Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Two-minute Grammar: The Bare-bones Basics of Prepositions

“Vampires! Zombies! Werewolves!” “Where?!” “Behind you!”

Thank goodness for prepositions. Imagine not knowing where the danger lay!

Prepositions tell us where or when something is in relation to something else. When monsters are sneaking up on you, it is good to have these special words to tell us where those monsters are. Are they behind us or in front of us; are they near or far; will they be arriving in three seconds or at midnight?

Monday, January 30, 2012

When to Use Accept vs. Except

  • Accept means to agree or to receive something offered.
  • Except means excluding or with the exception of.
  • The ex- of except can help you to remember that it means excluding.

Do you have trouble remembering when to use accept and when to use except? Learn how these two words differ and how they function.

When to use Accept

Accept is a verb. Accept means to agree or to take something offered.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Off the beaten path: NaNoWriMo Writing Tips

Guest post from Matthew Quinn

It’s been said that everybody has got a book in them, but in these days of the big publishers consolidating, the small presses overwhelmed with submissions, and truly vast offerings available via self-publishing platforms like Kindle Direct and Smashwords, it’s more important than ever that people’s work stand out.

So here are some tips to make your NaNoWriMo project pop:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dreamed or Dreamt

Is there a difference between dreamed and dreamt? You might be surprised to find conflicting reports. Some people say that there is no difference. Others say that the two words have different meanings. What’s the real deal?

Dreamt and dreamed are both past tense forms of dream. Dreamt is more common in Britain, while dreamed is more common in other English-speaking countries, including the U.S.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cheque vs. Check

  • Cheque and check appear in British English, and check appears in American English.
  • In British English, cheque refers to a document used to pay from a person’s account. For other contexts, Brits usually use check.

Have you seen check spelled cheque? You might have wondered whether it was a spelling error or a new word that you don’t know. Let’s look into this word and how it differs from check.

Friday, January 20, 2012

International English: Going beyond U.K. and U.S. English

Guest post by Rosevita Warda

“The status of English as an international language is long established and, for the foreseeable future, unlikely to be greatly challenged. However, I believe that to make it genuinely international, then one step in that direction could be to consider the influence of non-native speakers in a different light.

“Generally, their non-occurrent uses are labeled errors and they are encouraged to change to conform to the standard English model, even though many native speakers don’t.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Q&A with Martha Brockenbrough, Founder of National Grammar Day

Martha Brockenbrough is the founder of National Grammar Day and author of The Game of Love and Death, which comes out April 28 and has received starred reviews from Kirkus Books and Publishers Weekly. Martha recently spoke with the Grammarly team to provide some insight into National Grammar Day and to share her perspective on language.

Grammarly: You established National Grammar Day in 2008.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

6 Cool Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block

Want to write a bestselling novel? Or maybe you’re more the screenplay type who wants to go straight to Hollywood. Whatever your writing goals are, sometimes the biggest obstacle between them and you is a nasty case of writer’s block. How can you free up your creative juices and write a story worth telling? Here are some ideas to get you started.

Go Wild for Words

Stephen King holds thesauruses (thesauri for you prescriptive Latin-lovers) in disdain, but don’t be afraid to rebel against his viewpoint.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cases of Pronouns: Rules and Examples

Case refers to the form a noun or pronoun takes depending on its function in a sentence. English pronouns have three cases: subjective, objective, and possessive.

Subjective Pronouns

The subjective (or nominative) pronouns are I, you (singular), he/she/it, we, you (plural), they and who. A subjective pronoun acts as a subject in a sentence. See the sentences below for illustration:

I have a big chocolate bar.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

7 Things You Write Every Day That You Probably Forgot About

In some ways, everyone is a writer. Have you thought about how much writing you do in one day? Don’t overlook these seven daily writing tasks!


According to Lifewire.com, people around the world send more than two billion emails per day. That’s 2.4 million emails every second! The format of some emails closely resembles that of physical letters. For example, business emails contain the salutation, body, and closing that you would find in a business letter.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

5 Reasons You Should Be Reading African American Literature

In the month of February, Americans place a special emphasis on the achievements and history of black Americans, or Americans of African descent. Each year, a theme promotes one facet of black heritage. This year, 2016, the theme is “Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories.” The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) website explains, “From port cities where Africans disembarked from slave ships to the battlefields where their descendants fought for freedom, from the colleges and universities where they pursued education to places where they created communities during centuries of migration, the imprint of Americans of African descent is deeply embedded in the narrative of the American past.

Monday, January 9, 2012

All romance, no grammar: lessons we can learn from great works of literature

Some of the greatest works of literature contain beautifully written declarations of love. But if you want to learn the rules of grammar, don’t look to these novels for help. Here are some of the most romantic quotes from literature and explanations of the grammar rules they bend and break.

Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald ‘To-night’ is possibly confused with the correctly spelled word, ‘tonight.’ In the past, this hyphenated spelling of ‘tonight’ was common, but it’s best to use the modern spelling in your writing to keep the meaning clear.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Grammarly Scholarship Rules

Scholarship prompts:

  • How are reading and writing interconnected?
  • How has reading improved the way you write?

Who is eligible to participate? Participants in Grammarly’s scholarship contest must be residents of the United States (excluding Puerto Rico). In addition, each participant must either be:

  • Currently attending an accredited college or university, and enrolled in a two year, undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree program
  • Planning to attend an accredited college or university, and to be enrolled in such a program within one year after the scholarship is awarded

Grammarly will award the scholarship directly to the accredited institution.