Grammar Quiz #23: Pronouns

Correct errors of pronoun use in the following sentences. 1. Do you want to go with Hamed and myself to the park? 2. Last summer, the Retys were extremely kind to my family and I when we stayed with them. 3. If it snows, me and the children will take our sleds to the hill […]

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“Constitute” and Its Established Cousins

This post lists and defines a small family of words derived from a Latin verb meaning “set” that share the element -stitute. Statuere, stemming from the Latin verb stare, meaning “stand,” alludes to establishment or causing to stand. As you’ve probably guessed, it’s also the forebear of statute and statue, but words that include -stitute […]

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3 Types of Errors Involving the Correlative Conjunction “Either”

When either and or are employed in a sentence to frame two alternatives, the correlative conjunction either is often misplaced, usually rendering the sentence more or less comprehensible but potentially introducing confusion. For each of the examples below, a discussion explains the problem, and a revision provides a solution. 1. She’s either criticized for being […]

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3 Types of Hyphenation Errors with Numbers

Writers are easily confused by, or are negligent about, proper use of hyphenation with phrases with numbers, whether the numbers are represented in spelled-out or numeral form. The following sentences represent various types of erroneous use of hyphenation; a discussion after each one points out the problem, and a revision resolves it. 1. In April […]

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60 Words for Types of Restaurants

This post lists dozens of words, many adopted from foreign languages that describe a specific type of restaurant. (Restaurant itself stems from a Latin verb meaning “restore.”) 1. bar: an establishment where liquor and sometimes food are served 2. bar and grill: an establishment that features a bar but also serves food 3. barroom: see […]

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Grammar Quiz #22: Smothered Verbs

Each of the following sentences includes a smothered verb (i.e., a word that has been formed from a verb). Revise the sentences as necessary for conciseness: 1. The committee will hold a meeting this Wednesday evening at seven o’clock. 2. I will make a decision after studying the criteria you have given me. 3. We […]

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3 Examples of How Missing Words Cause Confusion

In each of the following sentences, the absence of a word or phrase is an obstacle to clarity. Discussion after each sentence explains the problem, and a revision provides the solution. 1. The naturally occurring electrolytes are significantly higher than other brands. The comparison in this sentence is not between electrolytes and other brands; it […]

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3 Types of Faulty In-Line Lists

This post includes three examples of how sentences can go wrong because the writer has failed to support the sentence structure with the proper syntactical arrangement of words and phrases in relation to each other. Discussion after each example explains the problem, and one or more revisions demonstrate solutions. 1. The training materials should be […]

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3 Types of Extended Phrasal Adjectives

Each of the following sentences includes a phrasal adjective (two or more words that modify a noun) consisting of several words, and each requires hyphenation missing from that phrase. Discussion after each example explains the problem, and revisions demonstrate solutions. 1. These remain front and center priorities for organizations. When a phrase structured as “[blank] […]

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3 Types of Compound-Word Errors

Compound words can easily confuse writers. Compound nouns, for example, are variously styled closed (for example, horseshoe), hyphenated (light-year), and open (“income tax”). But correctly formatting a noun isn’t the only challenge when it comes to determining whether one word or two is appropriate. This post discusses three classes of errors in usage regarding compounds. […]

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Grammar Quiz #21: Restrictive and Nonrestrictive Clauses

A nonrestrictive clause is a subordinate clause that may be left out of a sentence without significantly altering the meaning expressed by the main clause. In a restrictive clause, on the other hand, the information is related to a word in the main clause. Nonrestrictive clauses are set off by commas; restrictive clauses are not. […]

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3 Examples of Problems with Parallel Structure

In each of the following sentences, sentence construction obscures the complementary relationship between parallel phrases. Discussion following each example explains the problem, and revisions illustrate solutions. 1. Follow this step with user support and usage monitoring to ensure a smooth transition and optimal user experience during and post-implementation. The phrase “during and post-implementation” is treated […]

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