Many Ways to Break

How does one break? Which preposition follows the verb break depends, in American English idiom, on which type of literal or figurative breaking is occurring.

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It’s All “Fine”

The two diverse meanings of fine—as a noun or a verb referring to payment of a penalty and as an adjective denoting quality—stem from a common root.

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Neologisms Come and Go

New words are being developed all the time, and there’s nothing we can do to stop this continuous expansion of our vocabulary—other than stop speaking, writing, and thinking, that is. After all, every word was new once. However, the lexicographical graveyard is crowded both with words that never caught on and with others that were long ubiquitous but are now obsolete. And though many dictionary entries have existed for decades, and quite a few are centuries old, many neologisms do not survive.

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Should There Be a Hyphen?

Hyphenation rules can seem complicated, leading to confusion for the writer. In the following sentences, determine whether a hyphen is called for in each example, and then read the discussion for an explanatory answer.

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3 Sentences That Cause Confusion

In each of the following sentences, a word or phrase is an obstacle to comprehension. The discussion and revision that follows each example suggests a path to clarity.

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What Is a Doctor?

Exactly what does doctor mean, and who can call himself or herself a doctor, and who can’t? A discussion of the term and its origins and parameters follows.

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Words for Bodies of Lawmakers

This post discusses an assortment of words employed in English to refer to a group of people responsible for representing the general populace and passing laws, or to pertain to the room in which they meet to do so, or both.

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Assure—I Mean, Ensure—Good Writing

Once upon a time, professional and amateur writers alike could count on books and publications to help guide them in writing clearly, coherently, and concisely. They knew that when they opened a book, a magazine, or a newspaper, they could generally be assured that they would find carefully crafted prose that adhered to principles of proper grammar, syntax, and usage and would not only enhance comprehension of the content but also serve as a model for their own effective writing.

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DailyWritingTips Has a YouTube Channel Now

We are always looking for new ways to distribute our content and to interact with our audience. That is why we decided to launch a YouTube channel, featuring short videos with grammar, punctuation and spelling tips.

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5 Sentences with Misplaced Modifiers

In each of the following sentences, ambiguity or confusion results from faulty placement of a modifying phrase. Discussion and a revision of each sentence illustrates a solution to the problem.

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5 Points About Parallel Structure

The following five sentences present various problems with sentence organization. Each is followed by a discussion of the sentence and a revision that addresses the problem.

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3 Strategies for Combining Sentences

One approach to making prose more concise is to stitch together two related sentences by revising one so that it serves as a subordinate clause to the other rather than an independent statement. Here are three ways to accomplish this goal.

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  • Mark Nichol on
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