Wednesday, April 30, 2014

All the Sports Words Only Americans Use

To many Americans, Super Bowl Sunday is synonymous with junk food, cheering, the best new commercials, and possibly the sensation of winning (or losing) a war. People in other countries sometimes wonder if the prize is a very large bowl.

It’s not just the fascination with football that befuddles non-Americans—it’s the very words we use to describe it. That goes for sports-related words in general, especially when we compare certain terms in American English to their British counterparts.

Monday, April 28, 2014

How to Read Between the Lines of a Job Description

Guest post from Jennifer Parris, Career Writer for FlexJobs

On the surface, a job description might seem fairly straightforward. It lists the job title, a smattering of responsibilities, and contact info by which you can apply for the position. But upon a second reading, you’re sure to find many layers to the posting, full of nuances and hidden messages that a seasoned job seeker might be able to pick up.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mistaking a dangling participle, laughter was heard anyway.

If the title of this post doesn’t make any sense, it shouldn’t.

This is going somewhere, I promise! Bear with me.

Today, while scouring Tumblr and various forums for “The Best Picture on the Internet,” I came across the following:

I am certain that most people read to the last frame and, caught up in Johnny Carson’s joke, didn’t think twice about whether or not Dean Martin knew what a dangling participle is.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

5 Reasons You Should Read a Damn Book

Watching too much TV is bad for your health. According to some sources, being a couch potato will make you less smart. It will consume your time, influence your social relationships, affect your physical health in a very bad way, affect your emotional well-being, and skew your worldview. And the list goes on.

But this isn’t an article about the perils of TV watching. It’s an article about why books might be a better pastime (or passion, if you get to that level) for you to pick up.

Five Books that Will Make You a Better Communicator

How do you feel when you can’t communicate your ideas or emotions? If you find it frustrating, why not make a study of communication skills? Learning to communicate is like learning to swim. You progress from breathing exercises in a few feet of water to practicing laps in deeper water. Before you know it, you’re ready for the diving board. Let’s review some books, starting with some simple fixes based on personal experiences.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Punctuation Standards in British English

There are certain punctuation standards in British English that are important for a writer to understand. Even the most insightful article might be dismissed by readers because of punctuation errors, even if they have nothing to do with the merit of the content. Some mistakes crop up time and time again, making them understandable, but all the harder to excuse. Consider these punctuation pitfalls in British English that often trap the unwary.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hyphens: The Punctuation Mark That Even Editors Can’t Get Right

It stalks the thick jungles of prose, confounding even the most experienced grammar explorer or navigator, yet it’s a gentle, mistaken, and forlorn creature. What am I talking about? The hyphen—the piece of punctuation that not even seasoned editors can seem to get right.

Super high-profile ad agencies and industry giants, despite large budgets and an intelligent workforce, are known to make hyphen mistake after mistake, unable to get a handle on correct hyphen usage.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

That’s How You Say It? 9 Words with Tricky Pronunciations

If you read a lot, you probably have an excellent vocabulary. But it also means that you may know a lot of words that you’ve only seen in writing and never heard spoken aloud. Sometimes even common words are easy to misread. Language enthusiasts have coined the term “misle” for a word that leads you to incorrect assumptions about its pronunciation. It comes from the word misled (as in, the past tense of mislead), which many language lovers admit to misreading at one time or another as the past tense of some imaginary verb along the lines of “to misle.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Advice on Positive Thinking From Winnie the Pooh

1 The simplest things in life are the ones you should appreciate the most.

“What I like best in the whole world is Me and Piglet going to see You, and You saying ‘What about a little something?’ and Me saying, ‘Well, I shouldn’t mind a little something, should you, Piglet,’ and it being a hummy sort of day outside, and birds singing.”

2 Bad things are less bad if you have friends to help you.

Friday, April 11, 2014

10 Wonderful Words to Learn for Dictionary Day

Happy Dictionary Day!

October 16, 1758, was the birthdate of the American lexicographer Noah Webster. If you’ve ever wondered who decided that Americans should write color while the British write colour, Noah Webster is your guy.

To celebrate our love of lexicography, here are ten wonderful words to add to your vocabulary today:

Antipode n. A direct or extreme opposite. Angelica often gets into heated conversations with Duane, her ideological antipode.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Farther vs. Further

People use both further and farther to mean “more distant.” However, American English speakers favor farther for physical distances and further for figurative distances.

Ray LeBlond once said “You learn something every day if you pay attention.” Today is the day to learn the difference between further and farther.


Unsurprisingly, farther means “at or to a greater distance.” In Salt to the Sea, Ruta Sepetys uses this adverb to describe the activity of some sea vessels: Some boats eventually floated ashore.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

When Do You Use a Comma Before “Because”?

Most of the time, you should not use a comma before because when it connects two clauses in a sentence. Because is a subordinating conjunction, which means that it connects a subordinate clause to an independent clause; good style dictates that there should be no comma between these two clauses. An exception can and should be made when the lack of a comma would cause ambiguity.

Because has a straightforward job to do in the English language.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Four Types of Book Editing

Four Types of Book Editing


Friday, April 4, 2014

Does spelling accuracy influence your opinion?

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.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014