Grammar Tips

Because all of us can use a little extra help and some reminders when it comes to proper grammar. Many posts will contain grammar quizzes for good practice.

Even mainstream media news sources make grammar goofs: Loose vs Lose

by Sheila J Tofflemire on Sunday, February 19, 2012, 10:05 am

in Grammar Tips,News

Note the yellow-highlighted word here: Do you ever mix up “loose” and “lose”? Loose is an adjective meaning the opposite of tight or contained. Examples: My shoelaces are loose. I have a loose button on my sweater. The neighbor’s dog was allowed to run loose all the time. Lose is a verb meaning to suffer […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Grammar Tips: The Apostrophe

by Sheila J Tofflemire on Thursday, April 28, 2011, 2:42 pm · 2 comments

in Grammar Tips

So many people misuse the apostrophe, I thought perhaps it’s time to throw in a few tips about proper usage for this particular punctuation. When to use an apostrophe: To show possession – my brother’s car, my parents’ house, your dog’s bone To form contractions (indicating missing letters) – don’t, won’t, shouldn’t, could’ve (abbreviation for […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Happy National Grammar Day!

by Sheila J Tofflemire on Friday, March 4, 2011, 9:35 am

in Editing,Grammar Tips,News

And please, if you do nothing else today, learn the difference between your and you’re, as well as its and it’s!

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Grammar Tips: The verb “to lead”

by Sheila J Tofflemire on Monday, November 22, 2010, 7:48 am

in Grammar Tips

I see this mistake made often with non-writers, but it always amazes me when so-called professionals in the field of journalism make such a simple mistake. It involves the improper conjugation of the verb “to lead,” meaning “to show the way; to guide in direction; to command or direct; to influence or induce” (etc). Take […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Grammar Tips: Pesky Pronouns

by Sheila J Tofflemire on Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 1:22 pm · 1 comment

in Grammar Tips

What is a pronoun? It’s simply a word that takes the place of a noun. Pronoun cases: Subject, Object, Possessive, Reflexive 1) Subject: I, you, he, she, it, we, they Use subject pronouns when… (a) the pronoun is the subject of the sentence: I am the boss. She is my friend. We are out of […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Grammar Tips: Choosing ‘a’ or ‘an’

by Sheila J Tofflemire on Thursday, December 17, 2009, 10:25 am

in Grammar Tips

Many people think that choosing to use the indefinite article a or an depends on whether the word that follows starts with a consonant or a vowel. However, many people are wrong. It’s not spelling that matters. What counts is the sound of the word that follows. Use a when followed by a consonant sound, […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Grammar Tips: Lie or lay?

by Sheila J Tofflemire on Sunday, December 6, 2009, 5:57 pm

in Grammar Tips

The proper use of these verbs creates quite a conundrum for most of us. I often have to look them up just to remind myself of the proper usage. First, let’s define them: Lie¹ – to tell an untruth Lie² – to recline; to rest in a horizontal or recumbent position Lay – to put […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Seriously: Use the serial comma

by Sheila J Tofflemire on Friday, November 13, 2009, 7:49 am

in Grammar Tips

The serial comma (a.k.a. the Oxford comma or the Harvard comma) is the comma used immediately before the conjunction that precedes the final item in a series of three or more items. In simple sentences, omitting the serial comma may be acceptable; however, ambiguities causing misinterpretations arise in more complex sentence constructions. Its use is […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Grammar: Its or it’s?

by Sheila J Tofflemire on Wednesday, November 11, 2009, 9:36 am

in Grammar Tips

This tip is based on a grammar no-no that is a particular pet peeve of mine. When I see this mistake…well, let’s just say it’s like nails on a chalkboard to me. It also happens to be one of the most common grammar errors that many people make. Here’s the problem: The apostrophe is used […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }