3 Types of Redundancy to Avoid

Redundancy in a sentence is annoying, and it is also a nuisance. Conveying information in more than one way, or by repeating wording, is consciously or subconsciously distracting to the reader and contributes to compositional clutter. Note in the discussions and revisions following each example how the sentence in question can be improved by deleting […]

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Admonitions and Premonitions

Admonition and premonition are two members of a small word family based on a root pertaining to scolding or warning. The family is introduced below. The Latin verb monere, meaning “advise,” “express disapproval,” or “warn,” is the root of admonition and premonition. Admonition and its sister noun admonishment are distinguished by the senses “warning about […]

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3 Examples of Incorrect Use of Semicolons

In each of the following sentences, semicolons are incorrectly employed. Discussion following each example explains why the use of one or more semicolons is an error, and revisions demonstrate proper punctuation. 1. The lack of specificity allows flexibility; but the lack of clarity also makes certification less certain. This sentence consists of two independent clauses. […]

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45 Synonyms for “Road”

This post lists synonyms for road and specific terms for various types of roads. It excludes words primarily of use in British English or in other languages, as well as other senses of the terms. 1. alley: a narrow street, especially one providing access to the rear of buildings or lots between blocks 2. alleyway: […]

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3 Cases of Tense Errors

Each verb in a sentence should reflect the tense appropriate to the specific phrase rather than conform to the tense of another verb in the sentence. In each of the sentences below, a verb is not in the correct tense. Each example is followed by a discussion and a revision. 1. They are emblems of […]

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Chatter, Natter, and Patter

Three coincidentally rhyming words that all serve as slang to describe idle and extensive talk are discussed in this post. To chatter is to talk quickly and/or casually, though the term also refers to any fast, high-pitched, or clicking sound, such as the involuntary striking of one’s upper and lower teeth in response to cold […]

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Punctuation Quiz #24: Capitalization

Correct the capitalization in the following sentences. 1. Harry Selfridge was a Self-Made Man who left school at 14 and lived to amass an enormous Fortune in london. 2. At the age of 20, Selfridge went to work at Marshall Field and company in Chicago where he rose from Stock Boy to Junior Partner. 3. […]

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3 Examples of Erroneous Case Style

In each of the following examples, a phrase employs incorrect treatment as to whether one or more words begin with uppercase or lowercase letters. An explanation, followed by a revision, points out each error. 1. Three of the children developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition with anemia and kidney complications. Names of medical […]

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3 Cases of Erroneous Use of Colons

In each of the following sentences, a colon is employed in the mistaken belief that the sentence structure requires it, when in fact the syntax renders it superfluous. Discussion after each example explains why a colon is inappropriate, and a revision demonstrates proper punctuation of the sentence. 1. The network is terminating all its business […]

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3 Cases of Erroneous Punctuation with Quotations

In each of the following sentences, punctuation associated with a quoted phrase or a partial or full quotation is not appropriate. Discussion after each example explains why the punctuation should either be changed or omitted altogether, and one or more revisions illustrate correct treatment of the quoted material. 1. The old saying, “What gets rewarded […]

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Boxes and Boxing

Is there any connection between the word for a usually square or rectangular container and the name of the contact sport called “the sweet science”? The pugilistic sense of box may be related to the botanical one and therefore to the general sense of an object in which something is situated or enclosed, but no […]

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Grammar Quiz #20: Verb Tense

The language of wishing requires a particular combination of verb tenses, according to whether the wish is for the present, the past, or the future. Choose the correct verb form for each of the following sentences. 1. I didn’t see the first part of the Hobbit movie. I wish I ________ it. a) saw b) […]

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