GrammarPhile Blog

Falling into a Common Grammar Pit

Posted by Sara Richmond   Jan 14, 2021 10:12:18 AM

Pete Linforth from Pixabay" width="300" style="width: 300px; float: left; margin: 0px 10px 10px 0px;">“A linguistics professor was lecturing to his class one day. ‘In English,’ he said, ‘a double negative forms a positive. In some languages though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative.’

‘However,’ he pointed out, ‘there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative.’

A voice from the back of the room piped up, ‘Yeah, right.’”1

If you consider the primary meaning of pitfall, a pit flimsily covered or camouflaged and used to capture and hold animals or men,2 and you continually commit grammatical faux pas (or fox paws as I like to call them), you may arrive at the conclusion that English is out to get you. It’s a cynical but understandable assumption, one shared by many.

After all, we speak and write a language in which “farmer” could be spelled, among many alternatives, “pharrembar.” Given the fact that “ph” makes an “f” sound, “arre” can make a pirate sound, the phonogram “mb” has a silent “b,” and “ar” sounds like “er” in words like “collar” (or “ur,” depending on your dialect or idiolect), this is a reasonable and logical conclusion. It’s also enough to drive people crazy.

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Topics: grammar, grammar errors, grammar rules

Are Grammar Rules Different for Different Professions?

Posted by Kelly Creighton   Dec 6, 2018 7:30:00 AM

Writing would be much easier to do and understand if there were hard and fast grammar rules that never change or fluctuate. Yet that would also make it a lot less fun and interesting … which would mean that there would be fewer writers, editors, and readers in the world.  

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Topics: grammar rules

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, grammar errors, grammar rules

Grammar Rules You Can and Should Break in Your Marketing Copy

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Feb 23, 2017 7:30:00 AM

 

As a writer and a professional, you should always strive to be grammatically correct. However, there are times when it’s less important to follow strict grammar rules and more important to connect with your audience. Especially when you’re attempting to inform or persuade an audience about an idea or product.

You can’t truly connect with your audience if you aren’t speaking their language. And if you truly want to speak their language, you will be conversational yet professional in your copy. Sometimes this means you’ll have to break some of the rules, like the ones listed below.

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Topics: grammar, grammar rules

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