2 3 4 5 6 Displaying 22-28 of 52 Articles

While editing for a client recently, I ran into the phrase small/midsized businesses. Instinctively, I wanted to change it to small-midsized businesses. But why did I think the hyphen was such a better choice than the slash?  Continue reading...
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None takes a singular verb if what it refers to is singular and a plural verb if its referent is plural. But why is that? If none means "no one, not one," shouldn't it always be used with a singular verb? Formal agreement dictates that a singular subject pair with a singular verb and a plural subject pair with a plural verb. Yet the result doesn't always make sense. When formal agreement fails us, we reach out for notional agreement.  Continue reading...
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Like is a powerful word. It's a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, and conjunction. It demonstrates preferences and shows relationships. It even acts as filler when we're trying to put our thoughts in order. Not all uses of like are equally accepted, however.  Continue reading...
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In the crusade against flabby writing, we're often counseled to get rid of redundancies with a machete. We are to show no mercy for the likes of repeated ideas and words. But following this "rule" blindly, as with following any rule blindly, can result in text that fails to get its meaning across. There are times when redundancy is a boon to the text rather than a scourge.  Continue reading...
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We're all familiar with those words that modify nouns. Words like big, yellow, northern, and government. They're called adjectives, and their job is to modify the nouns they're next to.

Government?  Continue reading...
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I was recently taken to task for writing the following in a blog post:

That's one thing with pet peeves: they're our pets. We're enamored with them.

Do you see the problem?  Continue reading...
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Do you know the grammatical mnemonic "FANBOYS"? It's an acronym for the coordinating conjunctions for, and, nor, but, or, and yet. Seems pretty handy, right? Not so much: Erin Brenner argues that "FANBOYS" hides more than it reveals.  Continue reading...
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2 3 4 5 6 Displaying 22-28 of 52 Articles