Grammar in a Nutshell

The nuts and bolts, bottom line grammar class — just 12 hours over three July weekends — begins this Saturday. Go to margieholdsclass.com for registration details. This is the last grammar class of the year.

“Self” Words

I have had a request to explain pronouns that end in self/selves. This is a category of words called “compound personal pronouns.” They are …myself, ourselves …yourself, yourselves …himself, herself, itself, themselves First, let’s say that there are several mistakes made in the way these words are said. Plural mistakes: …ourselves, not ourself …themselves, not themself  or theirself Form mistakes: …

Good Grammar (Finally!)

Coming on February 24 is the opening class for the 20 hours of Good Grammar (Finally!). An understanding of grammar — parts of speech, phrases and clauses, how words modify — dramatically improves one’s ability to punctuate with ease. If you know a word is just a simple adverb modifier, you won’t be tempted to put commas around it. If …

Where to Put the Word “Only”?

The word only is very often misplaced in a sentence. Always put it just before the word that it refers to/modifies. …I only have a dollar. 🙁 …I have only a dollar. 🙂 …She only listened to her brother. 🙁 …She listened to only her brother. 🙂 …He only knows where it is. 🙁 …Only he knows where it is. 🙂 …

“The reason is…” Yikes!

Okay. So my cute little happy and unhappy facces came through only as question marks. Sorry about that. Here it is again. Once you say “the reason,” all other words implying the reason are unnecessary. These are always wrong. …The reason why is that she was ill. …The reason is because she is ill.  [This one leads the list!] …The …

“The reason is…”

So many people make this mistake. My very favorite Dodgers announcer, Vin Scully, whose English was really excellent, made this error. And he is not alone. I heard it three times yesterday and had the news on for only an hour. Once you say “the reason,” all other words implying the reason are unnecessary. …The reason why is that she …

Change of Date for Grammar Class

Because of a personal issue that has come up, I am pushing back the start date for the grammar class. We will begin on February 12 and go through April 8. Here are the new dates: February 12, 18, 25 March 4, 5, 12, 19 April 1, 2, 10 Go to margieholdsclass.com for details and registration. Hope to see you in …

This Is Your Chance — a Grammar Class

Good morning. I am fairly sure you have not had the chance to take a grammar class recently. As I have said so often, it is understanding how the language works that lays the foundation for everything else. Knowing the difference between a phrase and a clause, understanding modifiers, being able to find the subject and verb — this knowledge makes …

One More Time: “Affect” and “Effect”

Putting aside the word affect as it is used in the psychiatric world to mean the “an observed emotional response” — …the flat affect of the patient… — the  statement “Affect is a verb; effect is a noun” just doesn’t quite cover it. Effect can be a verb. When it is, it means “bring about” or “make happen.” Substitute those words directly. If …

Does “-ly” Always Mean an Adverb?

I had a question in my grammar class last night that I want to address. It is true that very often a word that ends in -ly is an adverb. We actually add the -ly to the adjective form of many words to form the adverb. …firm, firmly …smooth, smoothly …quick, quickly So, yes, many -ly words are adverbs. However, …