The Paramedic Method aims to help writers learn to write more concisely, persuasively and actively. Dr. Marlene Caroselli outlines the method and sets three writing challenges. Does the Paramedic Method help you breathe life back into dead sentences? Have a go and let us know what you think!Read More »
The definition of grace, as ascribed to Jacqueline Kennedy, is making others feel comfortable.
We don’t typically associate “grace” and “grammar,” but there are those occasions when it’s perfectly acceptable to be grammatically incorrect. To do otherwise may make you appear elitist.
This article looks at correct usage of pronouns and prepositions, followed by a quick glance at those instances when, grammatically speaking, it’s right to be wrong.Read More »
Contractions. Possessives. When do you use an apostrophe? Follow these rules on it’s versus its and self-edit with confidence.Read More »
This infographic provides a compact visual guide to common mistakes that writers make. Banish these grammar errors for tighter, clearer writing.Read More »
Lay and lie can trip up the most seasoned writer. Let's do a quick and dirty here so it finally makes sense.Read More »
Some rules were made to be broken, right? There are a few grammar rules that don't hold water in today's world of tweets and conversational writing styles. Since the focus of most writing on the web is to get your reader's attention, writing in a relaxed voice is common…and necessary.
Here are 6 grammar rules you should ignore when writing for the internet masses.Read More »
You don't want to send an overworked and underpaid editor a manuscript with glaring grammar and punctuation errors. Especially if the editor decides whether your piece runs or not. Send in a poorly edited piece, and you will end up in the slush pile. No editor has time for drastic rewrites.Read More »
How do you build the past progressive tense? Simply use the "to be" helping verb in the past tense and add on the present participle of the verb with an "-ing" on the end.
If this sounds complicated, it's actually not. Here are some examples:Read More »
Auto-antonyms are words with multiple meanings of which one contradicts or reverses another. What, you say, how can that be? Let's go through a couple examples.Read More »
Well, it depends on which side of the pond you're on.
If you're American, license is both a noun and a verb, and licence is not used at all.
If you're anywhere else speaking English, licence is the noun meaning a permit from an authority figure to do something particular, like driving, and license is the verb form.Read More »
When to use "affect" or "effect" is so confusing that people are switching to "impact" to use in its place.
Never fear—it's not difficult to use "affect" and "effect" properly. Here is what you need to know:Read More »
ProWritingAid's sentence length check is one of the most important reports I use for every piece of writing. I have a tendency to write long, flowing sentences that meander around, trying to connect numerous ideas together that perhaps don't belong. (The latter sentence a case in point.)
But did you know that's not a technical run-on sentence? It's more of a run-off-at-the-mouth sentence.Read More »
How many times have you written a sentence using a gender-neutral antecedent (the word a pronoun replaces) and stumbled? Which pronoun do you use—he or she?The student may borrow whichever book he (or she?) needs. The Traditional SolutionRead More »
Do you use "which" and "that" as interchangeable words in sentences because they mean the same?
That couldn't be further from the truth. We're here to help you determine when to use each word.Read More »
How you format dialogue is a matter of style rather than a rule. There are a few guidelines, however, that make dialogue easier for your reader to follow. And we want our work to be easy to read.
Some novelists like Cormac McCarthy do their own thing with dialogue. For example, McCarthy doesn’t use quotation marks, which is his style of choice. Most of us need to follow our publishing house’s rules, or at least accepted standards. Here are 3 unequivocal standards for starting new paragraphs in dialogue.Read More »
You want clear, concise writing, so make every word count. Cut out extraneous words, especially “that,” taking up space without adding value. This practical post is full of examples where the word "that" could be cut, and other times when it should be included for clarity.Read More »
We know that a singular subject goes with a singular verb, and a plural subject goes with a plural verb. This is fairly straight forward and won’t throw most people off balance.
There are some instances, however, when you might confuse what is the actual subject of the sentence and choose the wrong verb.Read More »
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