GrammarPhile Blog

Terri Porter

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Putting Only in Its Place

Posted by Terri Porter   May 25, 2016 7:30:00 AM

For being such a small word, only wreaks a lot of havoc — largely because it’s probably the most frequently misplaced word in the English language.

Its proper placement is immediately before the word or phrase it modifies. The farther it strays, the more likely ambiguity will result.

Consider these examples:

     Only Sarah sees clients on Mondays and Wednesdays.
     Sarah only sees clients on Mondays and Wednesdays.
     Sarah sees only clients on Mondays and Wednesdays.
     Sarah sees clients only on Mondays and Wednesdays.

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Topics: placement of only

Trim Prepositional Phrases for Leaner Writing

Posted by Terri Porter   May 11, 2016 7:30:00 AM

A reader recently wrote to our Ask the Grammar Experts service about how to reduce the use of multiple prepositional phrases in writing. We offer five tips below for doing just that. But first, let’s look at why multiple prepositional phrases can be problematic. Consider this sentence:

None of the reports about the company’s current performance compared with last year’s provided members of the board with an understanding of the reasons for the drastic decline in profits.

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Topics: prepositions, prepositional phrases

Break Your Bizspeak Addiction

Posted by Terri Porter   Apr 28, 2016 5:30:00 AM

Below are some excerpts from several emails I’ve received just in the past week … all from different people:

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Topics: bizspeak, buzzwords

3 Quick Writing Fixes for Law Firms

Posted by Terri Porter   Apr 21, 2016 7:30:00 AM

We see a variety of law firm documents come through ProofreadNOW.com — marketing (client alerts, blog posts, attorney bios, practice area brochures, website copy), business development (RFP responses, pitches) and legal (briefs, pleadings). Some of the writing is excellent, and, well … some isn’t.

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Topics: legal writing, readability

No Time Like the Present

Posted by Terri Porter   Apr 7, 2016 5:30:00 AM

 

We’ve seen a spate of errors recently in the use of time-related modifiers such as former, current, presently, last and past. So we figured it’s about time we talked about time. 

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Topics: time-related modifiers

10 Words Businesspeople Commonly Mispronounce

Posted by Terri Porter   Mar 31, 2016 5:30:00 AM

When I was a teenager (in the Dark Ages), my younger sister was reading a book passage aloud to our mom and me. She came to a word she didn’t recognize, paused, then came out with “muh-LANK-o-lee filled her days.” Mom immediately burst into laughter while I was still trying to figure out what my sister was saying. The word was melancholy — not an easy one for a 12-year-old, even a well-read one, to figure out.

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Topics: correct pronunciation, pronunciation

Campaign Trail Littered with Typos

Posted by Terri Porter   Mar 24, 2016 7:30:00 AM

We’re only about halfway through the primaries, and I don’t know about you, but I’m politically exhausted. As an antidote to the regular assault of poisonous barbs and diatribes flying about at every turn, we offer a lighthearted look at some of the more notable typos and grammatical gaffes made by politicians past and present. 

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Topics: typos, typographic errors, typographical errors

Singling Out Collective Nouns

Posted by Terri Porter   Mar 17, 2016 7:30:00 AM

In our recent quiz, the word choice that most respondents struggled with was this one:

Whether a majority of Republican voters [deem / deems] Donald Trump electable remains to be seen.

Deem is the correct answer, and, as promised, this week’s post explains why.

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Topics: collective noun

The Votes Are in, and the Winner Is …

Posted by Terri Porter   Mar 9, 2016 7:00:00 AM



Thanks to everyone who entered our proofreading quiz last week. Congratulations to Piyush Bakshi, who was the first of five respondents to answer all 15 questions correctly (of 134 total respondents). For his proofreading prowess, Piyush wins a $25 Amazon gift card … a timely salute to National Proofreading Day on March 8.

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Topics: proofreading quiz answers, proofreading quiz

Cast Your Votes for the Correct Answers in Our Proofreading Quiz

Posted by Terri Porter   Mar 3, 2016 7:00:00 AM

Presidential primaries and caucuses were front and center this week on Super Tuesday. In that same spirit, we’ve decided to do a little polling too — in the form of a proofreading quiz. The format’s a little different than what we’ve done before, but the prize is the same: a $25 Amazon gift card for the person who submits the most correct answers. In the event of a tie, the earlier submission wins.

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Topics: proofreadinq quiz

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