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The distinction between that and which is a favorite among usage writers. It's an interesting usage item for several reasons: first, it is an invention that was first proposed in the early 1800s yet didn't catch on until the 1900s; second, it's primarily, though not exclusively, an American distinction; and third, it has been very successful in print, though I think a good portion of its success is attributable to copy editors.  Continue reading...
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How to Not Write Bad — by the prolific Ben Yagoda — is an original, amusing, practical take on the writing self-help book. Yagoda points out that most writing book are about writing well, then makes the refreshing observation that writing well is beyond most people.  Continue reading...
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In 2005, Arnold Zwicky introduced the term zombie rule to describe a grammar rule that isn't really a rule. Zombie rules are taught, followed, and passed along as rules we must follow to speak and write correctly. Like their namesakes, however, these rules are dead and no matter how many times it's explained that there is no grammatical basis for them, they just keep coming back.  Continue reading...
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WARNING: Grammar lesson ahead.

If you ever knew what a "participle" was, you may have forgotten. Same with the word "gerund." And if you ever heard the term "fused participle," you probably zoned out completely.  Continue reading...
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Recently on the Copyediting-L discussion board, member Levi Bookin presented this conundrum: one of his authors avoids the phrase such as to such an extreme that he seems allergic to it. Possibly, Bookin wrote, this is because he dislikes commas so much.  Continue reading...
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We'd like to welcome Jonathon Owen, a copy editor and book designer with a master's degree in linguistics, as our newest regular contributor! Here Jonathon explains how he discovered that an oft-quoted example of George Orwell using singular "they" turned out not to be by Orwell after all.  Continue reading...
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Sites to motivate, challenge... and entertain students who are stuck on grammar.  Continue reading...
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4 5 6 7 8 Displaying 36-42 of 188 Articles