Grammar tips
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 […]

Read more
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, […]

Read more
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 […]

Read more
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 […]

Read more
Are you making this common mistake?
On April 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

We learn to speak before we learn to read and write, so when we begin to  put words onto a page it’s easy to confuse those that sound the same  (also known as homonyms or homophones). For example: Bred, bread Plane, plain Great, grate Led, lead To, two, too There, they’re, their While the above […]

Read more
What is the passive voice?
On April 9, 2018 | 0 Comments

Unless you’re a grammar nut like I am, chances are you’ve never heard the term “passive voice.” Here’s a quick explanation: Passive voice without attribution is when we learn that something happens without learning who did it. For example: Active voice: Gloria ate all the cookies. Passive voice without attribution: All the cookies were eaten. Active voice: […]

Read more
A refresher on hyphenation
On March 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

Hyphens are used to avoid ambiguity when two descriptive words are next to each other before a noun. (They are also used for compound words such as self-esteem.) For example, take the following sentence: The small business owner got a great loan from the bank. Is the business owner a small person? Or does the person […]

Read more
Two abbreviations that are easy to confuse
On February 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

Do you know the difference between e.g. and i.e.? If your answer is no, or that you think you do but you’re not sure, you’re not alone. Here’s a quick refresher on how to use them correctly. E.g. means for example: There are many things to do on this island, e.g., snorkeling, sailing, and scuba diving. (CORRECT)  There are many things to do on […]

Read more
To lie vs. to lay
On November 6, 2017 | 0 Comments

When I was in high school, people used to say “laying out” when referring to catching rays at the pool or the beach. At the time I remember thinking they should have worn sunscreen, but it didn’t occur to me that they also should have said “lying out.” But now I know better! I still […]

Read more
Watch out for dangling participles
On October 23, 2017 | 0 Comments

If there is one grammar term that I never understood until recently, it was “dangling participle.” Now that I finally know what it means, I thought I’d explain it here. A participle is a form of a verb. For example, writing and written are participles of the verb to write. I am writing this blog post (present participle) I have written this […]

Read more