Grammar Slammer

Punctuation, usage, spelling … the Grammar Slammer is keeping an eye on the way we use (and misuse!) the written word.

Make sure you use the right word

February 24, 2021
Our language is peppered with homophones: Words that sound alike, are spelled differently, and mean different things. There are tricky ones that can sneak into your writing and cause your reader to question your grasp on what essentially are common words. Watch for these.

Clean up your writing

April 8, 2020
Quiz yourself on these grammar rules.

Primer on apostrophes

February 26, 2020
Apostrophes can be confusing, but they can be mastered. Here are some guidelines for using this punctuation mark correctly, according to Mignon Fogarty on Quick and Dirty Tips.

‘Quick, hand me a … skin covering device!’

January 2, 2020
Many purists might cling to the rule that if you’re not using Band-Aid brand bandages, then don’t call them Band-Aids. But there are many everyday items that are better known for their brand names rather than their generic names.

Choose just the right word

December 5, 2019
Learn the difference between five similar pairs of words.

Whoa, whoa … easy on those commas!

October 31, 2019
Commas are intended to help the reader comprehend a sentence more easily. Unnecessary ones are a distraction. Here are three places not to put a comma, from Barron’s Essentials of English.

Choose the right words

October 23, 2019
Here are some words that are often misused in everyday sentences.

Put your modifiers in the right spot

August 28, 2019
YOLO! That’s You Only Live Once. However, the correct phrase should be You Live Only Once. Let’s take a look at what can happen to a sentence when you move the word only around.

A helpful grammar hand from the AP

August 1, 2019
From @APStylebook, a Twitter feed run by the Associated Press, some very handy hints from recent online chats, collected by PR Newswire.

Where does the apostrophe go?

June 26, 2019
Spellcheckers don’t catch every little mistake. Until someone invents a foolproof spellchecker, we need to rely on our own skills at using apostrophes.