • Punctuating with Quotation Marks: Part Two

Grammar

  • Deciding If Collective Nouns (such as team, committee, faculty, and so forth) Are Singular or Plural
  • Splitting Infinitives
  • Ending Sentences with Prepositions
  • Maintaining Parallel Structure
  • Starting Sentences with And or But
  • Avoiding Four Verb Errors
  • Understanding the Passive Voice
  • (transitive passive verbs vs. transitive active verbs)
  • Using the Possessive Case with Gerunds
  • (Why we should write "I am bothered by his being late," and not "by him being late")
  • Signing Your Holiday Greetings: Plural vs. Possessive?
  • (Happy holidays from "the Williamses" or "the Williams'?)
  • Using the Posessive Case: The Issue of Ownership
  • Understanding the Subjunctive Mood
  • (If I were or was?)
  • Using Modifiers with Precision: The Case for Only
  • Using Comparatives and Superlatives
  • Understanding Reflexive Pronouns
  • (When to use the pronouns that end with the suffix -self, such as myself, herself, etc.)
  • Recognizing Singular Indefinite Pronouns: Part One
  • (The indefinite pronouns everyone, everybody, someone, somebody, and so forth are singular, so pronouns that refer to them must also be singular.)
  • Recognizing Singular Indefinite Pronouns: Part Two
  • ("Either is" or "either are"? "Neither is" or "neither are"?)
  • Making Nouns Possessive When They End in s, x, sh, ch, and z
  • Making Verbs Agree with Relative Pronouns
  • (Should we write "which is" or "which are," "that is" or "that are"?)
  • Deciding if Nouns are Possessives or Attributive
  • (When to use apostrophes in titles and names such as "Father's Day," "Veterans Day," "Bankers Association," and "English Majors Society")

Mechanics

  • Capitalizing Appropriately: Proper vs. Common Nouns and Adjectives
  • (Addresses the fact that people tend to over-capitalize words in sentences)
  • Handling Vertical Lists
  • (Issues that must be addressed when using bulleted or numbered lists)
  • Capitalizing Words in Titles
  • Handling the Titles of Works
  • Handling the Titles of People and Positions
  • Using Numbers
  • Typing Characters That Are Not on the Keyboard
  • Handling Ellipses
  • (Those groups of three and four "periods" that indicate missing words)
  • Hyphenating Compound Words
  • Using One or Two Spaces after Periods (and other typography issues)
  • Understanding En Dashes and Em Dashes
  • Using Hyphens in Adjective Phrases

Word Usage

  • Which or That?
  • Who or Whom?
  • The Verb Include to Preface a List
  • Nauseous or Nauseated?
  • (Do you, yourself, feel ill, or do you make others feel ill?)
  • "The Reason Is Because" or "The Reason Is That"?
  • Words Related to Graduates, Graduation, and Degrees
  • Cyberlanguage (see also "Update on Cyberlanguage" below)
  • Update on Cyberlanguage
  • Regardless or Irregardless?
  • Sit and Set
  • Lie and Lay
  • Anymore and Everyday
  • Good and Well as Modifiers
  • The Latin Abbreviations i.e. and e.g.
  • Anxious and Eager
  • The Prefixes Bi and Semi
  • Bring and Take
  • The Articles A and An
  • Drug/Dragged and Loan/Lend
  • Here and There
  • Between and Among
  • I and Me
  • Effect and Affect
  • Like and As
  • Criteria and Media
  • Bad or Badly?
  • Less or Fewer?

Other Topics

  • Style Manuals