Use of phrasal adjectives, combinations of two or more words that as a grammatical unit provide additional details to nouns, is complicated by standards of usage pertaining to hyphens. This post discusses various types of phrasal adjectives (some of which have, since they were coined, been fused to form single words).
Every field of endeavor has its vocabulary, and the business world, for better or worse, has contributed significantly to the English language with jargon—an insider language that often obfuscates when it should clarify and complicates when it should simplify. This post discusses two categories of such word adaptation.
In each of the following examples, a complementary comma that provides closure for a parenthetical phrase is missing. Discussion after each sentence explains the problem, and a revision demonstrates the solution.
The Latin verb sequi, meaning “follow,” is the source of a diverse array of words pertaining to “going after” in one way or another. This post lists and defines the term’s descendants.
The phrases and expressions listed in this post pertain to lizards and other reptiles, usually with a pejorative or otherwise negative allusion that reflects the dim view many people have of such animals.
Each of the following sentences includes a modifying phrase that confuses because it the statement is erroneously constructed or because the phrase is incorrectly located in the sentence. Recast the sentence so that the phrase properly modifies the part of the sentence it refers to.
When a list of items in a sentence is not a simple matter of a, b, and c, writers can easily err in erroneously constructing the sentence, mangling the syntax in the mistaken belief that nonequivalent items are equivalent. Each of the sentences below presents a distinct problem with parallel structuring of lists, and the discussions and revisions that follow the examples explain and resolve the problems.
Off and on frequently appear as prefixes, but word structure can vary: Should the prefix be hyphenated to the root word, or should the entire word be a closed compound? This post lists examples of such terms.
Often, an incorrect form of punctuation is deployed to set off the introduction of a saying or a question from the quoted material itself. The following sentences demonstrate various errors related to this issue, and discussions and revisions explain the problem and illustrate one or more solutions.
This post discusses the words in which the element hind, pertaining to location or movement in or to the rear, appears.
The Greek noun anthropos, meaning “male human being” or “man,” is the root of some familiar and not-so-familiar English words, which are listed and defined below.
In each sentence, choose the correct word from the pair of similar terms. (If both words possibly can be correct, choose the more plausible one.)