Thursday, January 30, 2014

12 Essential Books to Read on LitMas

Merry LitMas!

Joy to the world, the bookish holiday has arrived! How will you celebrate?

We will be cracking the spines of a few of our favorite reads from this year (which, incidentally, make great last-minute gifts for that other holiday that rhymes with LitMas). We may curl up with a book and some tea, stretch out with cocoa and a sweater, or bring a book to a favorite literary haunt.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

How to Stop Procrastinating and Take Control of Your Life

Are you procrastinating? Is there an essay or a blog post you just can’t seem to get done? We could suggest:

Don’t put off until tomorrow what can be done today.

Though, it won’t likely help.

Why not? Professionals, students, educators, writers, and so on have all heard this advice, and we all feel compelled to follow it, but—let’s be frank—it’s not easy to just “stop procrastinating.” We don’t procrastinate for the sake of procrastination or laziness.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Watch Your Words in the Job Search!

The Grammarly team collected 500 active job postings, including marketing and engineering jobs, from the top 100 most profitable companies in the United States. We then assessed how each company used language in these listings to express hiring priorities.

    • Hiring companies do not want someone who views a “job” as “work”
    • “Experience” is more highly valued by hiring companies than “skills”
    • Job seekers should use their cover letter and resume to talk about instances of teamwork vs.

Friday, January 24, 2014

How Tina Fey Gets Things Done


On the heels of our breakdown of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s writing habits, we’re serving up more writing wisdom from none other than the fabulous Tina Fey! The award-winning comedian-screenwriter-actress-producer-author has spent the past twenty years blazing trails as one of the great comic geniuses of our time.

And just in case you’ve been hiking the Amazon or watching only C-SPAN for the past twenty years, here’s a quick recap of her career . . .

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Eight Christmas Grammar Mistakes That Will Make You Think

How many times have you seen “Happy Holidays from the Jones’s” or “Mary Christmas” in a Christmas card?

When you’re working through a stack of Christmas cards, it can be difficult to cross your t’s and dot your i’s, let alone remember a series of seemingly random holiday-related grammar rules. So, in the spirit of holiday giving, we’re giving you eight Christmas grammar tips for LitMas.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Entitled vs. Titled

You can say that a book is entitled “so and so,” but to say that it’s titled might be a more elegant and middle-of-the-road solution.

It doesn’t take a large leap of imagination to see how this blog might be read by someone who is working on his or her first book. To those of you who are working on novels, we wish the best of luck, offer some advice, and present you with a conundrum—will you title your book, or will you entitle it?

Friday, January 17, 2014

There is no official language of the United States. Should that change?

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.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Learned or Learnt?

There are many perks to speaking the lingua franca of your time, but one of the downsides is that you’ll always doubt whether you’re using it right. English has almost as many variants as there are countries that use it as their official language. A great example of that is the past tense of the verb learn—is it learnt? Or is it learned?

Learnt and learned are both used as the past participle and past tense of the verb to learn.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Famous Friendships in Children’s Literature

Everyone knows you can’t get good at grammar without friendship. Children’s literature has some great models of friendship at its finest.

In growing-up order, here are five such examples of best friends through the ages.

Frog and Toad

“We will skip through the meadows and run through the woods and swim in the river. In the evenings we will sit right here on this front porch and count the stars.”

Monday, January 13, 2014

How Gaming Makes You a Better (Yes, Better) Communicator

The stereotype of gamers as abysmal communicators is familiar.

It’s easy to picture an anti-social type sitting alone in his unkempt room with the blinds drawn, swilling energy drinks and grinding levels past dawn. Or worse yet, the kind who racks up kills online while wearing a headset and emitting a nonstop stream of cringeworthy recriminations. There is also that timeworn trope of the dungeon crawlers—those chortling weird-beards in the back room of the comic shop, forever rolling dice of peculiar geometries and blurting shrill inanities about critical fumbles: “This is preposterous!”

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Empower Your Writing: Transform the Passive Voice

Tell a writer that he should avoid the passive voice in writing, and he’ll usually agree – although the passive voice is perfectly acceptable grammatically.

Most writers know that the sentence, “The cow jumped over the moon” is better than “The moon was jumped over by the cow.” However, if you check a few documents with Grammarly’s Add-in for Microsoft Office Suite, you’ll see that this ghost continues to haunt.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

5 Must-Visit Museums for Literature Lovers

May 18 is International Museum Day. Some of the world’s greatest treasures and most valuable art are housed in museums, but you can also find smaller museums that cater to nearly every taste and interest. Here are five museums literature lovers might want to visit:

Monroe County Museum in Alabama

Located just down the street from the childhood home of Harper Lee, the author of the famous novel To Kill a Mockingbird, the Monroe County Museum is the home of the famous courtroom in which part of the novel was set.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Strategies to Deal With Chronic Interrupters

Getting interrupted is no fun. Whether it’s at work or with a friend or family member, being the interruptee can make you feel disrespected and unheard. The good news: there are strategies for dealing with interrupters.

First, approach the situation differently based on the context and kind of interrupting. Here are some examples:

  • You’re giving a presentation and your boss interrupts with a question
  • You’re in a brainstorm session and a colleague interrupts your idea with a different idea
  • In a chat with a friend, he or she keeps interrupting to give advice, or change the subject
  • In an argument with a significant other, you both interrupt each other to make your point
  • In a panel on gender and diversity and business, a male executive repeatedly interrupts a female executive (and doesn’t seem to notice until someone calls him out)
  • In an award ceremony, Kanye West interrupts Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech to say Beyoncé made a better video than Tay Tay.