Friday, September 30, 2011

Avoidance Tactics: Common English Mistakes

by Laura K. Lawless, writer at

Everyone makes mistakes when writing, sometimes due to simple typos, and other times because they just don’t know any better. Most people can spot their own typos when proofreading, but that only works when you know that it’s a mistake—what about when you don’t? Even native speakers mix up words that either look similar or have similar meanings, but there are simple techniques that can help you avoid some of these common mistakes.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How to Write Better Essays: 5 Concepts You Must Master

Your teacher hands you a graded essay. What do you look at first? Most college students turn their attention to the letter grade or percentage score. If it’s high, they are happy. If it’s low, they are disappointed. Many students end the review process at this point. What about you? If you want to write better essays, you will need to understand the criteria teachers use to score them.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How much grammar should educators know? Let us know!

What is your opinion of this controversial topic? What role do you think educators play in grammar and writing education?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

If you are interested in more, check out last week’s poll.

Monday, September 26, 2011

What Does Ikr Mean?

  • Ikr stands for I know, right.
  • Use ikr to agree with something someone said.

While some of the phrases used in text speak originated in that medium, others, like ikr, are adopted from everyday life.

The Meaning of Ikr

Ikr is an abbreviation for the phrase “I know, right.” The phrase first appeared during the early 1990s, and its first uses in electronic communication can be traced back to at least 2004.

Friday, September 23, 2011

7 Ghoulish Grammar Gaffes That Will Give You Chills

If you’re too old to be frightened by scary costumes, and you’ve watched so many horror movies that nothing can give you the chills anymore, you might think you’re preparing for a thrill-free Halloween. But we beg to differ. Creepier than the most realistic Halloween costumes, darker than the most terrifying horror movies, there are grammar mistakes—ghoulish and gnarly and gloomy and many other adjectives starting with the letter g.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How do you prefer to read books?

This poll is part of a series that Grammarly is running aimed at better understanding how the public feels about writing, language learning, and grammar.

Please take the poll and share your thoughts in the comments. We can’t wait to hear from you!

If you are interested in more, check out last week’s poll.

Monday, September 19, 2011

7 Tips for Writing for Work and Job Searching

by Alison Doyle, Job Search Expert,

Whether you’re sending an email for work or writing a cover letter for a resumé, it’s important to remember that this is professional writing, not personal. Your writing ability reflects on you as an employee or a prospective employee.

It’s important to take the time to carefully write, edit and proofread all your correspondence before you click Send or upload a document online.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lies Your English Teacher Taught You: Prepositions

Guest post from Brent Calderwood

Writing is like painting. You have to know the rules before you can start experimenting with them. Think about it: Picasso had to paint a lot of pictures of horses with four legs before he started putting noses on people’s foreheads. It’s the same way with words. Good authors are playful and innovative with the English language, but they had to learn the basics first.

Funner vs. More Fun

  • As a noun, fun means enjoyment.
  • Fun is not universally accepted as an adjective. People who do accept it as an adjective seem to prefer more fun and most fun over funner and funnest.

Whether fun or more fun is correct seems like a simple question, but the answer isn’t exactly straightforward. To understand, you must examine the background of the word fun. Let’s get started.

Fun, the Noun

Fun is enjoyment, or something that provides amusement.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Top 5 Books on Copywriting

Words influence our thoughts, our decisions, and our actions. They have a palpable effect on our lives. You can accomplish anything by saying the right word to the right person at the right time. That’s the power of words. (And of good timing, but mostly of words.) No one is more acutely aware of this than copywriters—people who use words to persuade other people to do something, like buying a service or a product.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Does Cursive Still Matter for Children?

By Laura Wallis for The Stir by CafeMom

When I was a kid my family moved a few times. Once, I had just started the third grade, and my class was beginning the cursive writing unit. When I arrived at my new school, that lesson was already done. So I was left to teach the skill to myself, by following the letter charts above the blackboard.

To this day, my handwriting is atrocious. But does it really matter?

Friday, September 9, 2011

7 Tips for Formulating the Perfect Five-Paragraph Essay.

Do you want to write a five-paragraph essay that makes your mama proud? In case you missed it, here’s the secret ingredient: structure. These seven tips will help you formulate the perfect five-paragraph essay.

Start With an Outline

Mapping out your essay before you begin writing helps you stay on point. Start by jotting down the following subheads, inserting ideas and research as you see fit.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Masters Degree or Master’s Degree?

  • The correct way to spell master’s degree is with the apostrophe.
  • The s in master’s indicates a possessive (the degree of a master), not a plural.
  • If you’re speaking of a specific degree, you should capitalize master and avoid creating a possessive: Master of Science.
  • The same rules apply to a bachelor’s degree.

You don’t have to be a bachelor to get a bachelor’s degree, but you do need to demonstrate mastery to get a master’s degree.

Monday, September 5, 2011

What is the Difference Between ‘Used to Cook,’ ‘Used to Cooking,’ and ‘Got Used to Cooking’?

Guest Post By Akmal Akbarov at

Have you ever wondered about the difference between “I used to cook every morning,” where we don’t add –ing to the verb ‘cook,’ and “I am used to cooking every morning”?

If you’re confused about the difference, I am going to explain everything in detail. I am sure you will be able to get the hang of it. 🙂

Let’s go!

‘Used to + verb’ for past events

Whenever you talk about events that happened a long time ago but don’t normally happen now, you should use this formula.

Friday, September 2, 2011

What Are Ghost Words?

Do you know what a dord is? No? Well, don’t try looking it up in the dictionary, unless the dictionary is Webster’s Second New International Dictionary of 1934. This strange little word appeared only in that one edition, and it spent a whole five years there, happily, before being discovered as a fake. You see, “dord” isn’t a real word, even though it appeared in a dictionary. It was the result of someone misreading a note written by Austin M.