Thursday, December 31, 2015

Affective vs. Effective: What’s the Difference?

Is affective just another word for effective? Are the two words similar and entangled in the way the verbs affect and effect are? No, affective is not just another word for effective. And affective and effective are not derived from the verbs affect and effect. They come from the nouns affect and effect.

Affective is usually used in the field of psychology and addresses emotions and feelings.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Capitalization: The Days Of The Week and The Months

Capitalization: The Days of the Week, the Months of the Year, and Holidays (But Not the Seasons Used Generally)

Days, months, and holidays are always capitalized as these are proper nouns. Seasons aren’t generally capitalized unless they’re personified.

The maid comes on Tuesdays and Fridays.
My doctor’s appointment is on Monday afternoon.
Your birthday is in March, right?

14 Business Jargon Phrases People Love To Hate

When humans aggregate into groups, we tend to develop new lexicons specific to our group context. Wizards complain about “muggles,” high schoolers aspire to “squad goals”—and occasionally a mid-level manager stares fervently into your eyes and tells you it’s time to “shift the paradigm.”

In recent years business jargon has somehow evolved into a tangled mess of annoying, pretentious, tired clichés that are more effective at obscuring than clarifying meaning.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Discrete vs. Discreet: What’s the Difference?

  • Discreet and discrete are homophones. They sound the same but they have different definitions.
  • Discreet means careful or intentionally unobtrusive.
  • Discrete means distinct or unconnected.

Homophones are nothing but trouble. They often top the lists of commonly confused words and spelling mistakes. There’s no way of knowing what they mean unless you hear them in context or see them in writing.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

3 Things You Should Do When Speed Proofreading

We’ve all been there—mortified by the consequences of our own lack of care. Catching typos after you’ve hit send can limit your personal and professional opportunities at worst or be just plain annoying at best. You know that you should proofread but don’t because it requires an English degree (right?) and is time-consuming (right?). Actually, almost anyone can quickly and easily reduce (dare we say eliminate?) post-send mortifications by following these three proofreading tricks.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

4 Reasons You Should Form a Proofreading Habit

Even rats have habits. MIT professor Ann Graybiel trained rats to run a T-shaped maze. First, Graybiel’s team rewarded the rats for turning right or left based on a tone. Even after the researchers stopped giving treats, they found that the rats still responded to the sounds as if by habit. The human brain forms habits too, so why not make them rewarding ones? Here are four reasons why proofreading should be a habit you pursue.

How to Best Prioritize Your Work Tasks

When the first task lands on your desk, you think: “No problem, I can handle it.” The second and third requests cause a little self-doubt. Soon, you don’t even know how many projects you have on your to-do list.

Does this scenario sound familiar? How can you cope when the projects pile up and the time is short? Learn today how to prioritize your work assignments efficiently and keep your cool.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

How to Use the Passive Voice Correctly

The passive voice is a misunderstood entity in the world of writing. It is unfairly judged by many authors. Some writers, without taking the time to get to know this grammatical structure, avoid it at all costs. Others use it ineffectively because they do not understand how it works. How can you get to know this mysterious literary device?

First, let’s start with an explanation of what passive voice is.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What Are the Best Ways to Deal with Difficult People?

Difficult people can quickly turn your dream job into a nightmare if you let them. However, your happiness and productivity are worth the fight. Let’s consider the best ways to deal with challenging personalities.

Start with Yourself

In “Man in the Mirror,” a song recorded by Michael Jackson, the lyrics provide an effective formula for improving your environment: “Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.” Self-examination might reveal that you are overreacting to a situation.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Main Verbs: Definition and Examples

The main verb is also called the lexical verb or the principal verb. This term refers to the important verb in the sentence, the one that typically shows the action or state of being of the subject. Main verbs can stand alone, or they can be used with a helping verb, also called an auxiliary verb.

Helping verbs do just what they sound like they do—they help! Different helping verbs help or support the main verb in different ways.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Motivation Hack: Get Your Mind Right

When you picture someone meditating, what do you see? A yoga class? A person of South Asian descent in a religious context? A random businessperson in a stock photo?

Messages about mindfulness have been muddled, messy, and largely unhelpful since its rise to popularity. In the last few years, mindfulness has moved from hippie-and-yogi buzzword to bonified productivity skill lauded by the likes of The Harvard Business Review and Tim Ferriss.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Importance of Proofreading Your Résumé

Did you know that recruiters only spend an average of six seconds reviewing your résumé? You have a very small window in which to wow them, and in this competitive job market, even the smallest mistake can be enough to knock you out of the running. There are three main aspects of proofreading: spelling, grammar, and consistency. We’ll look at each of those below, but first, some sobering statistics about how many errors we found in a sampling of résumés.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Commas in Complex Sentences

Complex sentences are sentences that have two clauses. There can be two independent clauses (each having a subject and predicate), or an independent clause and dependent clause (missing a subject or predicate). Whether a comma is used between them depends on the types and positions of the clauses.

An independent clause is a clause that can stand on its own as a sentence.

I have a cat.

Monday, December 7, 2015

That Emoji Might Not Be Saying What You Think

This morning, my guy texted me:

And I texted back:

He said, “Good morning! It’s a beautiful day. Love you!”

And I wrote back, “Good morning! I’ve got a song in my heart. Mwah! Love you, too.”

The texter and I are close. We know each other, so our emoji-only conversation made sense to us. The message is unambiguous enough that even an outside observer might have interpreted it similarly.

Friday, December 4, 2015

How Lin-Manuel Miranda Gets Things Done

One look at composer-performer Lin-Manuel Miranda’s list of accomplishments and you’ve got to wonder how he does it all.

His first musical, In the Heights, which he wrote and starred in, won four Tony Awards. He’s acted in TV shows, appeared on SNL, and was recently awarded the prestigious MacArthur “Genius” Grant. He wrote the songs for Disney’s animated “Moana,” whose hit song “How Far I’ll Go” was nominated for the 2017 Oscar for Best Original Song.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What makes up a grammar lover? We studied our Grammarly community and here’s what we found.

Recently, the Grammarly community grew to over 7 million language-loving friends — more than 5 million can be found on Facebook. We have enjoyed sharing our love of language and writing with the world. In honor of the growth of such a passionate and fun community, we surveyed our fans to find out more about what makes a grammar nerd!

Here’s what we found:

What kind of grammar lover are you?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Why Is the Oxford Comma a Heated Debate in 2017?

If you stare awhile at the string of characters that a sentence comprises, the squiggles lose all meaning. That humans somehow manage to agree on the use of these symbols well enough to communicate at all can seem miraculous.

But what about when we don’t quite agree—when it seems a writer has added a superfluous, bafflingly out-of-place comma, perhaps, or inexplicably used the wrong pronoun?

Monday, November 30, 2015

An Introduction to Verb Tenses

When using multiple verbs in a clause, it’s important to keep them in the same tense. For example: I went to the store, buy an apple, and ate it on the way home. ‘Went’ and ‘ate’ are both in past tense, but ‘buy’ is in present tense.

To fix this sentence, use ‘bought,’ which is the past tense of ‘buy.’ I went to the store, bought an apple, and ate it on the way home.

Another example: I went to the store and bought an apple, and now I am eating it.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Yes, Illiteracy Is Still a Human Rights Issue

Today marks the fifty-first anniversary of International Literacy Day, a holiday that recognizes literacy as “a foundation to build a more sustainable future for all.” Started in 1966 by UNESCO as a day to recognize literacy programs worldwide, this day continues to remind world leaders that universal literacy has not been accomplished. Far from it, in fact: in 2013, the adult (25 or older) literacy rate was 85 percent worldwide, and the population of illiterate adults was 757 million.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

8 Things You Should Really Delete from Your LinkedIn Profile

There’s a lot you can do to make your LinkedIn profile shine. You list your greatest achievements. You make connections. You take the time to write a great LinkedIn summary.

But for everything you do to make your profile stand out from the crowd, there are a lot of mistakes to avoid on LinkedIn, too. Whether you’re looking for a job or just giving your LinkedIn profile its monthly polish, here are eight problems to avoid.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Improve Your Writing Time with Quick Recipe Ideas

It’s difficult enough for a writer to stay in the zone without the gnawing irritation of hunger pangs. When you’re faced with a writing challenge that requires you to keep your bum in your chair and your fingers on the keyboard for a long stretch of time, having easy-to-grab snacks on hand can be a lifesaver, or at least a means to soothe the rumbly in your tumbly.


Here are some quick, healthy, make-ahead recipes to help you stay nourished while you’re in the writing groove.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Apart or A Part? Learn Their Meanings and Their Correct Use

A part and apart are often confused, especially by non-native speakers of English. Apart is mostly used as an adverb, denoting a separation between two or more things. A part (two words) means “a fraction of a whole,” or in theatre, “an actor’s role.” Apart from is a frequently used preposition.

Although the two expressions are identical in spelling but for a space, they have two different origins.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

15 Words Invented by Shakespeare

Guest post from Mignon Fogarty

The 452nd anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth is coming. He is not only known as a timeless playwright, but also as a prolific inventor of words. Although modern researchers have found that some words originally attributed to him, such as puke, have earlier sources, there are still many that hold up today as Shakespeare’s creations according to the Oxford English Dictionary:

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Avoid the 7 Blogging Mistakes That Reduce Your Traffic

When you start blogging, you can almost smell success in terms of your marketing strategies. Blogging can be a powerful way to expand your audience, but if you do it wrong it can work the other way. Below are seven blogging mistakes you may not be aware you are committing.

Instability in blog posting

Be direct and make sure your message is clear.

People are intelligent and capable of determining what they believe and what they do not.

Monday, November 16, 2015

How to Take Feedback, Even When It’s Hard

Getting feedback in the workplace can be a difficult experience. We each crave success, aspiring for praise from our leaders and peers that will, in turn, make us feel recognized and valuable at work. In reality, constructive criticism will be doled out more often and will play a more significant role in the dynamics of our relationships with co-workers and in our individual performance.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

It’s Time to End Grammar Trolling

During a recent discussion here at Grammarly HQ, someone on the team asked a very good question: is there actually a difference between correcting someone’s grammar and being a grammar troll?

As a copy editor by trade, I have a strong opinion on this one. Yes! Of course there’s a difference!

A good editor, a caring teacher, or an upstanding grammar lover offers corrections that are helpful, polite, and appropriate.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

7 Tips for a Perfect Elevator Pitch

What is the purpose of an interview? Companies conduct them because they want to know about your experience, education, and character. Different interviewers ask different questions, but their underlying query is the same: Who are you? To answer that question effectively and sell your skills, you can use a special tool called an elevator pitch or elevator speech. You are about to learn what a good and bad elevator speech looks like, and how you can write an outstanding one.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Skinny on Latin Plurals

If you speak and write English, it’s most common to use an S or ES ending to make a noun plural. However, some words that derive from Latin have retained their Latin plural endings. Let’s talk about some of the most useful of these words. Certain words English has borrowed from Latin retain Latin endings in their plural forms: alga (algae), larva (larvae), and nucleus (nuclei). Two common words—alga and larva—always end in E in the plural form.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Ellen DeGeneres and Hugh Laurie compare British and American slang; how many can you get right?

How many of these do you know? Are you more American or Brit?

Share your results on Facebook and tag @Grammarly!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

“How Well Can You Translate Business Jargon to Plain Language?” Quiz





“Low-hanging fruit.”

Business jargon seems to be taking over our offices. Aside from being cringe-worthy and borderline cliche, business jargon or “management speak” makes communication vague and unhelpful.

Additionally, this kind of “code language” can be extremely isolating to new people or people from other cultures, where business jargon is not widely used.

Monday, November 2, 2015

From Pens to Keys–The Complete History of Writing Tools

Writing isn’t what it used to be.

That is, writing is no longer an ink-stained task of scrawling on parchment. Getting your thoughts down is faster and easier than ever. Indeed, as voice-recognition software continues to improve, using your fingers to bang out sentences on a keyboard may soon look charmingly quaint.

Here, at a glance, is the evolution of the technology that shapes how we write.

Friday, October 30, 2015

5 Helpful Tips on How to Collaborate with Engineers

Engineers look at the world differently from non-engineers. They are usually extremely logical, pragmatic, and direct, while the rest of us can be somewhat more whimsical, emotional and aspirational. Unfortunately, when working together, these different perspectives present unique communication challenges that can slow work, deliver sub-optimal results, and weaken company culture if not addressed.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Theater and Theatre—How Is It Spelled?

Whether you use the spelling theatre or theater will depend on where you hail from. In American English, the spelling is theater; in Britain and the rest of the English-speaking world, theatre is used. The spelling you choose—theater vs. theatre—should align with your audience’s preference.

Why Are There Different Spellings: “Theatre” vs. “Theater”?

Theater has roots in both Greek and Latin and came to English through the Old French word theatre.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Understanding the American National Anthem for English Language Learners

National Anthem History

On the morning of September 14, 1814, the sun rose to reveal a surprising sight to Francis Scott Key.

Just a month after the British had burned the White House during the height of the War of 1812, Key was aboard a British vessel negotiating the release of a friend who was being held prisoner. During Key’s time aboard the vessel, the British commenced an attack on Fort McHenry and the pair was not allowed to leave.

Friday, October 23, 2015

11 More Experts on How to Write Well This Year

In theory, writing is not hard labor. It’s less backbreaking than laying bricks all day, for instance. And compared to the average herpetologist, most writers’ workplaces involve far fewer smelly rooms full of snakes. For that, we should be grateful.

Still, writing is hard work. And that’s just as true for vaunted authors with numerous books, awards, and honorary degrees to their credit as it is for newcomers who only recently resolved to hammer out more words each week.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Introducing Grammarly Insights

Stats. They are everywhere. They are in your sports, your weather forecast, and now they are being used by Grammarly, too. Unlike that statistics class you took that one time, Grammarly Insights are designed to provide you with useful information about how you write.

Some of you may have noticed that we started sending you a weekly progress report via email each Monday. Many Grammarly users spend more time writing online than they may realize.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Is Being a Perfectionist Really a Good Thing?

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.

—Anne Lamott

“I’m such a perfectionist!”

People sometimes utter that phrase with pride, wearing the title as a badge of honor, but I’ve never understood why anyone would think perfectionism is something to be pleased about. I’ve cried myself to sleep over a mistake, and I remember my embarrassing gaffes for years after everyone else involved has forgotten them.

Monday, October 19, 2015

What Does Meta- Mean?

Meta is a word which, like so many other things, we have the ancient Greeks to thank for. When they used it, meta meant “beyond,” “after,” or “behind.” The “beyond” sense of meta still lingers in words like metaphysics or meta-economy. But that’s still not the meta most of us come across today.

One of the more popular uses of meta today is for the meaning best described by the formula “meta-X equals X about X.” So, if we take the word “data” for our X, and add the prefix meta- to it, we get metadata, or “data about data.” A meta-text is a text about texts, metacognition is thinking about thinking, and a meta-joke is a joke about jokes.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Advisor vs. Adviser

  • Adviser is a person who gives advice.
  • An advisor does the same thing—the only difference is in the spelling.
  • Adviser is the older and the preferred spelling.

Advisor vs. adviser is probably not the most important or the most annoying conundrum related to the verb advise. That honor goes to advise vs. advice because mixing them up is a more damaging mistake. But still, people wonder about advisor and adviser because we don’t have two different spellings for every word in the English language—it’s not common.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

This Is How to Put Positive Spin on Weaknesses in a Job Interview

No job candidate is perfect. Everyone has their flaws. Fortunately, employers aren’t looking for perfect people, just the right people.

Honesty is always the best policy during a job interview, but that doesn’t mean you have to put your weaknesses on display. Whether it’s your resume or your personal challenges that might raise red flags with a hiring manager, addressing your weaknesses and framing them in a positive way can help you avoid making excuses or sounding defensive.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Why It’s Important to ‘Get It in Writing’

“Get it in writing!” That’s a phrase we hear often. In things like bills of sale, freelance contracts, or employee compensation packages—if you and other parties are making an agreement, there’s value in using written language to document it.

We often relate the phrase “Get it in writing” to fancy legal contracts drafted by lawyers, whose time is expensive. But getting something in writing doesn’t have to entail a contract.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Will You Join Us for March MADness?

Yesterday, Selection Sunday marked the start of the frenetic sports season many like to call March Madness. Today, we’re launching a bracket like the one you may have filled out yesterday, but our March MADness tournament contains only the most infuriating, enraging work communication pet peeves. These annoying office habits keep you from understanding—or, sometimes, liking—your coworkers, and we’re trying to find the worst habit you can form at work.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

How to Use Assure vs. Ensure vs. Insure

  • To assure someone is to remove someone’s doubts.
  • To ensure something is to make sure it happens—to guarantee it.
  • To insure something or someone is to cover it with an insurance policy.

Some sources note that people use assure, ensure, and insure interchangeably. All three verbs have something to do with “making sure” and are therefore similar, but each of them has a distinct meaning that makes it better suited for some uses than the other two.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

7 Books That Will Help You Land Your First Job

Graduation. Ten letters that spell either “opportunity,” or “pure, unadulterated terror,” depending on your plans for after you walk across the stage and officially become a college grad. If you have your post-grad life figured out, congratulations! You’re ahead of the game. Kick back, read a book, and wait for real life to hit you.

But if you have no idea what you’re going to do, or are hustling to land that first gig, don’t worry.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Imply vs. Infer—What’s the Difference?

  • Imply means to suggest or to say something in an indirect way.
  • Infer means to suppose or come to a conclusion, especially based on an indirect suggestion.

Implying and inferring are both common elements of communication. One means to state something, and the other to conclude something. But it’s surprisingly easy to confuse these two verbs.

What Does Imply Mean?

When we imply something, we’re hinting at what we mean but not saying it directly:

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Bear vs. Bare—What’s the Difference?

Homophones sound the same but are spelled differently. People often confuse homophone pairs, and bare and bear are no exception. Which phrase is correct—bear with me or bare with me?

The Difference between Bear and Bare

Besides being the name of a big furry animal, bear functions as a verb. It means to tolerate, to carry something, or to endure.

The grizzly bear seemed friendly, but we wisely kept our distance.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Led or Lead—The Past Tense of Lead?

  • Led is the correct way to spell the past tense of lead.
  • Lead is a common misspelling of the past tense of the verb lead.

The past tense of the verb lead is led, not lead. One reason for the confusion might be that a similar verb, read, has an infinitive that’s spelled the same as the past tense. But with lead, that’s not how things are.

Definition of Led

Led is the past tense of the verb lead:

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Monday Motivation Hack: Breaking Bad Habits

At any given time, everyone is trying to break at least one bad habit.

Bad habits sap our confidence, time, and energy and keep us from living our healthiest, most productive, and happiest lives.

Whether you want to eat better, improve teamwork skills, quit smoking, listen more, or something else, we’ve compiled some best practices that will have you breaking bad habits for good.

Before You Start Breaking Your Bad Habits. . .

Monday, September 28, 2015

Make Your Writing Clearer: 6 Tips for Rewording Sentences

The author James Michener said, “I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.” If you’re an aspiring author or someone striving for clarity in your professional or academic writing, you appreciate the methodical march of the rewriting process. Each word in a sentence has a job; cut those that do nothing. These six tips will help you achieve clear and concise writing.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Capitalization After Colons

Capitalization: First Word After a Colon

In British English, the first letter after a colon is capitalized only if it’s a proper noun or an acronym; in American English, the first word after a colon is sometimes capitalized if it begins a complete sentence.

Here are some quick tips for using colons properly:

  • When a colon introduces a list of of things, do not capitalize the first word after the colon unless it is a proper noun.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Make Friday Your Most Productive Day

Is Friday a super productive work day? Or are you starting to wonder why you bother coming in at all? For many of us, getting through the day on Friday (especially the afternoon) can be a real struggle.

Who doesn’t get that #FridayFeeling?

Leaving the Office on a Friday GIF from Scrubs GIFs

After a long week of getting stuff done, we’re just ready for the weekend to begin. Staying focused on work can feel impossible, but indulging in a lighter work day can be guilt-inducing when we expect (or others expect) that we’ll get more work done than we actually do.

Monday, September 21, 2015

What’s the Difference between Less and Fewer?

Why is it so easy to confuse less and fewer? Perhaps because they both represent the opposite of the comparative adjective more. Luckily, the conundrum of less vs. fewer has a solution that is simple to remember. It involves deducing whether fewer or less will be working with a countable or uncountable noun in your intended sentence.

In English, we use the same word, more, for a greater number and a greater amount/quantity.

Friday, September 18, 2015

How One Woman Revolutionized America’s Culinary Landscape with Writing

Words are powerful. They can change minds, start revolutions, and even sell ShamWows. For this reason, writers know they have a huge responsibility — the words they use could potentially change the world.

One woman whose words changed an entire field was food journalist Clementine Paddleford. Her groundbreaking career spanned the 1920s through the 1960s. At the height of her career, 12 million households were reading her column.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs—What’s the Difference?

A verb can be described as transitive or intransitive based on whether it requires an object to express a complete thought or not. A transitive verb is one that only makes sense if it exerts its action on an object. An intransitive verb will make sense without one. Some verbs may be used both ways.

The word transitive often makes people think of transit, which leads to the mistaken assumption that the terms transitive and intransitive are just fancy ways of describing action and nonaction.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

For All Intents and Purposes—How to Use It

  • “For all intents and purposes” means “in effect.”
  • Don’t confuse this expression with the eggcorn “for all intensive purposes.”

If you conduct business, you have probably run across the phrase “for all intents and purposes.” What does this expression mean? Understanding the sense of the words will help you avoid a common but costly mistake.

The Bits and Pieces of Intents and Purposes

The first step is to understand the key elements of the phrase.

Friday, September 11, 2015

How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty (at All!)

No is one of the shortest words in English, but also it’s one of the most difficult to say. The problem isn’t pronunciation. Many people feel guilty when they have to turn down a request—especially one from a friend, colleague, or family member.

How can you decline a request without those pesky feelings of guilt? Let’s look at some scenarios you might face at the workplace. Why is saying no the right thing to do in each situation?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

These 6 Writing Apps Will Make You a Better Writer

We’ve come a long way, writers. Once, improving our writing skills meant writing (and later typing) our drafts, doing our best to revise and proofread, and then subjecting them to an editor’s red pen. Today, we have tools to not only help us create content, but also to organize, proofread, and polish it.

These apps and online tools will help any writer perfect her craft.

Content Creation Tools

Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and other word processors are fantastic tools.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Essential Résumé Template

There are two things you need to keep in mind when you’re creating a résumé. First, you should be aware that a lot of recruiters and employers use special software that searches your résumé for specific keywords. Even when your résumé does get seen by human eyes—and this is the second thing you need to remember—the employer will take only six seconds to make a decision about how good of a fit you might be for the job.

Monday, September 7, 2015

What Is the Deal with Fidget Spinner Toys?

It’s a cross between a ninja throwing star and a spinning top. It’s a useful way to enhance focus, and it’s a huge distraction that has no place in the classroom. What the heck is it about this piece of plastic that’s so darn polarizing?

What is a fidget spinner?

A fidget spinner has three prongs (usually), is small enough to fit in your palm, and spins around a weighted disc at the center.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

How Game of Thrones Characters Would Approach a Writing Assignment

Though A Song of Ice and Fire was not written to be a writing guide, there are many valuable lessons in the epic that can be broadly applied to different facets of life.

Spoiler alert

In this post, we will be analyzing characters and their development throughout book five of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and season seven of HBO’s Game of Thrones to understand what lessons certain characters can offer to improve your writing.

10 Ways to Save Time Every Day That Most People Ignore

Would you like more time for family, recreation, and rest? It’s easier than you think to find time to do the things you enjoy most. Let’s talk about ten oft-ignored ways to save time every single day.

1 Keep track of your time.

“What gets measured gets done.” Though experts debate who wrote this old adage, few disagree with its wisdom. By measuring your time, you can evaluate whether you’re spending it wisely.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Stationary vs. Stationery—What’s the Difference?

  • Stationary means “fixed,” “immobile,” or “unchanging.”
  • Stationery refers to paper, matching envelopes, and writing implements.

At a glance, stationary and stationery look very much alike. But they couldn’t be further apart in meaning and function. So confusing them—and they’re often confused—is a noticeable mistake.

What Does Stationary Mean?

When something is fixed, immobile, or not subject to change, we can use the adjective stationary to describe it:

Friday, August 28, 2015

What Is the Best Way to Develop a Writing Style?

Whether or not you realize it, you have a writing style. It’s like fashion: sometimes you don’t notice it at all (jeans and a t-shirt), and other times you can’t take your eyes away (Fashion Week, or Lady Gaga). Whether you’re trying to make it as an author or churning out dozens of business emails a day, your writing style is your signature way of communicating.

Your writing style is uniquely yours, but that doesn’t mean it has to be so unique that it causes confusion.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Appositives—What They Are and How to Use Them

An appositive noun or noun phrase follows another noun or noun phrase in apposition to it; that is, it provides information that further identifies or defines it. Such “bonus facts” are framed by commas unless the appositive is restrictive (i.e., provides essential information about the noun).

Appose is a very old word that one doesn’t cross paths with much except in the realms of grammar and science.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Post-Vacation Blues: Is There Any Way to Beat Them?

You’re getting your tan on at the beach. You’re living your Lord of the Rings fantasy on a mountaintop. Maybe you’re just catching a snooze on a couch. What matters: you’re on vacation.

But then, with a sudden jolt, the freedom you briefly tasted is snatched away. Jetlag ensues. The alarm clock goes off. You’re back under the fluorescent lights of your office. How do you bounce back?

Monday, August 24, 2015

What You Absolutely Must Do After Making a Mistake at Work

You messed up on the job. Big time. Now what?

Making a mistake at work can be both horrifying and humbling. Not only does it leave you feeling embarrassed, but your professional reputation and credibility may hang in the balance. We don’t do our best thinking when we’re stressed or anxious, so knowing how to react before a mistake happens will prepare you to react sensibly.

How to Get a Grip After You Make a Mistake

Before you react, take a deep breath.

How to End an Email: 9 Best and Worst Email Sign-Offs

You’ve worked to make your email clear, and you’ve carefully edited to streamline your writing. The body of your email might well be perfect, but it can all go awry if you use the wrong sign-off. It’s just a word or a short phrase, followed by your signature, and yet finding the right tone to close your email often requires a surprising amount of thought and finesse.

When you’re struggling with how to end an email, it’s best to consider the context.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Comma Rules for Business Emails

Let there be no mistake—the comma wields a power far greater than its humble looks might suggest. “You will go you will return never in the battle you will perish” is the most famous example of it. This saying is usually attributed to the Oracle of Delphi, and it is supposed to be an answer to the question of whether or not to go to war. If you place a comma before “never,” the answer becomes a green light.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

4 Ways to Get Back to Work When You (Really) Don’t Want to

You know you need to work, but you really don’t want to. Millions of distractions—some worthier than others—compete for your time and attention. How do you drown out the voice of procrastination?

Here are four ways that will get you working again, even when you’d rather be doing anything else.

1 Reward Yourself

In Key of Knowledge, prolific author Nora Roberts writes: “There’s no reward without work, no victory without effort, no battle won without risk.” The converse is also true.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Here’s Your Ultimate Sunday Night De-Stress Playlist

There’s a gentle balancing act in calibrating a mellow playlist, say for the Sunday evening before a hectic workweek.

Cue up too many happy songs and the result can feel saccharine. Too many sad ones will just leave you depressed. Jams that get you moving are fun when you’re going out, but tonight you’re staying in. Then again, you need something with a pulse: you’re not winding down for bed quite yet.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Strikethrough and Why It’s so Popular

A very long time before any of us was born, there were no computers, typewriters, or printing presses. Books were written by hand, on pieces of specially treated leather called parchment or vellum. Back in medieval times, books were not only written but also illuminated, embellished by colorful drawings. And the lettering, even though you might not be able to read it easily, is a testament to the skill and patience of the scribes who wrote them.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Complete Guide to Reevaluating Your 2017 Goals

You came into 2017 with high hopes.

Maybe you decided Stephen King isn’t the only writer who can mash out a few thousand words every day. If Chuck Palahniuk can hammer out an entire novel in under two months, you reasoned, then surely you’d be able to finish your opus by springtime. Journalists churn out many hundreds of words each day and presumably still see the sun once in awhile.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Separable and Inseparable Phrasal Verbs

A phrasal verb is a verb combined with a preposition or adverb (or both) that means something different from each of the words that make up the verb. There are two types of phrasal verbs. Separable phrasal verbs can be broken up by other words, while inseparable phrasal verbs cannot be separated by other words.

Separable Phrasal Verbs

You can insert other words into the middle of a separable phrasal verb.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Why You Should Take a Vacation, Even If You’re Busy

“I hate vacation,” said no one ever. So why are we so bad at taking time off? North Americans in particular are notorious for rarely taking time off work. A study by Expedia found that each year workers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico take twelve, fifteen, and twelve days off respectively, while Europeans take between twenty and thirty days off.

Granted, employers in North America tend to offer significantly less vacation time than European ones, but workers often don’t even take all the time they’re entitled to, and that’s bad.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Inaugural Guide to Writing the Perfect Tweet

Today marks the fifty-eighth United States presidential inauguration. As the US swears in Donald Trump as their leader, the world will watch not only the proceedings but also the new president’s active Twitter account. President Trump’s Twitter usage has been unprecedented compared to previous candidates and has put the social network squarely in the headlines for over a year.

Since the new leader of the United States loves Twitter, what better way to honor this inauguration than with an extensive guide to writing the perfect tweet?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Top 10 Student Writing Mistakes: Finals Edition

The Grammarly Editor has reviewed thousands of essays, term papers, and short stories from students of all ages. As a result, we’ve been able to collect data on the most common types of mistakes that student writers are making. As finals season approaches, take a look at the errors on the list below to brush up on your spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Good writing habits will not only serve you well in school, but written accuracy benefits professionals throughout their careers.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Why You Don’t Get Anything Done After 2pm

Yaaawn. You were having a productive day.

This morning you were launching emails with the rapid succession of a fireworks display and smashing deadlines like an elite Whac-a-Mole champion who can see the future. It’s one of those magical days where you managed to titrate your coffee dosage perfectly—you were awake enough to contribute plenty during your team’s morning meeting, but not caffeinated to the point of jitters or psychosis.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

“Seasonal” Words: Do They Exist?

Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language,

Henry James once wrote.

With the start of spring and the promise of summer, now is a good time to think about seasonal words. Writers, by nature, are collectors of words and catchy turns of phrase, but are there some that should be retired when they fall out of season?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Republican Primary Candidates Grammar Power Rankings

At Grammarly, we believe that every time we write, we make a statement. Technology encourages fast-paced typing and textspeak—and while we don’t think that’s always bad—we do think it can fuel misconceptions and get out of hand.

In the interest of fun and a little gamesmanship, we’ve started a series of studies to award Grammar Power Rankings to different categories of commenters across the web.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Early Bird Catches the Word: Analysis Shows We Write Better by Day

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

So says the old proverb, often attributed to Benjamin Franklin. Of course, Franklin lived in a time before electric lighting, when staying up late meant burning the midnight oil and people had good reason to be productive during the daylight hours. Even so, at least when it comes to writing well, he may have been onto something.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Who Is Your Literary “Father Figure?”

What does it mean to be a father? Dads approach fatherhood in a variety of ways, from overbearing to “wrapped around your little finger,” and everything in between. There’s no formula for the perfect father, but there are some commonalities among father figures in literature that make the concept of fatherhood a powerful one.

In honor of Father’s Day, here are six father figures in literature.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

26 Words and Phrases to Never Use in a Resume

Resumes are tricky things. The tried-and-true resume tropes of old no longer make the cut in today’s competitive market.

Odds are good that your resume will go through an applicant tracking system scan to determine whether it contains the right keywords before it even hits a hiring manager’s desk. But let’s assume you’ve passed that test and your resume is awaiting review. The difference between getting an interview and getting a thanks-but-no-thanks email (or no acknowledgement at all) could come down to the words or phrases you used in your resume.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Capitalization: Periods and Events

Specific periods, eras, historical events, etc.: these should all be capitalized as proper nouns. Why? Since there are many periods, eras, wars, etc., the capital will differentiate the specific from the common. Consider the examples below:

Most of the World War I veterans are now deceased.
In the Middle Ages, poor hygiene was partly responsible for the spreading of bubonic plague.

Monday, July 20, 2015

What Do Adjectives Modify?

Adjectives are words that modify nouns. They are often called “describing words” because they give us further details about a noun, such as what it looks like (the white horse), how many there are (the three boys) or which one it is (the last house). Adjectives do not modify verbs or other adjectives.

Most often, adjectives are easy to identify in a sentence because they fall right before the nouns they modify.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Beside vs. Besides—How to Use Each

Beside and besides are quite commonly confused with one another despite their different definitions. Even though they are spelled almost the same, they are not used in the same way.

The Basic Difference Between “Beside” and “Besides”

Beside, without the s, tells us the location of something. Besides, on the other hand, means “in addition,” “in addition to,” “moreover,” or “as well,” depending on context.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

10 Amazing Books That Will Improve Your Writing Skills

Here are two simple truths—writing skills can be taught, and all good writers are also readers. What better way to accomplish two things at once than to read books about writing?

Back in the late ’90s, I owned and managed one of the first websites to offer online workshops especially for writers. Nearly every week, some publishing house would send me one of their latest books for writers hoping for a glowing review.

Monday, July 13, 2015

“Was” or “Were” in the “If” Clause/Conditional

If you find yourself debating whether to use “was” or “were” in a sentence, it’s likely that you’re dealing with an unreal conditional sentence. As a refresher, an unreal conditional sentence expresses events that are hypothetical or improbable.

Typically, an unreal conditional sentence begins with an if clause containing the past tense or past perfect tense of a verb followed by a conditional clause containing a modal verb such as “would.” Consider the following sentences:

If I had told you the answer, I would have been cheating.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Small Talk 101 for Shy People in the Office

Small Talk 101 Syllabus

Course Description

Getting to know others in your office by striking up small talk conversations is an anxiety-inducing social activity, coming in right behind team-building exercises like the trust fall and that relay thing where you have to race around with a raw egg on a spoon. That goes double for introverted or shy people. This course will provide the student with five no-fail tips for striking up a conversation and sample scripts to demonstrate good small talk in action.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Monday Motivation Hack: Set Your Work Boundaries

We’re not going to advise you to just “deal with it” when a coworker talks too much, listens to music too loudly, wears too much perfume, doesn’t meet deadlines, or does just about any other irritating thing people do at work.

This is about understanding your personal tolerance level at work and clearly communicating it to those around you without burning bridges.

Why Is Boundary-Setting So Hard?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Which kind of writing mistakes most reduce news articles’ credibility?

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, July 3, 2015

What’s the Most Irritating, Enraging Work Communication Habit?

Ah, March Madness. Every year, this season reminds college basketball lovers to root for the underdog, try their hand at predicting tournament results, and believe in their team. Similarly, our March MADness tournament to choose the worst work habit has had some upsets, a few underdogs, and ultimately, one champion. If you voted in one or more of the polls, thank you! Your voice has been heard.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Persons vs. People vs. Peoples—What’s the Difference?

Most of the time, people is the correct word to choose as a plural for person. Persons is archaic, and it is safe to avoid using it, except in legal writing, which has its own traditional language. Peoples is only necessary when you refer to distinct ethnic groups (for example, within the same region).

“People” vs. “Persons” as Plurals

Person and people both derive from Latin, but from different words.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Three French Phrases English Loves to Borrow

For the third day of LitMas, we’re offering you three French phrases English speakers love to borrow. There’s something kind of glamorous about sprinkling foreign phrases into your conversations every now and then, don’t you think?

1 Joyeux Noël

’Tis the season of wondering what noel means. In French, Noël simply means Christmas. If you’re not sure about joyeux, go ahead and take a guess—you’re probably right.

Monday, June 29, 2015

How to Write Ordinal Numbers Correctly

Is this your first lesson on ordinal numbers? Maybe the second? Or, perhaps it’s the third?

To put it simply, ordinal numbers are used to put things in order. This can be anything from an address to the position a runner finishes in a race.

She lives on 26th Street. He finished in third place.

Ordinal numbers indicate position or order in relation to other numbers.

Cardinal numbers, on the other hand, express a quantity of something.

Monday Motivation Hack: Treat Yourself

Mondays are hard.

But they don’t have to be.

In our Monday Motivation series, we’re set on helping you make the start of your week—and maybe the entire week—something you look forward to. This week we’re diving into something that might seem pretty obvious, but is often overlooked:

Give yourself something to look forward to, something that will make you feel successful.

Rather than wallow in the misery of Monday, why not make Monday a special day?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Do You Capitalize Family Titles?

When terms denoting family relationships are used as proper nouns (as names), they are capitalized. However, when the terms are used as common nouns (not as names), they’re not capitalized. Generally, there will be a possessive pronoun (my, her, his, our) or an article (the, a, an) in front of family titles used as common noun.

It’s easy to get confused about whether you should capitalize family names in your writing.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

5 Tips for Avoiding Work on Your Vacation

Like many of us, I’ve been a victim of working whilst being on holiday. As someone who works for a handful of startups and for myself, the pressure of not being connected or involved was always front of mind as I headed off to the sun.

Our modern society keeps us connected to the world of social media, apps, email, and cloud services. On average, we commence 150 mobile sessions on our smartphones every single day.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Style Guide Tutorial: Navigating the Citation and Formatting Jungle

You have to write a paper, or copyedit one, and you have a heap of style manuals in front of you. Which one do you use? Are they consistent? Is there a difference between them? Is it all arbitrary?

As you work on your text, it stares up at you, glaring with its colons, commas, and parenthetical citations. Where do they go? Are the lines single or double-spaced? How wide are the margins supposed to be?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Past Perfect Continuous Tense

The past perfect continuous tense (also known as the past perfect progressive tense) shows that an action that started in the past continued up until another time in the past. The past perfect continuous tense is constructed using had been + the verb’s present participle (root + -ing).

Unlike the present perfect continuous, which indicates an action that began in the past and continued up to the present, the past perfect continuous is a verb tense that indicates something that began in the past, continued in the past, and also ended at a defined point in the past.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

7 Quotes on Imposter Syndrome That Will Help You Gain Confidence

“They all know. It’s only a matter of time until I’m called out. I’m a fraud.”

How many times has a similar line of thought traipsed seductively through your consciousness? An estimated 70 percent of us will likely experience at some point the feelings of inadequacy and “fakeness” that accompany imposter syndrome.

While people who experience imposter syndrome—feelings of failure and “pretending”—often experience higher rates of burnout, job dissatisfaction, and stagnancy, they also tend to be successful, as researcher Valerie Young shows.

Monday, June 15, 2015

How did you learn grammar?

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.

3 Books to Read with Your BFF

Reading is often a solitary experience. But good books can bring people together in surprising and meaningful ways. Here are three books we think would be great to read with a close friend, or someone with whom you might want to become close friends:

The Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery

The friendship between Diana Barry and Anne Shirley in the Anne of Green Gables series is famous for providing us with the term “bosom friend.” Anne and Diana are friends through thick and thin, stirring up mischief and helping each other through life’s struggles in equal measure.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Parallel Structure and Prepositions

When prepositional phrases are used in a parallel series, prepositions (with, to, of, over, under, by, etc.) should be repeated with every element of the series unless all elements use the same preposition. A common error is to repeat prepositions unnecessarily, resulting in a stilted style.

I am making a stew with beef, with carrots, and with onions.

In this sentence, there are three prepositional phrases complementing I am making a stew.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Can You Wear Some Deodorant? and Other Awkward Cubicle Conversations

Imagine you’re hard at work on a report that’s due by the end of the day. It’s been a busy week so far, and you’ve got a long way to go, so you need to avoid distractions. Unfortunately, your eyes are watering and your nose is twitching because the guy in the next cube, the one who bikes ten miles to work every day, is . . . aromatic. And not in a pleasant way.

It’s time to either fill your cube to the brim with potpourri or confront Joe Cyclist.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Top 30 Commonly Confused Words in English

Everyone knows the problem with spell-check: your word might be spelled right, but it may be the wrong word. English is full of confusing words that sound alike but are spelled differently. It’s also full of words that share similar (but not identical) meanings that are easy to misuse. Below are some of the most commonly confused and misused words in English.

Here’s a tip: Looking for a specific pair of commonly confused words on this page?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

How to Address Your Business Email or Letter to a Woman (Without Offending Her)

Let’s face it, formal letter-writing has gone the way of the pager. Once a necessary communication tool, it’s now a relic of an era before email, only to be used in specific, often similarly antiquated situations.

But what should you do if you have occasion to write a letter? And what if you have to write that letter to someone who isn’t a man?


Never fear, fearless writer, you’ve got this.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

How to Improve Writing Skills in 15 Easy Steps

Learning a variety of writing skills isn’t as difficult as you may think. We’ve put together a list of steps to help you make dramatic improvements to the quality of your writing in short order.

Becoming a better writer takes practice, and you’re already practicing. No, seriously—you write a lot. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a writer, you put thoughts into text more often than you realize.

Monday, June 1, 2015

First, Second, and Third Person

  • First person is the I/we perspective.
  • Second person is the you perspective.
  • Third person is the he/she/it/they perspective.

First, second, and third person are ways of describing points of view.

First-Person Point of View

When we talk about ourselves, our opinions, and the things that happen to us, we generally speak in the first person. The biggest clue that a sentence is written in the first person is the use of first-person pronouns.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


What’s a Participle?

A participle is a form of a verb that can be used as an adjective or combined with the verb to be to construct different verb tenses.

Present Participles

In English, all present participles end in -ing. In most cases, if the base form of a verb ends in a consonant, you simply add -ing. Walk becomes walking, eat becomes eating, think becomes thinking, and so on.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

How to Write Right After You’ve Swiped Right

Swipe left. Swipe left.

She likes hiking and outdoor sports; you’re a homebody who’d rather eat nachos and watch Netflix. He’s into kale smoothies and hates chocolate; you . . . well, honestly, what kind of person hates chocolate?

But then someone appears who catches your eye. This person sounds upbeat, likes many of the same things you do, and has some interesting hobbies. Winner!

Imperative Verbs: Definition and Examples

Imperative verbs are verbs that create an imperative sentence (i.e. a sentence that gives an order or command). When reading an imperative sentence, it will always sound like the speaker is bossing someone around. Imperative verbs don’t leave room for questions or discussion, even if the sentence has a polite tone. Use the root form of the verb to create the imperative. Consider the examples below:

Give me that book!

Monday, May 25, 2015

“Have You Reached ‘Dad Goals’ Status?” Quiz

Being a good dad takes a lot of work, love, and sacrifice.

Being a great dad takes something a little extra . . .

. . . a certain humility

. . . and toughness with tenderness.

The best dads aspire to ultimate #dadgoals—like choreographing a routine to “Let It Go,” making Halloween costumes a priority, or being there when things get hard. This quiz mixes fun and honest questions to help you understand if you’ve unlocked the ultimate dad goals status.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Willpower Is a Muscle—Here’s How to Make It Stronger

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), children who demonstrate stronger willpower in the lab end up having better school attendance and stronger academic performance while also being more likely to have “greater physical and mental health, fewer substance-abuse problems and criminal convictions, and better savings behavior and financial security” as adults. Yet, in the APA’s Annual Stress Survey, lack of self-control is the leading reason Americans fail to follow through with healthy lifestyle changes.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Texting and Dating: Best Practices

On the back of one of his albums, Bob Dylan reportedly wrote, “I accept chaos, but does chaos accept me?” In most areas of life, rules and procedures govern everything. However, when it comes to texting and dating, people tend to accept chaos. Should this be the case? Consider whether the following texting and dating guidelines would improve your chances of finding love.

1 Introduce yourself in your first text and use the name of the recipient: “Hi, Kirsten.

Monday, May 18, 2015

25 Homophones That Most Spell-Checkers Won’t Catch

Spell-checkers have come a long way since a West Coast beach boy with an FBI record invented the first prototype at MIT in the 1960s. Nowadays, the überhelpful technology is not only ubiquitous in all word processors, quietly creating more error-free writing around the world, it also exists online, where it can point out mistakes in real time while we write emails or post on social media.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

2 Pairs of Words People Confuse All Too Often

Antidote vs. Anecdote Antidote: A remedy to counteract the effects of poison; something that counteracts or prevents something harmful. For example: We must find the antidote to the poison before its effects spread throughout the body. Her sense of humor is the perfect antidote to this stressful situation.

Anecdote: A short account of a real incident or person, often humorous or interesting; an account which supports an argument, but which is not supported by scientific or statistical analysis.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Words of Wisdom from Great Women Writers

In honor of International Women’s Day, we rounded up nine of our favorite quotes from women writers about reading. Share your favorite quotes about reading and writing in the comments section!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Just Memorize These Irregular Verbs

Is there a foolproof strategy for remembering irregular verbs? Absolutely. Just memorize them! Of course, that’s easier said than done. Do memory tricks actually work? Why not try to create a mnemonic for each of these common irregular verbs?

Henry L. Roediger III, a psychology professor at Washington University’s Memory Lab, confirms that songs help encode information into the hippocampus and frontal cortex of the brain.

Monday, May 11, 2015

What Do You Think About Correct Spelling in Emails?

What do you think about the state of writing in the workplace? Share your thoughts in our weekly poll!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Is spelling important to you when shopping? Take the poll!

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.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How to Emoji at Work: A Guide

Elon Musk is a visionary in many areas, but his memo on acronyms at SpaceX will be forever remembered as one of the greatest workplace satires of all time. The memo, aptly titled “Acronyms Seriously Suck,” explained that “excessive use of made up acronyms is a significant impediment to communication.” Musk then goes on for four paragraphs on why acronyms are ruining the culture at SpaceX.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Here Are the Top 10 Slang Words of 2016

We’re a lil obsessed with slang, y’know?

According to multiple studies conducted in 2016, the English language is becoming less formal in several contexts. It’s time to talk about slang.

While grammar pedants love to decry slang as lazy or sloppy, in reality, slang often represents the next English language trend. As this infographic shows, words often go from trendy and edgy to mainstream in a relatively short period of time.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How often do you try to improve your writing skills?

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.

Monday, April 27, 2015

NFL Fan Grammar Rankings: How does your team stack up?

Geoff Foster, of The Wall Street Journal’s “The Count” sports column, collaborated with Grammarly, the popular automated proofreader, to put NFL fans to the test. Each official NFL team site was analyzed looking at the top 150 fan comments (10,000+ words) for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.

Grammarly ranked all 32 NFL team fan bases from worst to best. Whose smack talk was the most eloquent?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fantastic Lists and How to Use Them

If you want to get more done, lists are potent tools that can make you a productivity wizard. Our grimoire will reveal the most fantastic lists and teach you how to wield their power.


Goal Lists

Goal lists are for plotting your long game strategy. What do you want to accomplish in the next six months, year, five years? Odds are, you already have some things in mind. Put them in writing!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

How to Write a Good Pitch

So you have an idea for a story that’s burning a hole in your brain, and you need to find it a home—ideally somewhere that will embrace and enhance your style, share your work with a broad readership, and pay you decently.

In other words, you hope to surmount one of the greatest hurdles that separates the writing world’s dreamers from its doers. No pressure, though.

If writing is your calling, there’s tough work ahead, but it’s doable.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Which punctuation mark would you choose?

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.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Defence vs. Defense—Which Should I Use?

Let’s dispel another spelling mystery. It’s defense against defence, and if you think it’s one of the British English vs. American English things—you might be onto something.

Defence and defense are both correct ways to spell the same word. The difference between them, the fact that one’s spelled with a “c” and the other with an “s”, comes down to the part of the world in which they are used.

Friday, April 17, 2015

3 Ways to Save Time on Social Media

Your alarm rings. You roll over, grab your phone, turn off the alarm, and immediately start scrolling through Instagram. Then you move to Facebook. Then Twitter. Then your work chat and email. Next thing you know, you have to rush through your morning routine and head to work.

Sound familiar?

If you’re wondering how to save time on social media, you’re not alone. Multiple studies have linked high social media use and negative feelings like dissatisfaction, disconnection, and even loneliness.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

6 Fictional Presidents Who Were Great Communicators

Happy Presidents’ Day! On this day when the United States honors their commander in chief, we thought it would be fun to look at the fictional portrayals of this office throughout pop culture history. We’ve found that many presidents from books, television, and film were excellent orators, and some may have surpassed even the most loquacious POTUS of their age. Here are some of our favorites, and we want to hear yours in the comments.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Grammar Basics: What Are Nondefining Clauses?

There are two types of relative clauses—defining and nondefining. To review, relative clauses can contain a subject, verb, and a relative pronoun, though not all are needed. The relative pronouns are who, whose, when, where, which, and that. Relative clauses are sometimes called adjective or adjectival clauses because they describe nouns like adjectives do. Defining clauses give essential information about the main noun.

Friday, April 10, 2015

When to Use a Comma Before “Or”

Should you use a comma before or? The answer depends on how you are using or. Always place a comma before or when it begins an independent clause, but if it begins a dependent clause, don’t. In a series (or list) of three or more items, you can use a comma before or, but this is a preference, not a rule.

People often get muddled about whether to place a comma before conjunctions like and, so, because, and or.

10 Words You Need to Know for the GRE

Whether you’re studying for the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations test) or just want to improve your vocabulary, these are ten words you should learn how to use right now.

Replete: filled or well-supplied with something. Our cupboard is replete with canned soup.

Harbinger: A person or thing that foreshadows or foretells the coming of someone or something. Some people believe that crows are harbingers of death.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

11 Unique Ways to Say ‘Thank You’ in an Email

It’s not a good look, but it happens: for busy, highly caffeinated workers in a deadline-driven world, it’s perilously easy to send an email that reads as callous and unfeeling.

Your humble blogger included, we’ve all been guilty at times, hurriedly mashing “send” and moving on without acknowledging whatever favor or question we’ve imposed upon a trusted colleague or potentially valuable contact.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Find Your Zen When Coworkers Are Getting on Your Nerves

Today is not going as planned.

A wave of unexpected assignments crashed across your desk this morning, forcing you to skip lunch. You’re feeling grouchy. Then, seeking solace in the breakroom, you discover an overloaded refrigerator shelf has chosen this very moment to collapse. After a terrible crash that surely captured everyone’s attention, you find yourself standing in a pool of broken glass, sorrow, and cold tea.

Friday, April 3, 2015

12 Aquatic Collective Nouns That Will Make Your Heart Squee

You know what to call a group of cows or sheep, but do you know the names for groups of animals in the ocean? Why neglect your friends under the sea? Learn which animals congregate in a cast today!

Army of Herring

Attention! Most fish swim in schools, but herring swim in armies.

Bed of Oysters

Buried in the sand of the ocean floor or on the beach, you can find a bed of oysters.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What is a Gerund Phrase?

A gerund phrase is a phrase consisting of a gerund and any modifiers or objects associated with it. A gerund is a noun made from a verb root plus ing (a present participle). A whole gerund phrase functions in a sentence just like a noun, and can act as a subject, an object, or a predicate nominative.

If you look up the definition of gerund (pronounced JER-und), you will find that it means “an English noun formed from a verb by adding -ing”; that is, a present participle used as a noun.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hanged vs. Hung—Learn the Difference

Even the most hardened grammarians don’t condone capital punishment for grammar offenses, but we do tend to get hung up about hanged. Hanged can only refer to someone’s death by hanging. If you are wondering, “Is it hanged or hung?” establish whether a deadly action has taken place.

It’s one of the few times when grammar becomes a matter of life and death.

The Past Tense of Hang

Hung is the past tense of to hang when it means “to suspend or be suspended.”

Monday, March 30, 2015

Why Is Groundhog Day a Holiday? An Investigation

According to tradition and lore, Groundhog Day is when you find out whether spring is on its way or whether you’ve got six more weeks before winter runs its course. Observed on February 2, the holiday involves watching a rodent pop its head out of the ground and predicting the weather based on that.

Here’s how it works: if you’ve got cloudy skies when the groundhog shows up, then you can expect an early spring.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Grammarly Reviews – Where to Find Them

For every product conceivable, there are hundreds of reviews. You can find 5-star reviews as easily as 1-star reviews for the same product. The problem is, many reviews are unverified. Most websites allow anyone to post their opinions. As a consumer, wouldn’t you like to be sure that reviews are based on the experiences of real customers? How can you find trustworthy customer feedback for products like Grammarly?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Anytime vs. Any Time

A century ago, it was standard to write any time as two words in all contexts. But it’s now perfectly acceptable to write anytime as one word when you’re using it as an adverb. However, some readers still consider it a casualism, so you may want to stick to the two-word version for extremely formal writing.

  • When in doubt, write any time as two words. It might look a little old-fashioned, but it won’t be wrong.

Monday, March 23, 2015

How Do You Spell the Color Gray?

As a noun, gray usually refers to the color. It can be used as an adjective when we want to say that the color of something is a shade of gray. It can also be used as a verb, for when something turns gray. But regardless of its use, you’ll sometimes find that gray is not spelled the way you think it should be. Or, you might be reading this and thinking “those people at Grammarly really don’t know their spelling—it’s grey.” So, what’s behind the grey/gray dilemma, and is there any difference between them, besides the obvious?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Do You Use a Comma Before “So”?

Should you place a comma before so when it joins two clauses in a sentence? The answer depends on whether the clause introduced by so is an independent or dependent clause. If so begins an independent clause, a comma should precede it, but if it begins a dependent clause, leave it out.

Let’s have a look at how commas are used before so in the middle of a sentence.

Use a Comma with “So” + an Independent Clause

An independent clause is a clause that would convey a complete thought if it were to be set apart as a sentence on its own.

Simple Future Tense

The simple future is a verb tense that’s used to talk about things that haven’t happened yet.

This year, Jen will read War and Peace. It will be hard, but she’s determined to do it.

Use the simple future to talk about an action or condition that will begin and end in the future.

How to Form the Simple Future

The formula for the simple future is will + [root form of verb].

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Everyone vs. Every One?

Everyone vs. Every One

The pronoun everyone may be replaced by everybody. It is used to refer to all the people in a group. Written as two words, every one emphasizes each individual who makes up a group, and it means each person.

Unlike every time or everytime, everyone vs. every one is a decision that must be made with consideration to the meaning of the term in the context of your writing.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Did your writing skip a grade?

Today we celebrate some of the most important people in our societyteachers!

On National Teacher’s Day, it’s customary for younger students to bring their teachers apples or more modern gifts. Of course, the best way to thank teachers is by using the information they’ve taught us. As is evident from the show Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?, we are still occasionally missing the mark.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

You Will Want to Learn These 6 Time Management Tips

Are you feeling frustrated and unproductive? Like you’re constantly busy but the things that really matter aren’t getting done?

Check out these six time management tips that will help you increase productivity, lower stress, and get you closer to your goals!

1 Unplug From Email

There was a day when I looked up and realised that I had become someone who professionally replied to email, and who wrote as a hobby.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Comma Before While

    • Don’t use a comma before while when you mean “during the same time.”
    • Do use a comma before while when you mean “whereas” or “although.”

When while is used as a conjunction, it has two meanings. One meaning is related to time. In the temporal sense, while describes something that is happening at the same time as something else. The other meaning of while indicates a contrast. In this sense, it means “whereas” or “although.”

Monday, March 9, 2015

5 Cell Phone Etiquette Tips

Cell phones hit the free market 30 years ago, but Americans still haven’t internalized a complete set of social rules for cell phone usage. If you’re not sure what’s acceptable in the world of cell phone etiquette, check out these five tips in honor of Cell Phone Courtesy Month in July.

Keep Private Conversations Private

When you’re engrossed in a phone conversation, it’s easy to fool yourself into believing that no one can hear you except the person on the other end of the line.

Friday, March 6, 2015

What Language Do the Minions Speak?

The Minions have their own movie now, but before 2015, they starred alongside the lovable villain Gru in the Despicable Me movie series. Like all top actors, the Minions deliver many quotes that fans love to repeat. However, the quotes you hear from Minion fans are likely to be things like “Ngaaahaaa! Patalaki patalaku Big Boss!” What does that mean? What language do the Minions speak?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

These 7 Posts Will Help Your Job Search Pursuit

Your dream job is out there.

You can and will find it soon. How do we know this? Because you are driven, focused and have come to the right place for job-seeking advice. Grammarly is here to help.

Don’t be mistaken. Finding an ideal career path isn’t easy. Job interviews are tough. Plus, figuring out your perfect fit can be challenging. All of this is what makes the job-search process something most people dread.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Ultimate Desk Accessories to Boost Productivity

Does it matter what’s on your desk? A study published in Psychological Science indicates the answer is yes! The study reported associations with the state of one’s desk and generosity, creativity, and even healthy eating. However, most employees (and their bosses) concern themselves most with productivity.

Which of these eight desk accessories would boost your productivity at work?

Friday, February 27, 2015

21 Books to Read Before Your 21st Birthday

Our memories of the books we read as children tend to stick fondly in our minds for years after we’ve grown up. We asked our Twitter followers to share their favorite children’s books with us, and here’s what they said. Whether you have children of your own or you’re looking to recapture a bit of the magic of childhood, there’s something on this list for you:

1. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett 2.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

5 Word-Related Car Games for Your Next Road Trip

Stiff legs. Sore behind. “Are we there yet, Mom?”

It doesn’t matter whether you’re going to Aspen, New Orleans, or Disney World. Long car rides bore the best of us. One of the fastest ways to bust boredom is to keep your mind active. Pack these nifty word-related car games in your overnight bag the next time you hit the road.

Character Sketches

Choose another car and take a good look at its passengers.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Two Underrated Christmas Stories to Read This Season

Welcome to Day Two of LitMas, the holiday for bookworms of all sorts! Yesterday, we gave you one short poem by Longfellow, and today we have another gift to share.

On the second day of LitMas, we’re paying homage to LitMas’s distant cousin, Christmas, with two stories you can read in less than an hour about this fascinating holiday. They’re both old enough to be classics, although neither of them gets as much attention as the “Night Before Christmas” and “Christmas Carol” set.

Friday, February 20, 2015

How Should I Use There, Their, and They’re?

  • There means the opposite of here; “at that place.”
  • Their means “belongs to them.”
  • They’re is a contraction of “they are” or “they were.”

There, their, and they’re are the big trio of commonly confused words. All three of them are pronounced the same, and the spelling differences don’t seem to do a good job of stopping people from mixing them up.

What Does There Mean?

There can be used in a couple of ways.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Please Find Attached: Do You Need to Notify Your Audience?

When I was new to the job market and mailing out resumes (although I’m dating myself, I’ll admit that this was well before the days of email), I sent my carefully crafted cover letters with a note that read:

Enclosed please find my resume.

One such mailing resulted in an interview. There I was in the wood-paneled office of an immaculately groomed lawyer. While I waited anxiously in an oversized leather wingback chair, he sat at his desk clicking his pen top and scanning my resume and cover letter.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Please Advise: When to Use “Please Advise”

That email is sitting in your inbox. You know the answer to the question it’s asking, but those two words are still haunting you: “please advise.” It can show up in the subject line, somewhere in the middle of a message, or, most frequently, right before the signature at the end of the email. But what do you do with it?

The good news: if you know the answer to the main question in the email, just write your reply and boom!

Monday, February 16, 2015

5 Writing Mistakes You’re Making on Your LinkedIn Profile

On Twitter, we let our wit loose into the world. On Facebook, we showcase our social selves. On dating websites, we focus on our romantic side. And on LinkedIn, we carefully construct an image we wouldn’t mind an employer seeing—no photos from parties, no funny cat videos, no wisecracks. After all, it’s the professional social network, and using it means we consent to the general notion that it should be used for serious pursuits.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Examining the Language of Love

Although it topped bestseller lists around the world, E. L. James’ erotic romance novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, was widely panned by critics for its poor use of language. The Grammarly team reviewed the book for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, and learned that — although there were some mistakes — the errors were in alignment with similar gaffes in classic romantic literature.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Historic vs. Historical—Which Should I Use?

  • Historic describes something momentous or important in history.
  • Historical simply describes something that belongs to an earlier period of history.

Historic and historical are two adjectives that have very similar meanings; so similar that it’s no wonder they are often confused. Still, they are not simply two spellings for the same word, so you should know when to use which.

When to Use Historic

Historic is an adjective that comes in handy when we speak about people, places, or events that existed or happened in the past.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Wont vs. Won’t—What’s the Difference?

  • Won’t is the correct way to contract will not.
  • Wont is a type of behavior that is specific to a person. It’s also the wrong way to spell won’t.

Sometimes, when you forget to use an apostrophe, you get a word that’s just a misspelling of the original. But with won’t and wont, you get a word with its own completely unrelated meaning.

What Does Won’t Mean?

When we say won’t, we are actually saying will not.

Monday, February 9, 2015

How Long Should a Paragraph Be?

Various educators teach rules governing the length of paragraphs. They may say that a paragraph should be 100 to 200 words long, or be no more than five or six sentences. But a good paragraph should not be measured in characters, words, or sentences. The true measure of your paragraphs should be ideas.

Your childhood teacher did not wrong you when he or she taught you that there should be three, or four, or five sentences in a paragraph.

Friday, February 6, 2015

How to Write Powerful Bullet Points

Any writer who’s spent time in the trenches publishing articles online knows it’s hard to keep a reader’s attention. In fact, according to Tony Haile’s 2014 article on, 55 percent of readers will spend fifteen seconds or less actively on a page reading the article that took you many times longer to write and carefully proofread. Like it or not, our online culture, which blasts us with a never-ending stream of content 24/7, has made us skimmers rather than deep readers.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sneaky, Nerdy Ways to Celebrate Star Wars Day

Star Wars Day is a unique gift to both Star Wars fans and wordplay fans, giving us the opportunity to wish friend and foe alike, “May the Fourth be with you.”

Even if you live here on Earth and not in a galaxy far, far away, there are still ways to make sure that the Force is strong with you this May the Fourth. Maybe you incorporate subtle references into your day at the office, or change your speech habits.

Monday, February 2, 2015

What Is the Importance of Self-Promotion?

Self-promotion is rarely done well.

Maybe this is why the term “self-promotion” is regularly used interchangeably with showboating, and “self-promoters” are often considered jerks. Self-promotion is so problematic that some experts discourage it all together. Many of us, introverts and anxious types in particular, get squirmy at the possibility of being seen as a braggart.

However, it is possible to speak openly about your ideas and work in a way that benefits you personally and professionally rather than setting you back.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Grammar Basics: What Is Sentence Inversion?

Besides the question mark, how can you tell a question from a statement? One way is to look for sentence inversion. In statements, the subject usually comes before the verb. Questions invert the subject and the verb. In other words, the verb comes first, as in this example: Are you going to need a ride home from school? Sentence inversion isn’t a foolproof method for identifying a question, however.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Quotation Marks: Rules How to Use Them Correctly

  • We use quotation marks with direct quotes, with titles of certain works, to imply alternate meanings, and to write words as words.
  • Block quotations are not set off with quotation marks.
  • The quoted text is capitalized if you’re quoting a complete sentence and not capitalized if you’re quoting a fragment.
  • Commas and periods always go inside the quotation marks in American English; dashes, colons, and semicolons almost always go outside the quotation marks; question marks and exclamation marks sometimes go inside, sometimes stay outside.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

First, Firstly, At First…Which Is It?

First and firstly are both ordinal (or ordering) adverbs that English speakers and writers use to enumerate related points (e.g., first…second…third… or firstly…secondly…thirdly…). Because first, second, and third work perfectly well as both adjectives and adverbs, some people find that adding -ly is superfluous and even a little bit pretentious. In other words, it is grammatical overkill.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Save Time & Work Smarter with these 5 Email Apps

Do you have any idea how many hours a week you spend reading and writing emails? Well, according to a recent study by McKinsey & Company, it could easily be 11 hours for the average worker—and that doesn’t even count personal time! Just let that sink in for a moment…

Well, now you can take matters into your own hands (and possibly retain some sanity) with these time-saving and feature-packed third-party apps.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Are You a Grammar Troll? Quiz

Whether you’re the friend that everyone calls when they have a grammar question or you’re just a big English language geek, you love reading about and talking about language online. When writing mistakes happen online, however, language and grammar can get pretty divisive—quickly. We all have a tendency to chime in, but not all of us are as productive as others. Find out how much of a grammar troll you are in our short, fun quiz.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

English Grammar Rule Basics

A house needs a good foundation. Likewise, to speak a language, you need a firm understanding of grammar. Here are some basic rules you will need to know if you want to speak and write English well.


Nouns denote animate and inanimate things, ideas, places, or people. They compose about half of the English language. There are many types of nouns, and each type has its own usage rules.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Waking the Muse: How to Find Inspiration

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” – Jack London

Many writers are of the mistaken opinion that great work only comes when they are inspired, but that’s backwards. A writer doesn’t wait for inspiration to find them; a writer creates inspiration by starting to write, even when they don’t feel like it. The simple act of writing will kickstart your brain and let your Muse know that it’s time to get started.

Friday, January 16, 2015

What Is a Prepositional Phrase?

A prepositional phrase is a group of words consisting of a preposition, its object, and any words that modify the object. Most of the time, a prepositional phrase modifies a verb or a noun. These two kinds of prepositional phrases are called adverbial phrases and adjectival phrases, respectively.

At a minimum, a prepositional phrase consists of one preposition and the object it governs.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

5 Books Every Aspiring Writer Should Read

When it comes to giving aspiring writers advice, famous authors have suggested everything from imagining you’re dying (Anne Enright) to abstaining from alcohol, sex, and drugs (Colm Tóibín). The one pointer that nearly every personality seems to agree on, though, is that anyone dreaming of penning the next great novel should read, read, read.

And while the rule seems to be the more books the merrier, here are a few top recommendations for those counting on being the next F.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Breath vs. Breathe

  • Breathe is a verb we use for the process of inhaling and exhaling.
  • Breath is a noun that refers to a full cycle of breathing. It can also refer to the air that is inhaled or exhaled.
  • Both words can be used in several different ways and are part of many phrases and idioms.

You know when it gets really cold outside, and you exhale and see the steam coming out of your mouth? Is it your breath that you’re seeing or is it your breathe?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Among vs. Amongst: What’s the Difference?

Amongst and among mean the same thing, but among is most common, particularly in American English. Both words are prepositions that mean “into, surrounded by; in the midst of, so as to influence; with a share for each of; in the number, class, or group of; mutually; or by all or with the whole of.”

Linda Richman, a Saturday Night Live character, would often give her audience an interesting topic to ponder, such as “The peanut is neither a pea nor a nut,” delivering the line in an exaggerated New York accent.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

5 Email Habits to Keep Your Inbox (and Coworkers) Happy

It’s that rare, beautiful Monday when you make it to the office early. Your commute wasn’t as vexing as usual, your coffee’s still hot, and no one is around yet. Your heart races at this delicious opportunity to get some actual work done without the usual distractions.

You peel open your laptop only to discover twenty-seven unread emails. Your shoulders slump in despair. How many of these even matter?