Why learning to “right” ‘gorgeous’ sentences isn’t enough

learning grammar fundamentals

Students who can’t write complete sentences deserve a hall pass, according to teachers who were interviewed for an Aug. 2, 2017, article in The New York Times. “A Wakeup Call on Writing Instruction (Now, What’s an Adverb?)” suggests that learning grammar fundamentals stifles creativity. The Snapchat generation is woefully lacking in grammar basics. Three-quarters of […]

Read More…

 

He chose … poorly. What does your word choice say about your business?

Malapropism is one of my favorite words. It sounds like a deadly disease for old boats, but it means you said something that was really close to – but not quite – the word you meant … and people laughed. Named for Mrs. Malaprop, the character in Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s play, “The Rivals,” the most commonly […]

Read More…

 

Contributing to the English language

“If he or she makes more than $250,000 annually, then his or her refund is reduced by $2,100.” You’ve no doubt read a sentence like this and wished our linguistic forefathers had used a little more linguistic foresight before creating such a cumbersome way to describe this well-compensated, gender-neutral person who’s now out a few thousand […]

Read More…

 

Homonyms 101: Don’t dye trying

Homonyms are by far the most agreeable of the commonly known grammatical -nyms. Antonyms can never see eye-to-eye; synonyms are unoriginal; homonyms are a different breed. Despite their audible similarity, however, homonyms can give you the slip. They are the shifty con men of the verbal universe – just when you think you’ve figured them […]

Read More…

 

5 must-read grammar tips

In homage to The Oatmeal’s charming illustration of the perils of 10 commonly misspelled and misused words, I present five of my very (least) favorite grammar missteps. Enjoy some more words and phrases you or someone you know is using incorrectly, whether it’s in everyday conversation or in marketing materials and other business communications. Let’s […]

Read More…

 

Diagramming sentences: What’s that?

Trying to ease back into Style Guru mode on the heels of vacation is a fruitless endeavor. My mind is focused on mountains, vineyards and sunsets – not dangling modifiers, misplaced clauses and subject-verb agreement. Between winery tours in Virginia, one of my friends, who teaches reading in elementary school, told me that schools no […]

Read More…