Tag Archives: grammar

Redundancies Make Me Want To Scream!

screaming_womanDo you have days when what should be minor irritations really get on your nerves?

So do I.

Are you sometimes so bombarded by messages from every source — human and electronic — that you’re on constant overload?

So am I.

With the amount of communication we all need to process daily, we owe it to each other to make our messages concise. That means avoiding redundancies.

Reminder: To see if a word might be redundant, question whether it is necessary for the reader to understand your message:
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Benefited vs. Benefitted: Single or Double t?

small_letter_tI’ve written in past blogs about whether you should double the t before adding ed or ing to benefit.

Because I often see benefitted and benefitting, I decided it was time to check other grammar sources:

The Associated Press Stylebook
The Chicago Manual of Style
Webster’s New World College Dictionary
grammarist.com
merriam-webster.com

All five agree that you generally double the final consonant and add ed or ing to words that end with a consonant: Continue

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Toward/s, Forward/s, Backward/s: To s Or Not To s?

man_walks_toward_lakeDo you say or write:

• He walked toward (or towards?) the lake.
• Let’s move forward (or forwards?) with our plan.
• She stepped backward (or backwards?) and stumbled off the porch.

Many sources say either works, but most suggest no s with toward, forward or backward in American English. Similar words that do not need an s are upward, onward, downward and afterward. Continue

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Content vs. Contents: What’s The Difference?

moving_boxes_contentsA colleague who was helping a family member move brought up content vs. contents. In her role as a technology expert, she deals with content in terms of words and images incorporated into websites, blogs and other electronic media.

But as a moving helper, she was dealing with the contents of a house and garage.

My google search proved that a seemingly direct word really is anything but. Here’s what I discovered: Continue

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Got Grammar Pet Peeves? You’re Not Alone

annoyed_grammar_pet_peevesI invited those of you on my email list to share your grammar pet peeves, and the results are in!

First: What is grammar? Grammar encompasses the words we choose and how we punctuate them — how we string them together.

Words give our sentences meaning, and punctuation marks tell us when to pause or stop, when to raise our voice or show emotion, when we’re asking a question versus making a statement.

Here are your pet peeves: ways others speak and write that you find annoying. They’re alphabetized so you can skim and select what interests or resonates with you. I’ve commented here and there and added examples. Continue

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Are You Diagnosed With A Disease Or With Tests And Analysis?

Veterinarian_diagnoses_catWhile editing a letter as part of a client’s application to veterinary school, I encountered the word diagnose.

We all use or hear diagnose at some point in our lives, whether it relates to our own health or that of a family member, friend, work colleague — or a pet.

Does a physician or veterinarian diagnose a patient or a disease? In other words, which do you say:

“He was diagnosed with pneumonia.”
“He was diagnosed as having pneumonia.”

Or might you say, “X-rays were used to diagnose his pneumonia”?

It’s a fine line, but there is a grammatical difference. Continue

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Grammatical Errors Sabotage Writer’s Message, Credibility

Embarrassing_Grammar_MistakesWhen this headline written by a member of one of my LinkedIn groups hit my inbox, I did a double take:
Is you Networking, Notworking?

Although it’s catchy, I clicked on the link to see if the errors — you instead of your, no capital Y, and a comma where none is needed — were intentional as a means to attract attention or whether they truly were oversights.

When I read further, I decided they had to be oversights, as these faux pas were only the beginning. Continue

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Misused Words: Did I Just Say That?!

man grimacing

I commented recently to a writer/editor friend that I have long considered there’s the most misused word in the English language. She gave me a puzzled look, as if to disagree but lacking evidence.

I could fill this page — or maybe a book! — with examples. Consider this sampling from weather forecasters to legislators, from financial specialists to everyday people. Continue

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Report Of Alligator In Restaurant Delivers Plan vs. Preplan And Other Grammar Lessons

Alligator photo - alligator in the newsAn astute reader of this blog sent me a link to a report about an alligator named Albert who made a three-hour appearance at a new Midwest restaurant as part of a grand-opening event.

The restaurant owner could be considered short of possessing common sense, not to mention lacking understanding of safety and sanitation codes.

The writer of the article also could be considered short of something — short of possessing what my reader and I consider a mastery of grammar.

Consider this for starters: Continue

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