Grammar Slammer

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

4 rules for better writing

November 1, 2015

Much of our workday is spent in communication with others. Make sure your writing doesn’t distract readers and cancel out your efforts to communicate clearly. Here are four rules to help improve your writing:


That or Which?

October 14, 2015
Many people use “that” and “which” interchangeably, but the words have different grammatical meanings. Here’s the basic rule of thumb: You use “that” for clauses that are im­­per­­a­­tive to the sentences, whereas “which” is for phrases and clauses that aren’t essential and usually just serve descriptive purposes.

Redundant redundancies

September 1, 2015
Here are some common redundancies that you should exterminate completely (redundancy intended) from your writing and speech.


September 1, 2015
Lie is an intransitive verb (one that does not take an object), meaning “to recline.” Its principal parts are lie, lay (past tense), lain (past participle) and lying (present participle) …

How many of these tricky sentences would trip you up?

July 1, 2015
Take this 10-question quiz to see if you’re a grammar ace.

Avoid these common word mistakes

June 16, 2015
Using a word incorrectly can harm your image, writes Jeff Haden for LinkedIn. These common words can trip up even strong writers.

Which words do you misuse?

June 1, 2015
You may think you know what these words mean, but is it possible you’re mistaken?

10 grammar rules that really aren’t rules

May 14, 2015
Grammar is full of rules, and those who know them sometimes like to call out those who don’t. But some oft-stated rules are really just myths, as grammar blogger Mignon Fogarty writes at Mental Floss.

A preposition proposition

May 7, 2015
Many writers develop their own quirks and styles over time, and it’s possible to identify their writing just by the words and phrases they use. One common style quirk is using prepositions too much, especially the word “of,” says Grammar Girl blogger Mignon Fogarty. “Overusing it can make your writing sound passive and fussy.”

5 exceptions to the grammar rules

April 13, 2015
Once you’ve learned all the basic rules of English grammar, you’ll find there are almost as many exceptions. Grammarly Director of Communications Allison VanNest explains some words that act in ways you might not expect.