Grammar tips
I could HAVE, not I could OF
On June 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

We learn to speak before we learn to read and write, so sometimes when putting words onto the page it’s easy to confuse those that sound the same (also known as homonyms or homophones). For example: bred and bread plane and plain great and grate led and lead to and two and too there and they’re […]

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When to use THAT and when to use WHICH
On April 29, 2019 | 0 Comments

Do you know the difference between THAT and WHICH? My friend Debbie likes to say this: If it sounds like you could use either, use “that.” For example: *Cooking is an activity that relaxes many people (CORRECT) *Cooking is an activity which relaxes many people (INCORRECT) In the above sentence, to the untrained ear it may […]

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When to use a hyphen
On April 1, 2019 | 0 Comments

Are you using hyphens when you shouldn’t be? Hyphens are used to avoid ambiguity when two descriptive words are placed next to each other before a noun. (They are also used for compound words such as dead-end.) For example, take the following sentence: The small business owner got a great loan from the bank.  Is the […]

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“To lay” vs. “to lie”
On January 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

I love yoga. I love my yoga teachers too. They are kind, positive, nurturing people who strive to make their students feel good inside and out. They aren’t always so great at grammar. In nearly every class, at some point the teacher will gently say “Now lay on your backs.” While I love this part […]

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Is it ITS or IT’S?
On December 3, 2018 | 0 Comments

ITS vs. IT’S is tricky because the way to use ITS goes against everything we’re taught about possession. Here’s a quick explanation that I hope will clear up the confusion: When something belongs to someone or something (possession), we normally use an apostrophe: This book belongs to Gloria This is Gloria’s book I enjoy reading blog […]

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More capitalization confusion
On October 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

One of the most common capitalization errors I see is regarding family members, especially parents. Here’s a refresher on the rule: If the “Mom/mom” or “Dad/dad” is replacing the name of the person, then capitalize it because it’s a proper noun. If it’s replacing the title of the person, leave it in lowercase. For example, […]

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More words that are easy to mix up
On September 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

More than once in the past few weeks I’ve heard the word “reactionary” used to describe someone who reacts or has reacted to something. I flinch each time this happens, because the word that should  be used in these cases is “reactive.” Reactive vs. Reactionary Reactive means responsive, or reacting to something.  His reactive nature drove him […]

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Refresher on who vs. whom
On July 16, 2018 | 0 Comments

I get that many (most?) people are convinced they’ll never understand the difference between “who” and “whom.” If you fall into that group, here’s a way to look at “who vs. whom” that might shed some light: WHO is a subject, so if in a similar structure you would use I, HE, SHE, WE, or THEY, […]

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More words that shouldn’t be capitalized
On June 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

In a recent post I explained that the seasons of the year should not be capitalized, nor should job titles that don’t come directly before a person’s name. Here are two other areas in which I frequently see capital letters where they shouldn’t be: Fields of study/work Unless it’s a language, fields of study or […]

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Capitalization confusion
On May 7, 2018 | 0 Comments

Last week I read a novel that contained multiple capitalization errors. The book was published by a small press, which made me wonder how thorough the copyediting process is there. It also made me wonder if certain capitalization errors have become so prevalent that some copyeditors aren’t aware that they are mistakes. Here are two […]

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