10 Rules for Writing Numbers and Numerals

How do you express numbers in your writing? When do you use figures (digits) and when do you write out the number in words (letters)? That is, when do you write 9 and when do you write nine? 1. Number versus numeral. First things first, what is the difference between a number and a numeral? … Read more

Parallelism Prevents Bumpy Communication

Parallelism is one rule you learned from your English teacher that is appropriate for all sorts of writing. Parallelism makes your thoughts easier to understand, with limited danger of making it more stilted or overly formal. For example, “apples are sweet, but lemons are sour,” which is parallel, is less bumpy than “apples are sweet, … Read more

Mind Your -ed’s

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The English verb ending -ed is a curious construction.

Although always spelled -ed, it has three different pronunciations. Two of them can lead to misspellings:
/ed/ as in faded
/d/ as in turned
/t/ as in wrecked

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When to use “on” and when to use “in”

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Nate asks: What are the proper usages of the words “in” and “on” in a sentence? I often confuse the two. Here are some examples: “The boat is in/on the water,” “We are in/on the planet,” “We’re going to the concert in/on July 1st.”

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Me, Myself, and I

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Just as the personal pronouns I and me are frequently used incorrectly–the subject form I used instead of the object form me, and vice versa–the reflexive pronoun myself sometimes crops up where I or me belong.

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The Possessive Apostrophe

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It’s time to talk about being possessive. Sometimes possessiveness is good, sometimes it’s bad. However you look at it, if you’re speaking English, then you will need an apostrophe to show who owns what.

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All Pronoun Cases Are Created Equal

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Some writers and speakers seem to believe that “I” is somehow more high class than “me.” Snooty characters on soap operas are especially fond of this construction. The fact is, “I” and “me” are class neutral. They simply have different jobs to do.

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Coordinating Conjunctions

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Coordinating conjunctions are some of the handiest, dandiest words in the English language. Essentially, they help us string our thoughts together in a way that is complex and meaningful, and without them writing would be very short and choppy.

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