GrammarPhile Blog

Greatest Grammar Hits: Christmas Edition

Posted by Sara Richmond   Dec 23, 2021 10:30:00 AM

People often think Christmas and grammar have nothing to do with each other. But the joy of the season and the giddiness of grammar are inextricably intertwined. To prove this, and to get everyone in the mood for a swashbuckling holiday, I’ve gathered a list of the greatest Christmas grammar hits, some so obscure they’ve never been heard of before (and likely will never be heard of again). In fact, many of the more modern Christmas carols are plagiarized renditions of these oft-forgotten classics.*

These crowd pleasers are remnants of a bygone era of Christmas-loving grammarians and skilled musicians, with something to tickle everyone’s musical fancy.

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5 Tips to Become a Better Speller

Posted by Sara Richmond   Dec 9, 2021 10:30:00 AM

1. If you’re over 10 years old, give up.
2. If you’re under 10 years old, cry.
3. Regardless of your age, write “Aym sadd,” then cry because you don’t know how to spell “I’m” or “sad” correctly.
4. Realize there are only four tips instead of five and cry some more.

Dry your tears, dear reader.

If you are a self-proclaimed “terrible speller,” here are some easy tips to reduce the cringe. We triple counted them, so we know there are definitely five.

But first, let’s attack the myth that English is a horrible hodgepodge of spelling and pronunciation inconsistencies. If you believe this, it is almost certain that you were taught English spelling and pronunciation in a hodgepodge manner. That means there’s a lot of hope for you.

These tips will not only help you spell better, but they’ll also provide more sense and logic to the phonetic dependability of the English language.*

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Topics: misspellings, typos, typographic errors

We’re Grateful for Grammar Mistakes…As Long as They’re Not Ours

Posted by Sara Richmond   Nov 18, 2021 10:35:00 AM


Grammar mistakes are evidence we’re human. And so is the rising fury or amusement when we observe them. For example, I love a good malapropism1 any day of the week. On the other hand, misspellings, unless they’re of the elementary-age variety,2 make me groan, especially in customer-facing text (like web copy, advertisements, and mass emails).

In the spirit of the season, we’re laying aside our outrage and celebrating mistakes. Enjoy the following list of grammar faux pas we love to hate, as reported by our fabulous team of proofreaders, a few relatives, and a random man I struck up a conversation with in a frustratingly long queue.

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Topics: typos, typographic errors, grammar mistakes

Proofread 4 Important Areas of Your Website

Posted by Sara Richmond   Nov 4, 2021 10:45:00 AM

Good web copy is written with the aim of calling visitors to action (buying, engaging, inquiring, etc.) and keeping them on-site as long as possible (to read, be informed, drive better search ranking, etc.). It creates brand awareness, solidifies credibility, and provides communication venues. The best web copy stimulates an avalanche of good press, saves work hours, increases leads, creates more traffic, and builds an active, core audience with loyal buy-in.

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Topics: proofreading tips, website copy, proofreading websites

When to Capitalize North, South, East, and West

Posted by Sara Richmond   Oct 20, 2021 10:30:00 AM

Credit for the original, and extremely popular, blog post, North, East, South or West - Capitalize or Not?, goes to President Phil Jamieson.


The other day, I got lost in the jungle, but luckily, I had a compass with me …

So I was able to draw perfect circles with a pencil.1

Do you feel this way? You have the raw materials (a knowledge of compass directions, the ability to point toward the sun and grunt “east”) but you don’t know “where to go” with them.

If you cringe every time you write a compass direction or a related term, you’ve found the perfect resource.

While there are some distinctions between style guides,2 this post serves as an overview of the most important, well-accepted, and concise d

irections on the subject as it applies to business writing.

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Topics: capitalization

Who vs. Whom: The Easy Way to Remember

Posted by Sara Richmond   Oct 7, 2021 10:30:00 AM

A list of the top five things that tick people off includes toilet paper hung backwards (whichever way that is), the sound of people chewing loudly, and the misuse of who and whom.

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Topics: who, whom

Can You Come Out Tonight?

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Sep 15, 2021 10:30:00 AM

On this day in 1962, the Four Seasons earned their first No. 1 hit with “Sherry.” Frankie Valli had been hard at work trying to become a star for the better part of a decade before the Four Seasons achieved their breakthrough. They had come together as a group in several stages over the previous four years, changing their name in 1961 from the Four Lovers after failing an audition at a New Jersey bowling alley called The Four Seasons. It was keyboard player Bob Gaudio who wrote the song that would launch the group’s career.

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Topics: vocabulary test, word quiz, vocabulary quiz

8 Updates to the Associated Press Stylebook

Posted by Sara Richmond   Sep 9, 2021 10:30:00 AM

When I was 8 years old, I thought all the songs on the radio were being performed live. Whitney Houston sure did sing a lot. I assumed the drummers from my older brother’s favorite “alternative rock” bands probably had to brace their arms in slings during commercial breaks, for all the playing they did. That was how musical artists earned the big money — performing several dozen times a day. It had to be exhausting being in the Top 20.

I don’t remember the moment I realized the songs were all recordings, but I do know that knowledge felt like a bit of a letdown. Just because it made more sense didn’t mean I was eager to adjust my perspective.

There’s a lesson in that. People are generally averse to change even if it’s for the sake of a broadened understanding and a more well-rounded view. We sometimes cling to the past, a perspective, and even the nonsensical simply because it’s our normal. And normal is comfortable. But there’s a way to marry the dependable with developments, specifically when it comes to writing.

You may remember our advice on style guide updates. To summarize: Toss out the old and swaddle the new. It’s whatany reputable style guide does, including AP, which is used by nearly a gazillion people worldwide. (A “gazillion” is hyperbole, a beefed-up form of exaggeration, and frowned upon by AP because it consists of statements that cannot be supported by facts. This clarification adheres to the most recent AP guidance on misinformation.)

If you’re one of those gazillion, check out this brief list of recent updates straight from the AP horse’s mouth*:

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Topics: AP style, Style Guides, Popular Style Guides

How to Develop Your In-House Style Guide

Posted by Sara Richmond   Aug 26, 2021 10:30:00 AM

An in-house style guide can take your life from VCR to VCR+. Despite its imposing name, creating and implementing an in-house style guide is a simple process.

First, go inside your house. A dog or chicken house will also work in a pinch. Next, put on the most fashionable thing you own. Even better: Put on many of the most fashionable things you own. Then, walk back outside and sashay down the sidewalk (bonus points if you drag a leash without an animal attached). Finally, record your neighbors’ reactions in real time and post them on social media for posterity.


If you prefer more specific and factual instructions, here are six quick tips on how to nail down a comprehensive and practical in-house style guide.

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Topics: style guide

Tagline Contest Winner!

Posted by Sara Richmond   Aug 12, 2021 10:30:00 AM

The public has spoken, and native Canadian Maureen McLeod is our winner!

(We became aware that the formerly published tagline, though not intended for use in any capacity beside this contest, is coincidentally in use in a very similar form by another company. Out of respect, we’ve preemptively removed the winning tagline from this blog post.)

Maureen writes limericks for fun. Her friends tell her she could be a Jeopardy star, but she slams the competition from the comfort of her home. When her children were four and eleven years old, she and her husband sold their house and vehicles, packed their belongings into a second-hand camper, and traveled around the United States for 10 months. Just for fun. “He was adventurous,” she says.

In short, Maureen is “good people.”

It should come as no surprise then, that she won our Tagline Contest. Her liveliness is paired fairly with a delightful sense of humor. More specifically to the point, she has been wielding the English language with aplomb and precision for decades.

She grew up in a small community in Northern Alberta. “A tiny, hamlet town,” she says. Her father was the school principal, and despite the fact that there was no library, he always found ways to get them books. Those stories opened up her world and set her on a path to her love of knowledge and the English language.

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Topics: contest

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