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.