Is Your Writing Offensive? How to Use Inclusive, Politically Correct Language

“If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.” -Robert F. Kennedy…

Two, Second or Secondly? Cardinal and Ordinal Numbers Explained

Cardinal numbers indicate how many, and ordinal numbers indicate a position. For example, “two” tells us that we have two of something. “Second,” the ordinal counterpart of “two,” tells us that someone/something is second from the first in line, ranking or any other type of order. A good way to remember this distinction is that…

Proofreading Pointers…Presto!

Use this “proofreading pointers” checklist for impressive writing in no time flat! Do subjects and verbs agree in number (singular vs. plural)? Do verb tenses correctly indicate timing and completion of actions? Do pronouns and the nouns they replace (antecedents) agree in number (singular vs. plural)? Do pronouns reflect the right gender and form (subjective vs. objective…

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.)….

What Is Grammar Anyway?

National Grammar Day is a U.S. holiday that comes every March 4th. Most people do not know and probably do not care about this holiday that pales in comparison to other late winter/ early spring festive holidays such as Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, and even Groundhog Day. However, when it comes to academic…

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…