GrammarPhile Blog

The End of the English Language?

Posted by Terri Porter   Jan 14, 2016 7:00:00 AM

 

Consider this sentence: Ask your friend if they want to join us for dinner.

If you’re among those who would automatically change they want to he or she wants, you’re about to shudder (or perhaps become apoplectic). Last week, the American Dialect Society (ADS) announced that singular they is its Word of the Year for 2015.

Never mind that singular they is already common in American speech … or that Shakespeare and Jane Austen regularly used it … or that last year the Washington Post style guide officially adopted this aberration. You know in your heart of hearts that it’s just plain wrong.

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Topics: pronouns, singular they

As You Like It ... or Not

Posted by Terri Porter   Jun 11, 2015 4:30:00 AM

This week we wrap up our three-part miniseries on pronouns by taking on one of the most hotly debated grammar questions — the use of like versus as — and how your choices will dictate which pronouns you use.

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Topics: conjunctions, pronouns, prepositions, like

Pronouns with Comparatives: More than Meets the I

Posted by Terri Porter   Jun 4, 2015 4:30:00 AM

Mark Twain may not have been talking about pronouns when he said “Comparison is the death of joy,” but the sentiment somehow fits. Just ask anyone who struggles with figuring out which pronouns to use with comparatives such as than, as and like.

How can three little words wreak so much havoc with pronouns? The short answer is that all three words can perform multiple functions in a sentence, and when the function isn’t clear, the resulting usage is mixed.

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Topics: conjunctions, pronouns, prepositions, pronouns with than, comparatives

We Have Met the Enemy, and It Is Pronouns

Posted by Terri Porter   May 28, 2015 6:00:00 AM

Being an editor means never having time off. If only we could flip a switch to turn off whatever mechanism it is that forces us to notice spelling and grammatical errors everywhere. Sure, sometimes it’s a source of amusement, like this sign I saw while eating breakfast across the street from that establishment, but much of the time it’s downright painful.

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Topics: pronouns, plural pronouns, singular pronouns

April Aggravations Tourney Winners

Posted by Terri Porter   Apr 15, 2015 4:30:00 AM

Reflexive Pronouns Crowned Tourney Champ

Beating back the persistent Plurals/Possessives in overtime, Reflexive Pronouns narrowly won our April Aggravations tourney. Both had advanced to the final round after Plurals handily beat One Word or Two, and Reflexive edged the upstart Misplaced Modifiers in the Final Four.

We couldn’t have asked for a more exciting championship, as the two teams traded the lead throughout both regulation and overtime. But a last-minute surge by Plurals/Possessive’s fell short, and Reflexive Pronouns itself emerged victorious.

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Topics: homonyms, possessives, pronouns, grammatical errors, reflexive pronouns, collective noun, plurals, government-related words

April Aggravations: Antidote for March Madness Letdown

Posted by Terri Porter   Apr 9, 2015 6:30:00 AM

March Madness refers to the excitement, fervor and general craziness surrounding the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, during which upsets, buzzer beaters and rowdy celebrations are the norm. That all ended Monday night with Duke edging Wisconsin to claim its fifth national championship. Or did it?

For those who simply can’t wait another year, we offer our own version of the playoffs, with a grammatical twist: April Aggravations. Below you’ll find our Elite Eight list of contenders competing for the coveted title of “Most Annoying Grammatical Error Ever,” collected from our editors here at ProofreadNOW.com.

Let us know in the comments below which ones you’d send to the Final Four, which two will end up competing for the championship and, finally, which error will win it all as “most annoying.” We’ll crown the winning pet peeve in next week’s post. Also let us know about others that grate on your nerves, and we’ll add them to the pool of contenders for our next grammatical error playoff.

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Topics: homonyms, possessives, pronouns, grammatical errors, plurals

Pronoun Paranoia

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Aug 28, 2013 6:30:00 AM

The misuse of pronouns is the most common mistake people in all walks of life make. Fumbled pronouns are distractions, and they can kill your proposal, or your brochure, or your white paper, or even your sermon. You've heard us rail against public figures for swerving their pronouns. Well, it does drive us crazy, to the point where we want to send our daughters' grammar-challenged boyfriends off to the bookstore whenever they violate even the simplest rules of pronouns. (Hey, we can try, can't we?)

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Topics: pronouns

It's me or It's I?

Posted by Phil Jamieson   May 1, 2013 6:30:00 AM

You're trying to make the right impression as you knock on the door of your blind date's apartment, or on the door of the personnel manager who has your job application. "Who's there?" you're asked. What's your reply? If you've ever been unsure, read on.

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Topics: subject complements, complements, pronouns

Video: Reflexive Pronouns - Yourself? Myself?

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Mar 13, 2013 5:30:00 AM

When, if ever, is it correct to use the pronoun yourself or myself? Watch this short video to find out!

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Topics: GrammarTip video, Video, pronouns

Antecedent Agreement

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Dec 12, 2012 6:30:00 AM

The word antecedent is a fancy name for a substantive word, phrase, or clause whose denotation is referred to by a pronoun.

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Topics: antecedents, pronouns

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