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Phil Jamieson

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Navigating the Different Types of Compounds

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Jan 18, 2019 7:30:00 AM

Writers use compound words and sentences to add a little more color to their writing. But they can be tricky to write correctly, even for those who review written materials every day and stay up to date on new dictionary entries and yearly amendments to the more popular style guides.

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Topics: compound words, compound nouns, compound verbs, compound modifiers, compound sentences

Will Software Replace Human Writers?

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Dec 14, 2018 10:49:11 AM

Many professionals and job seekers think that technology enhanced with artificial intelligence (AI) will automate most (if not all) occupations within the next decade or so, while others aren’t yet convinced.

Some professionals believe that grammar-checking software, for instance, is the first step to replacing human writers and editors. And then there are services that will auto-write “textual content” for you.

But what do you think? Do you think that robots or software enhanced with AI will be able to completely replace human writers, editors, and proofreaders in the near or distant future? Keep reading to learn more.

How Grammar-Checking Software Works

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Topics: artificial intelligence, grammar checker

Advanced Syntax and Grammar Quiz

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Nov 30, 2018 8:03:59 AM

Do you know how to properly place and arrange words in a phrase, clause, or sentence—for every sentence you write? Or do you sometimes wonder when a comma is needed and where to place it in a sentence? Or whether you placed a modifier or an article in the right place?

Take this advanced syntax and grammar quiz to test your knowledge, and to see what you know. And then share your scores with us in the comments below. Also, be sure to share this quiz with other grammar aficionados, so they can test their grammar knowledge. Good luck!

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Topics: grammar errors, grammar quiz

8 Tips for Understanding, Learning, and Teaching Grammar Concepts

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Nov 1, 2018 7:30:00 AM

One poll highlighted by the Huffington Post revealed that most people are okay with using improper grammar in texts and emails. And then there are those of us who cringe every time a word is misspelled, a pronoun is misused, or an article or period is missing from a sentence … yes, even in text messages.

While we could blame technology for the downward spiral of proper grammar usage in everyday writing and communication, one could also argue that a lot of improper grammar usage boils down to how we understand, learn, and teach core grammar concepts (also known as the dumbing down of our culture).  

Here are eight tips and reminders for understanding, learning, and teaching grammar concepts. Think of this blog post as your helpful cheat sheet when you’re trying to figure out a grammar problem. (Keep in mind, though, this is not an exhaustive list of every grammar rule or technique out there.)

1. Remember the Eight Parts of Speech

Every real word is a “part of speech.” The function a word serves in a sentence is what makes it whatever part of speech it is. And it is possible for one word to serve as more than one part of speech even in one sentence.

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Topics: grammar rules, grammar errors, grammar

QUIZ: Can You Spot All the Grammar Mistakes?

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Oct 19, 2018 7:30:00 AM

Do you consider yourself a grammar aficionado, a.k.a. a grammar geek?

Do you know how to avoid common grammar mistakes, and can you easily spot them when they’re in a sentence?

Do you know how to properly use hyphens, dashes, and commas?

Take this quiz. See if you can correctly identify all the grammar mistakes, and then share your results with us and others (if you’re brave). And be sure to share this quiz with others too.

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Topics: grammar quiz, quiz, punctuation quiz

What You Need to Know About Comma Usage

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Oct 4, 2018 7:30:00 AM

Has anyone ever told you that you should insert a comma into a sentence every time you take a breath as you read the sentence aloud? Most of us probably have. But that doesn’t mean it’s a grammar rule that should be widely accepted or slavishly followed.  

Below you’ll find more practical and grammatically validated information about comma usage.  

Commas and Conjunctions

Commas should always be used when you’re using coordinating conjunctions to join two independent clauses in a sentence. FANBOYS (For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So) is a helpful mnemonic device for remembering common coordinating conjunctions. Those words function as connectors in a sentence.

Example: He wanted to go to the movies, but I wanted to go out to dinner.

Note: Be aware of FANBOYS imposters that are commonly used in sentences, such as “however,” “therefore,” “moreover,” etc. Those words are conjunctive adverbs. Oftentimes when they’re used in between two independent clauses in a sentence, they can be removed to form two complete sentences instead. For example, consider this sentence: “The moon was bright, however, the forest still remained dark.” It can be changed to read: “The moon was bright. The forest still remained dark.”

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Topics: Comma, Oxford comma

Quiz: Match Each Famous Author to His or Her Advice About Writing

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Sep 20, 2018 7:30:00 AM

What words of inspiration or truth have encouraged you to become a better writer over the years, or have encouraged you to begin writing at all? What keeps you motivated and focused while you write? Have you acquired or heeded any advice about writing from some of the world’s greatest authors? And if so, from whom?

Take our quiz to see if you can match each piece of advice about writing with its famous author. And share what your favorite advice about writing is in the comments below.

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Topics: quiz

Marketers and Writers — What’s the Difference?

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Sep 6, 2018 7:30:09 AM

As the online world has become more saturated with written content in the past couple of decades, the distinctions between what marketers do and what writers do have become extremely blurred. At first it may not seem obvious that such once-distinct professions are melding together, depending on your own profession. But it’s true. After all, why do employers seem to think that marketers should have top-rated writing skills? And why do employers and online entities believe their marketers should write digital content? Further, why do writers need an excellent online presence and digital marketing skills to get their content read and shared online?

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Topics: content, marketing writing, writing

Do You Know the Etymology of These Common Words, Phrases, and Colloquialisms?

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Jul 19, 2018 7:30:00 AM

The English language is always growing and changing, with hundreds of words being added to the dictionary each year. And understanding how our words and common phrases originated and continue to change over time is fascinating.

Studying etymology allows us to better understand our world and its history, the people in it, and the way we communicate with one another.

Take the quiz below to see if you know the origins of some common words, phrases, and colloquialisms we use. Share your results and comments with us below and share this quiz with others who might enjoy it too!

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Topics: vocabulary, vocabulary quiz

Grammar Drama: The 10 Most Hotly Debated Topics in Grammar

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Jun 21, 2018 9:17:43 AM

Because the English language continues to evolve and change over time, grammar is not a subject exempt from hot debate, especially among professional writers, editors, and proofreaders.

Here’s a list of the ten most hotly debated topics in grammar. Take a gander and then share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

1. The Oxford Comma

It seems like the debate about whether to use the Oxford comma (a.k.a. the “serial comma”) will always be around. Some style guides petition for it to be used and others contend that it should never be used. So, who’s “right”? We may never know for sure.

Examples

With the Oxford Comma: I would like to make apple, raspberry and blueberry, and peach pies for the festival.

Without the Oxford Comma: I would like to make apple, raspberry and blueberry and peach pies for the festival.

Read The Oxford Comma: Use It or Ditch It? to learn more details about this long-standing grammar debate.

2. Two Spaces After a Period

Before word processors and computers were widely used, typewriters were used to type important documents, and it was common practice to insert two spaces after every sentence typed with a typewriter for better readability. Some businesses, industries, and teachers still require individuals typing documents on word processors now to insert two spaces after every period. Yet others think that doing this makes things harder to read.

Examples

With Two Spaces: Bob arrived to the meeting late.  At the meeting we discussed the budget.  

Without Two Spaces: Bob arrived to the meeting late. At the meeting we discussed the budget.  

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Topics: grammar

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