Dangling and Misplaced Modifiers Leave Readers Confused!

A modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that adds detail to, clarifies, or changes meaning in a sentence. Modifiers infuse writing with description and life. To work effectively, modifiers must be placed properly in a sentence. If the noun is separated from and doesn’t appear next to the modifier, the error is a misplaced…

Me, Myself, and I

“Me,” “myself,” and “I” are all first-person pronouns, but they are not interchangeable. “I” and “me” are personal pronouns; “I” is subjective (functions as a subject in a sentence) and “me” is objective (functions as an object in a sentence). “Myself” is a reflexive pronoun, so it reflects back to a noun or pronoun already used, either to…

Who vs. Whom

“Who” is a 1st-person subjective pronoun that completes/does the action. “Whom” is a 3rd-person objective pronoun that is the object of the verb (action) or preposition. Here is quick trick to use when figuring out whether to use “who” or “whom”: If you can substitute “he” (another 1st-person pronoun), then use “who,” and if you…

Independent & Dependent Clauses vs. Phrases: Know the Parts of a Sentence

A clause must have a subject and a verb, whether it is independent or dependent. An independent clause expresses a complete idea that can stand alone (example: “Tony jumped the fence.”). A dependent clause does not express a complete idea; although it has a subject and a verb, it needs additional information to complete the…

Commonly Used Words with Alternate Spellings: Take Your Pick!

There are many words that can be spelled multiple ways, adding to the confusion that surrounds the English language. Usually, one version is preferred over or used more commonly than the other, making alternate spellings appear wrong. Most of the preferred versions are simply shorter, which is not surprising with today’s language trends to write…

Is It Okay to End a Sentence with a Preposition?

Many of us learned that it is incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition. Prepositions generally establish a relationship between other words or clauses, such as a relationship in time or position, an explanation of how something is done, the reason behind something, or possession (above, after, beneath, beside, during, for, with, up, etc.)….

How to Use the Semicolon

Think of the semicolon (;) as an alternative to using a period or comma. It is a bit weaker than a period and a bit stronger than a comma when it is used to connect two independent clauses. Most people either use a period to write the two independent clauses as separate sentences (example: “Thick…

Is It Okay to Start a Sentence with “And” or “But”?

Is it okay to start a sentence with “and” or “but”? The answer is yes, provided you follow these pointers. From the time we learn to write, many teachers have drummed into our heads that it is incorrect and unacceptable to begin a sentence with “and” or “but,” but the majority of grammar and usage…

Awhile vs. a While

“Awhile” is an adverb that means to do something for some amount of time. The job of an adverb is to add meaning to verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. For example, “I will work awhile and then take a break.” “A while,” on the other hand, is a noun meaning “a time.” The “a” is…

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