Friday, February 28, 2014

Embrace Your Geekness With the Character Sketch

You are a writer. You enjoy what you do, and you do it well. So, what do you love most about writing? Could you pick one specific thing? Are we speaking of fiction, nonfiction or poetry? Essays maybe? Where does editing fit in here? Be careful, it quickly becomes a complicated question.

If we parse out all of the elements of writing, there are literally thousands of specific mechanics from which we could choose.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

10 Jargon Phrases to Avoid in Business Writing

Business-speak. The fact that the jargon of the business world is often annoying is the least of its problems. If there’s one trait business writing needs to have, it’s clarity—which is the trait most business jargon phrases completely lack. They’re neither precise nor informative. They’re not even professional. They’re just vague, even though some of them sound awesome and trendy.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Essentials of Conditionals

You only have to observe a dog rooting around in the trash can to realize that dogs don’t understand what could happen if they eat spoiled food. Humans, on the other hand, have the power of reason. Rotten meat is dangerous. They can imagine various possible consequences—a tummyache, a trip to the hospital, expensive prescriptions, and so on. Conditional sentences reflect humans’ capacity to hypothesize.

Monday, February 24, 2014

English can be tough, but what part of grammar is the most confusing?

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.

Friday, February 21, 2014

How to Use “Former” vs. “Latter”

The terms former and latter are words used to distinguish between two things. Former directs us to the first of these two things, and latter directs us to the second (or last) of them. Do not use former or latter when you are writing about more than two things.

Former and latter are words that sound old-fashioned to some people, and indeed they are very old words.

According to the Online Etymological Dictionary, former derives from the Old English word forma, meaning “first.” By the 12th century, former was used to mean “first, earliest in time or order,” and by the 1580s, it arrived at its present meaning, “the first of two.”Latter has a similar history.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Top #SummerReads for 2013

Summer has simmered down and school is back in session. What better way to keep the summer spirit alive a little bit longer than by encouraging you to pick up some of the top #summerreads from the Grammarly community?

In early September, we asked our Facebook, Google+, and Twitter communities which books they would most recommend from their summer reading lists. We simultaneously ran a survey to get more information about summer reading.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Possessive Pronouns: Rules and Examples

Possessive pronouns show that something belongs to someone. The possessive pronouns are my, our, your, his, her, its, and their. There’s also an “independent” form of each of these pronouns: mine, ours, yours, his, hers, its, and theirs. Possessive pronouns are never spelled with apostrophes.

Possessive pronouns simplify constructions that show possession of a noun.

Jane takes pride in Jane’s outfits.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Is ‘Ginormous’ a Word?

  • Ginormous is a non-standard word.
  • Ginormous is an adjective that means very big.

In the murky territory of words you’ve heard people use but you’re not really sure whether you could call them words, ginormous takes up a lot of space.

What Does Ginormous Mean?

Ginormous originated during the World War II as a slang word among British soldiers. Its first official appearance in written form was in the 1948 A Dictionary of Forces’ Slang, 1939-1945.

Friday, February 14, 2014

7 Ways to Motivate Yourself When You’re Exhausted

Romeo and Juliet, peanut butter and jelly. . . some combinations just seem to go together. Deadlines and exhaustion, on the other hand, are a pair that no one likes to experience. What do you do when you are confronted with that undesirable duo? Put up a fight with these seven motivating tactics.

Break your task into smaller steps.

If someone told you to do an online search for a blueprint for a house, you would skip off to your computer without a care in the world.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Welcome to LitMas, the Bookish Holiday Season

’Tis the season . . . to read! The holiday season means colder nights and more time inside for some, so why not spend it with your nose buried in a book?

We know the winter season can be tough for many people, with its short days and long nights. We also know bibiliotherapy is both real and wonderful. So, in the spirit of the holidays and bookishness, we’ve decided to create a new holiday focused on bibliophiles, bookworms, and jokesters of all sorts.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Monday Motivation Hack: Use Your PTO

You think you’re locking in your career by never missing a day.

You’re not alone.

Research shows that more than a quarter of workers fear that taking time off will make them seem less dedicated. Others think that vacation-time martyrdom will boost their chances for a raise or a promotion (it doesn’t).

But, this (very American) cultural phenomenon of rarely taking time off and almost never using all of one’s vacation days is bad news for employers and employees alike.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

These 4 Tips Will Save You Time in Meetings

Sick of unfocused, unproductive meetings? The average office meeting is a modern-day implement of torture, dragging on forever while everyone talks in circles and your annoying coworker (yeah, there’s one in every crowd) hijacks the meeting with his ramblings.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. A well-run meeting will last a bearable amount of time, get everyone aligned and on the same page, and develop clear next steps for what you’re trying to achieve together.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Altogether vs. All Together

  • Altogether means “completely,” “all things considered,” or “on the whole.”
  • All together means “everyone together” or “everything together.”

It’s often said that the whole isn’t necessarily the sum of its parts. That maxim applies when you turn “every day” into “everyday,” and it’s the same when you turn all together into altogether—you get something completely different.

The Difference Between All Together and Altogether

All together refers to all the members of a group.

Monday, February 3, 2014

These words may sound similar, but they have very different meanings.

Conscience and conscious sound very similar and are often misused. For example, you might have heard someone say that they have something “on their conscious” when they actually mean “on their conscience.”

Conscience is a moral sense of right and wrong: My conscience is telling me that I must confess to the crime.

Conscious means aware, alert, or awake: I was conscious of a change in the weather.

Grammar Basics: How to Use Singular “They”

You probably learned about “they” and other pronouns in the first grade. “They” is the third-person plural pronoun, used for talking about groups of things or people.

Henry and Lucy want to go to the movies, but they (Henry and Lucy) don’t have enough money.

“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they (people in general) will surprise you with their ingenuity.” —George S.