Category Archive for: English grammar

Nine grammar rules you can ignore

That’s right, there are actually grammar rules you can ignore! The idea that our language is going to the dogs is a pedant’s meme that goes back at least as far as Seneca. Perhaps you had a teacher (or a boss or an editor) with a prescriptivist bent, someone who holds certain principles of language use…

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Grammar lessons renamed ‘understanding language’

Should grammar lessons be renamed “Understanding Language”? Some of the country’s most eminent linguists came together for English Grammar Day, presented by UCL and Oxford University in association with the British Library, last week. With talks from grammarians including David Crystal and Dick Hudson, the event served as a crash course in the history, prevalence…

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In English grammar there are 8 parts of speech

In English grammar there are 8 parts of speech.The 8 parts of speech are: nouns, adjectives, pronouns, interjections, conjunctions, prepositions, adverbs and verbs. What does each of the parts of speech do? 8 parts of speech             Function or what it does (job) Verb            …

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Before you tweet your outrage about the English grammar

First there was a brouhaha about the Oxford comma, prompted by a post at FiveThirtyEight in which I was quoted. Then screams of outrage about the English grammar on Twitter followed an article by Roy Peter Clark defending the use of the passive voice.  Outrage about the English grammar? I appreciate editors who have undertaken the…

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Grammar schools helped create a more unequal society

English grammar schools have widened the gap between rich and poor, according to a new study published today. Researchers have reached this conclusion after analysing the pay of more than 2,500 people born between 1961 and 1983. They found a much bigger gap between the wages of the highest and lowest paid individuals born in…

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Bad grammar are bad for branding | Why is marketing becoming increasingly illiterate?

Just in case you haven’t checked in a while, the English language continues a steady slide into the ditch—and it’s not just texting that’s to blame, it’s marketing. Whether online or on the packaging, brands seem to be forgetting the spelling and grammar we all supposedly learned in grade school. A few weeks ago, for example,…

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WTF???!!! Lean punctuation in a world with too many exclamation marks

‘Have we hit peak punctuation?’ asks Megan Garber in The Atlantic. She highlights a growing trend towards excessive, almost epic, levels of punctuation. PEAK PUNCTUATION Even as we exhort writers to use fewer, shorter words, people are using more and more punctuation and quasi-punctuation. For example: Why use one exclamation mark when three or four shouts even more surprise? (‘Prime Rib…

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Homophones | Wreaking havoc on writers and editors everywhere

Homophones are those annoying words that sound exactly alike but have different meanings and are often spelled differently. They give English teachers nightmares, cause headaches for students, and drive editors crazy. We writers need to be diligent about homophones because spell-check won’t catch them, and many readers cite misspelled homophones as pet peeves. And we…

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Simple but effective tools to ensure good grammar in your writing

There are tons of newfangled applications, tools, and other resources and best practices that we writers can use to ensure our writing adheres to the tenets of good grammar. Some writers swear by all the new high-tech apps, and I think it’s smart to give them a whirl and see if they offer any benefits…

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The Bad Grammar awards are prize stupidity

It’s a big night on Thursday at the Idler Academy, which hosts its second annual Bad Grammar awards. The founder Tom Hodgkinson promises “a thrilling X-factor for pedants”. This year’s judges – Jeremy Paxman, restaurateur Rowley Leigh and the Guardian’s own Hadley Freeman – will be assessing a shortlist that includes Tesco (for their “most tastiest” orange…

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