Thursday, October 31, 2013

Q Without U: 9 Must-Know Words to Celebrate Scrabble Day!

This Monday, April 13, is Scrabble Day, and Grammarly is celebrating with our fellow word-lovers,!

Guest post by Michele Turner, CEO at

Can you play a Q without a U in Scrabble? Whether you’re playing Scrabble, Words With Friends, or any other fun word game, here is a list of nine high-scoring solutions for the “Q conundrum,” so that you can make winning words with the letter Q — without its traditional letter companion, the U.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How to Troll-proof Your Writing

You’ve just read an interesting article online. It covered a subject you’re passionate about, so you dash off a brilliant comment. It begins:

Your right about most of your assessments, but I think you missed the big picture.

You go on to write a carefully-worded paragraph, and you’re certain everyone who reads it will be dazzled by your brilliant insights. And then the first reply to your comment rolls in and it’s simply:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

“Beck and Call” or “Beckon Call”—Which Is Right?

  • Beck and call is the correct way to spell this phrase.
  • To be at someone’s beck and call means you are ready to obey their orders or commands.
  • Beckon call is not the correct way to spell the phrase.

Even though it’s not a phrase you’ll hear every day, it’s good to know whether beck and call is the correct way to say it, or if it should be beckon call.

Beck and Call vs. Beckon Call—Which Is Correct?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Prepositions of Direction

Prepositions of direction give readers a sense of place or location. The following chart lists different prepositions of direction, their definitions, and examples.

Preposition Meaning Example
above higher relative to something else The milk is above the soda in the refrigerator.
across on the other side of My friend lives across the street from me.
along beside The ducks are eating along the river.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

How to Take a Break Without Breaking Focus

We all procrastinate from time to time and struggle to get things done. For years, much of the dialogue around procrastination has been about how to fight it and, theoretically, win. However, that approach has left a whole lot of us—included me—feeling pretty pathetic when we just can’t kick the habit. Turns out, we’ve been duped. For the last several years, experts have made headway in transforming procrastination from an evil that must be vanquished to a tool worth embracing in all its paradoxical and oxymoronic glory.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

When Should I Use Inquire vs. Enquire?

  • Traditionally, enquire simply meant “ask,” while inquire was used for formal investigations.
  • In the UK, the two words are used interchangeably, although inquire is still the more commonly used word for formal or official investigations.
  • In the United States, inquire is the strongly preferred spelling in all uses.

For the most part, you can use either enquire or inquire and not make a mistake.

Monday, October 21, 2013

How To Keep Your Kids Writing During Holiday Break

Writing is like falling in love. Those who really succeed at the endeavor are those who are willing to put their hearts out there and risk being rejected. As you can imagine, this can be a wonderful experience–or it can be agonizing. At least for adults.

For children, falling in love with writing is less dramatic. It’s about learning to tell their stories and committing to paper all of the make-believe worlds they have created.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Ernest Hemingway Liked to “Do It” Standing Up

I know it’s dirty and unconventional, but I liked to do it outside in college.

The first time was spring semester of my freshman year, and once I started I just couldn’t stop. Because I went school in Wisconsin, the passing of the seasons limited when I could indulge in the grassy common areas around campus — but when the weather was right I’d do it outdoors for hours. As a young, open-minded philosophy student, it didn’t take much to turn me on — to writing.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What to Write for Fathers’ Day

Like birthdays, Christmas, and Hanukkah, Father’s Day can be rough. Yes, it is a great opportunity to recognize our fathers (and father figures) for their profound impact in our lives, but it is also a time when many of us feel tongue-tied.

How can we tell dad exactly what he means to us in a simple card or letter? Here are five tips for writing the perfect note to dad in honor of Father’s Day:

Monday, October 14, 2013

Colour or Color—Which Is Correct?

  • When choosing between color and colour, keep in mind that both spellings are correct.
  • The shorter one, color, is the preferred spelling in the United States.
  • The rest of the English-speaking world uses the longer form, colour.

How do you spell color? You’ll see other writers do it two ways—the one we’ve already used in this sentence, and another one—colour. Neither of the spellings is wrong, and they both mean exactly the same thing.

Friday, October 11, 2013

8 Writing Tools Every Writer Should Know About

As a writer, you may be working harder than you need to if you are not using the available tools for your job. The old adage “there’s no need to reinvent the wheel” certainly applies to this situation. Have no fear, we’re here to help with eight writing tools that all writers should consider adding to their toolboxes.

1 LiveScribe Pen

Do you get writing inspiration from your daily life?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Resume Objective: Valuable to Have or Thing of the Past?

The average recruiter spends about six seconds looking at your resume, and you’ve got to make every one of them count. Do resume objectives help or hurt you?

A resume objective is a short statement that outlines your career direction. Objective statements were once the standard on every job-seeker’s resume. A decade or so ago, you wouldn’t have sent out a resume without one. But times change, and what recruiters look for in a standard CV has changed, too.

5 Memos That Went Terribly Wrong

In the world of digital communications, pretty much everyone can relate to an email experience going terribly wrong at work. Ever hit “reply all” and sprayed a private message to a group of co-workers and lived to regret it?

Writing internal business communications shouldn’t be fraught with peril, but for these unfortunate executives, things went terribly wrong. From the ridiculous to the tragic, take a look at these five truly terrible business memos.

Monday, October 7, 2013

What Are Personal Pronouns?

A personal pronoun is a short word we use as a simple substitute for the proper name of a person. Each of the English personal pronouns shows us the grammatical person, gender, number, and case of the noun it replaces. I, you, he, she, it, we they, me, him, her, us, and them are all personal pronouns.

Personal pronouns are the stunt doubles of grammar; they stand in for the people (and perhaps animals) who star in our sentences.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Beyoncé Was Wrong About This Word

If you’ve ever played Dungeons & Dragons or listened to Destiny’s Child, chances are likely that you have heard the words bugbear and bugaboo. For the D&D players of the world, a bugbear is a hairy, giant-like goblin. For Destiny’s Child fans, a bugaboo is a particularly annoying boy who just won’t stop calling you (or paging you, or showing up to your house unannounced). These definitions aren’t exactly what the words were used for back when they first came into existence during the Middle Ages.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Present Continuous

The present continuous verb tense indicates that an action or condition is happening now, frequently, and may continue into the future.

The Present Continuous Formula: to be [am, is, are] + verb [present participle]

Aunt Christine is warming up the car while Scott looks for his new leather coat. They are eating at Scott’s favorite restaurant today, Polly’s Pancake Diner.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What Does Imperative Mean?

Imperative can be one of the following:

  • An adjective meaning “completely necessary” or “very important,” but also “commanding.”
  • A noun meaning “a necessity” or “something that is not avoidable,” but also “a command.”
  • In grammar, imperative is also one of the four main verb moods.

Imperative is one of those words that shouldn’t be thrown around unless there’s a very good reason for it.