Category Archives: Grammar

Yes, that useless pseudo-rule against ending sentences with a preposition is a useless pseudo-rule

It always has been, and it always will be. One of the many problems with arguing with strangers on the internet is that people insist upon things that they are not sure about. They argue, often heatedly and passionately, in … Continue reading

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Stupid, pedantic formalism fetishists are turning however into a conjunction that is replacing mid-sentence but

The more I hear people speak and read their writing in all kinds of situations, in real life or in TV/movies, in blog posts, essays, or informal discussion threads, in scripted dialogue or narration or while ad-libbing, the more often … Continue reading

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Stop suggesting rewording or rearranging when word order is not the problem

A recent comment on my post about en dashes, in which the commenter offered one very helpful fix but otherwise tried and failed to improve the clarity of several phrases by rewriting the phrases altogether, is only the latest example … Continue reading

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The en dash vs. the hyphen: more examples for precise English usage

As I wrote in my first post about the en dash and as I explain more extensively in the hyphen vs. en dash section of my grammar page, the en dash can provide wonderful clarity where the hyphen cannot in … Continue reading

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Anti-Hopefully crusaders are hopeless

Some of the comments to the (in)famous Mary Elizabeth Williams column that I blagged about yesterday are so stupid they practically drool. It’s a shame I didn’t read this column (or, actually, its comments) earlier, because I could have ranted … Continue reading

Posted in Grammar, Language, Morans | 3 Comments

Bryan Garner interview in VICE magazine

I liked several passages of this interview of Bryan A. Garner in VICE magazine: As we saw the rise of literacy over the next few hundred years, especially in the beginning of the 18th century, the language became relatively more … Continue reading

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“Times” and “folds”

[This post has been updated from its original form to make it better organized, clearer, and more direct and succinct.] Bill Walsh is absolutely, completely, 100%, unequivocally, and in all other ways right in his position on the meanings of … Continue reading

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English grammar guides that prescribe the inclusion of the Oxford (serial) comma

Growing up privileged with the instruction that a comma should be placed after each item (except the last) in a series of three or more items (i.e., before the and, or, or occasionally nor), and continuing to observe how much … Continue reading

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The en dash vs. the hyphen: examples for more precise English usage

You can tell there’s something wrong with me when I have a favorite punctuation mark. It’s the en dash, the bastard middle child between the hyphen and em dash, but it can provide oh-so-much clarity and eliminate oh-so-much ambiguity once … Continue reading

Posted in Grammar, Writing | 9 Comments

Sure vs. certain

Without reading the title of this post, if you were asked to give a synonym of “sure”, wouldn’t your answer most likely be “certain”? And vice versa? In most cases, these words are identical and interchangeable. But these cases are … Continue reading

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