Thursday, February 28, 2013

Why “the Internet” Shouldn’t Be Stripped of Its Proper Noun Status

Breaking news! Read all about it—The Associated Press, one of the most widely followed authorities on written style, has lowercased the word “internet” in their 2016 style guide.

Starting today, AP uses lowercase internet and web in all instances. #APStyleChat

The decision has sparked much debate in the editorial and technology industries and beyond, but this isn’t the first time that an AP Stylebook change has caused some ripples . . .

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Our Favorite Words in the English Language

Whether you are a logophile (word lover) or not, you probably can think of one or two words that you really enjoy using. These words don’t have to be rare or exotic. In fact, sometimes it’s far better if they aren’t. Some of my personal favorites are demure, frank, and stalwart. Why are they my favorites? Well, besides being fun to say, they are concrete and clear.

I’ve decided to run a poll on our Facebook page seeking out the top five favorite words in the English language.

6 Ways to Celebrate Tell a Fairy Tale Day

Every year on February 26th, Tell a Fairy Tale Day celebrates the art of storytelling. Though you may not read traditional fairy tales very often any more, chances are that many of the story threads throughout your favorite books and movies have their roots in fairy tales. Here are six ways to have fun with storytelling on Tell a Fairy Tale Day.

Take a Trip to Your Local Library

Friday, February 22, 2013

Check Your Answers for Grammar Skills Test—Starter

So, you want to know what your English grammar level is? You’ve come to the right place. This post will cover the answers and additional learning resources for “Grammar Skills Test—Starter.” The Starter test covers Question formation, verb tense, prepositions, subject-verb agreement, and word order.

Correct answers are highlighted. Links go to additional learning resources to help you continue improving.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Spelling Words With EI and IE: “I Before E Except After C” Rule

I Before E, Except After C

Have you ever memorized the chorus of a song? You may sing a few lines over and over, but you can’t remember what comes after the section you know. Many people recite the mnemonic “I before E, except after C.” They either don’t remember or never learned the rest of the rhyme. Here are two additional lines that reveal some exceptions to the spelling rule:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

5 Tips On How to Choose Your Blog Name

Guest post by Yohana Petrovic

So, you’ve decided to start your own blog! But before you can start writing and engaging with your readers, there is one hurdle that you have to jump: giving your blog a name. Choosing the best title for your blog is a very tricky thing.

Your blog’s name is its first claim to fame. As a starting blogger, your blog’s name is the make-or-break, the read or no-read, the click or no-click.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What’s Your Grammar Level and How Can You Improve?

Test your grammar with our linguist-developed quiz series.

If you’re not sure where to start, try the beginning!

Grammar Skills Test: Starter

Grammar Skills Test: Intermediate

Grammar Skills Test: Master

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Why Self-Publish Instead of Using a Conventional Publisher

Guest Post by Richard McMunn from

The world of book publishing has evolved over the past few decades so much so that a publishing expert 20 years ago would struggle to get an entry level job in today’s market with their skill set from that time. There are varying opinions in the industry on some pivotal elements but one thing is certain, the accessibility for individuals to self-publish is more open and transparent than it has ever been.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

6 Wonderful Tips on How to Catch Up on Emails After a Vacation

Inbox dread is real.

The last time I took a vacation, I almost didn’t want to leave for fear of what my inbox would look like when I got back. (Hint: it wasn’t pretty.) There’s nothing more groan-inducing on your first day back at work than opening your email client to see you have 1,487 emails waiting.

I’ve worked in jobs where getting a flurry of daily email was the norm, which meant that being away for a week resulted in a digital avalanche.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How to Silence Your Internal Editor

I just wrote this sentence three times—twice to change the direction of my opening monologue, and once to fix some structural errors. I did all that picking and all those rewrites before I even wrote another sentence. It took me about five minutes.

Why did I fiddle so long with one sentence? I have a hard time getting my internal editor to quiet down, so I developed the habit of self-editing as I write.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Into or In To—How Do I Use Them?

A common error is to confuse into, spelled as one word, with the two words in to. When deciding which is right for your sentence, remember that into is a preposition that shows what something is within or inside. As separate words, in and to sometimes simply wind up next to each other.

A preposition is a word that shows a relationship, usually in terms of space or time, between words in a clause or phrase.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Simple Past Tense–Grammar Rules

The simple past is a verb tense that is used to talk about things that happened or existed before now. Imagine someone asks what your brother Wolfgang did while he was in town last weekend.

Wolfgang entered a hula hoop contest.
He won the silver medal.

The simple past tense shows that you are talking about something that has already happened. Unlike the past continuous tense, which is used to talk about past events that happened over a period of time, the simple past tense emphasizes that the action is finished.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

8 Things We Can All Learn From Elizabeth Kolbert

If you’re looking for an inspiring female author from whose work you might glean a few writerly pointers, you needn’t search far. Whether you’re a hardcore fiction buff or always hungry for a fresh memoir, the world of words is suffering no shortage of brilliant women.

Recent fiction luminaires include Hanya Yanagihara—a longtime writer by trade but a relative newcomer to the realm of novels.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Conditional Sentences—Rules You Need to Know

  • There are four types of conditional sentences.
  • It’s important to use the correct structure for each of these different conditional sentences because they express varying meanings.
  • Pay attention to verb tense when using different conditional modes.
  • Use a comma after the if-clause when the if-clause precedes the main clause.

Conditional sentences are statements discussing known factors or hypothetical situations and their consequences.