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…

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…

Bimonthly vs. Semimonthly

Bi- is a prefix meaning two or twice; semi- is a prefix meaning half. There is debate surrounding the actual definition of bi- being both two and twice, although semi- is always half. Assuming bi- can be two or twice, bimonthly can be every two months or twice a month, which is a bit confusing…

Hanged vs. Hung

The past tense verbs for “hang” are hanged and hung, which can get a bit confusing when deciding the right form to use. Hanged is used when referring to an execution or death by hanging (example: As punishment for trying to escape, captured slaves were often hanged. Hung is used for suspended objects, such as…

Principal vs. Principle

Do you confuse principal and principle? Here’s help! Principal (a noun) ends in “pal” and generally refers to people in leadership positions that you want to be your “pals” (a leader of a school, a company, or other entity). Principal can also mean the amount of a loan before interest is charged; if you need…

Punctuating Titles Made Simple

Put simply, italicize (or underline) titles of larger works, such as books, magazines, newspapers, plays, movies, tv shows, works of art, music albums, and long musical works. Put quotation marks around titles of smaller works that appear inside the larger works, such as articles, stories, poems, essays, chapters, songs, and short musical works. Helpful hint:…

Compliment vs. Complement

Most people don’t realize that complement is a word and mistakenly use compliment in its place. Here’s the difference: Compliment is an expression of praise (noun) or to offer an expression of praise (verb). For example, “Thank you for the compliment on my promotion.”/ “He complimented me on my promotion.” Complement is something that completes…

Farther vs. Further

Although the two can just about be used interchangeably, farther should only be used for physical distances (think of its root word “far”): “My house is farther from school than yours.” Further refers to additional and also non-physical distance: “Further studies show the importance of studying grammar.”/ “Do you wish to further our conversation tomorrow?”…

Lie vs. Lay

Confused about when to use lie or lay? Here’s the solution! To lie means to rest or recline, like “I lie down when I am sick.” The verb tenses of lie are lying, lay, and lain (notice that the past tense of lie is lay). To lay means to set down a thing or person…

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