Articles about grammar

Do I Use Lay or Lie? Let's Get it Straight

by Kathy Edens Nov 03, 2017

Do I Use Lay or Lie? Let's Get it Straight

Lay and lie can trip up the most seasoned writer. Let's do a quick and dirty here so it finally makes sense.

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Grammar Rules You Should Ignore

by Kathy Edens Oct 20, 2017

Grammar Rules You Should Ignore

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.

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7 Grammar Rules Your Editor Wants You to Know

by ProWritingAid Sep 18, 2017

7 Grammar Rules Your Editor Wants You to Know

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.

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Know Your Tenses: Past Progressive

by ProWritingAid Aug 02, 2017

Know Your Tenses: Past Progressive

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:

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What the Heck are Auto-Antonyms? And Why Should You Worry About Them?

by ProWritingAid Jul 21, 2017

What the Heck are Auto-Antonyms? And Why Should You Worry About Them?

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.

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Licence vs. License: Which One is Right?

by ProWritingAid Jun 28, 2017

Licence vs. License: Which One is Right?

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.

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Affect vs. Effect: When to use each

by ProWritingAid Jun 12, 2017

Affect vs. Effect: When to use each

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:

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End Hunger by Practicing Grammar? Sign Us Up!

by Monica Puerto Jun 12, 2017

 End Hunger by Practicing Grammar? Sign Us Up! Did you know that if you spend 15 minutes a day improving your grammar and vocabulary on freerice.com, you will be helping end hunger?

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Wrestling Run-On Sentences Into Shape

by Kathy Edens May 26, 2017

Wrestling Run-On Sentences Into Shape

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.

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Gender Neutral Pronoun Consistency—Is This Still a Thing?

by ProWritingAid Apr 10, 2017

Gender Neutral Pronoun Consistency—Is This Still a Thing? 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 Solution

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Hyphenation: When Nouns Become Adjectives

by ProWritingAid Feb 20, 2017

Hyphenation: When Nouns Become Adjectives

Compound adjectives are made up of a combination of noun plus adjective, noun plus participle, or adjective plus participle. More often than not, these are hyphenated. Let’s look at a few.

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"Which" or "That": Know When to Use Each

by ProWritingAid Jan 25, 2017

"Which" or "That": Know When to Use Each

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.

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Should Dialogue Stand Alone?

by ProWritingAid Dec 27, 2016

Should Dialogue Stand Alone?

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.

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Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016

by Lisa Lepki Dec 19, 2016

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016

Here are the posts from our blog that most resonated with our readers this year. Did your favorite make the list?

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Writing for a British Audience

by Heather Baker Nov 16, 2016

Writing for a British Audience

As someone who lives and runs a business in the UK and has travelled extensively in the US, I can tell you from first-hand experience that there’s a world of difference between the way Americans and Britons do things.

And I’m not just talking about the fact that we drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road (though, you know, obviously remember that if you decide to visit).

There’s the whole ‘s’ versus ‘z’ argument, the fact that we prefer spelling colour with a ‘u’ and grey with an ‘e’. And of course, let’s not forget about our penchant for the imperial system.

Grammar and measurements aside though, when it comes to marketing across the pond the differences are both vast and nuanced. We’re all speaking English, but that doesn’t mean it’s the same language.

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Cut “That” Out—Seriously

by ProWritingAid Oct 28, 2016

Cut “That” Out—Seriously

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.

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Do Your Subjects & Verbs Always Agree?

by ProWritingAid Oct 24, 2016

Do Your Subjects & Verbs Always Agree?

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.

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Infographic: 13 Grammar Mistakes Beautiful People Don't Make

by Rachael Lui Oct 07, 2016

Infographic: 13 Grammar Mistakes Beautiful People Don't Make

With social media and messaging apps being used daily, grammar and writing skills have taken a back seat.

These errors are transferring into resumes, emails, articles and anything you could possibly imagine. However,considering that what you write is a direct reflection on you, you do not want to come across as lazy, unintelligent or even worse, unattractive.

The question is: How can you avoid making grammar mistakes that you don’t know you’re making in the first place?

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How to Punctuate and Format Inner Dialogue

by ProWritingAid Oct 07, 2016

How to Punctuate and Format Inner Dialogue

Inner dialogue is an excellent way to give your readers a peek inside the heart and mind of your characters. Readers can’t get this depth of character strictly from the actions you include in your story. You should give them inner thoughts to create 3-D characters with which your readers will fall in love.

The bad news is that there is no hard and fast rule about formatting inner dialogue. Depending on which author, editor, or publisher you talk to, there are as many ways to handle inner dialogue as there are people writing it.

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Hyphen, En Dash & Em Dash: Do You Know the Difference?

by ProWritingAid Sep 28, 2016

Hyphen, En Dash & Em Dash: Do You Know the Difference?

Are you aware of these three little lines and how they’re used in punctuation?

-Hyphen

⎻En Dash

—Em Dash

Let’s talk a little more about each.

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