Grammar tips
Why pronouns are important
On February 8, 2016 | 1 Comments

Imagine you’re at a cocktail party and someone tells a brief story about his friend Buddy. Chances are the storyteller will name Buddy just once and use “he” from there on because everyone listening to the story knows he’s talking about Buddy. If the storyteller were to say, “Buddy did this, and then Buddy did […]

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Watch out for run-on sentences
On January 18, 2016 | 4 Comments

I recently read two indie books that shared the following problem: they were both infested with run-on sentences. I don’t throw around the word “infested” very often, but I’m using it here to make a point. The run-on sentences ruined the reading experience for me. I was so distracted by the errors that I couldn’t […]

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Grammar tip: Be careful with tenses
On January 11, 2016 | 1 Comments

Today I’d like to talk about tenses, specifically when to use the preterit (past) tense versus the pluperfect (past perfect) tense. Here are two examples: Preterit tense: I wrote a book Pluperfect tense: I had written a book Both together: He wrote to me yesterday to tell me that he had read my book (he read my book before […]

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Active vs. passive voice
On October 19, 2015 | 0 Comments

If you’ve never heard of “active voice” or “passive voice,” don’t worry, you’re not alone. However, while you might not know the official terminology, I’m willing to bet you can easily spot the difference between the two. In the active voice, the subject of the sentence is doing the acting. For example: I am writing this […]

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Punctuation tip: How to use “however”
On September 14, 2015 | 0 Comments

Knowing which punctuation to use with the word “however” is tricky. However, it’s important to get it correct, so here’s a brief explanation. As demonstrated above, when “however” means “in spite of that” and appears at the beginning of a sentence, it is followed by a comma. For example: However, it’s important to get it […]

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Apostrophes indicate possession, not plural
On July 20, 2015 | 2 Comments

The other day I walked by a secondhand store that had a big pile of used books out front. Taped above the stack was a sign that said the following: Book’s 1$ Ugh. This made me sad, particularly so because they were selling books (not book’s), which are filled with words (not word’s). I’m not sure how […]

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Affect vs. effect
On June 29, 2015 | 0 Comments

A single letter separates affect and effect, but that one letter makes a big difference. Here’s a quick explanation between the two words: Affect is (usually*) a verb. It means to have an impact on something, to influence, or to produce a result. Here are some examples: This rain is going to affect our crops if it […]

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Grammar tip: Have GONE, not have WENT
On May 25, 2015 | 0 Comments

The other day my mom, from whom I inherited my attention to grammar, sent me an email with a subject line that said “THIS CAN’T POSSIBLY BE RIGHT, RIGHT?” I clicked to open the attachment, which was a photograph of a newspaper article about a sports team. The article said that “the team had sort […]

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Why grammar matters
On May 18, 2015 | 1 Comments

I recently began watching “The Wire” (yes, I realize I’m a few years late), and I love it! So far it has lived up to the hype. It also gave me a good idea for this blog post. In one of the early episodes, one of the main characters (a police officer) spends a lot […]

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A quick lesson on hyphens
On May 4, 2015 | 2 Comments

Adjectives modify nouns or pronouns. (What a pretty house! She is tall!) Adverbs modify verbs (She types quickly), adjectives (She is extremely tall) or other adverbs (Please type more quickly). When an adverb modifies an adjective (e.g. “she is extremely tall,” no hyphen is necessary. I see many authors make this error in their book descriptions and personal bios. For example: […]

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