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November 10, 2023
Of Veterans and Apostrophes

Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty asks, "Why doesn’t 'Veterans Day' have an apostrophe?" Ah, the apostrophe. Humble and omnipresent punctuation mark, misused everywhere. Your usage for this weekend's holiday could be "Veterans' Day" (quite rare), but not "Veteran's Day" (incorrect) In using 'Veterans Day', the Grammar Girl says, "Veterans" is acting like an adjective, telling you […]

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July 7, 2020
Write well. And remember what to do with commas and conjunctions

I often see manuscripts and drafts that are relentless about using a comma whenever the word "And" or "But" starts a sentence. English teachers must have drilled this into us. Comma use right after but or and start a sentence is simply incorrect. From The Editor's Blog, these examples are incorrect usage. X But, not because […]

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February 20, 2019
Making sentences great again

Francine Prose wrote a fine book about writing, Reading Like a Writer, which includes a chapter on Sentences. (Chapters are titled with names such as Words, Paragraphs, Narration, Character, Gesture, Dialogue, and more.) In her book, she celebrates the sentence and crafting wonderful ones. To talk about sentences is to have a conversation about something […]

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August 29, 2017
Showing spunk about making sentences

Out on the Writer’s Digest Web site, Bonnie Trenga has posted an article on grammar that boils down the writing of a good sentence to four commandments. She starts with shall nots and shalls. 1. You shall not write passively. 2. You shall not overuse weak verbs like “to be” and “to have.” 3. You […]

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