This Is Your Chance — a Grammar Class

Margie Wakeman Wells General Leave a Comment

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”

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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?

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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, …

That Pesky Word “So”

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One more time… The word so is normally an adverb. …I was so very tired that night. …He was so cranky at the end of the day.   It can also be a conjunction.   It can be the kind of conjunction that starts a dependent clause and is then a subordinate conjunction (like “because,” “since,” “as,” “before,” “unless.”) There …

Those Darn Hyphens

Margie Wakeman Wells The Apostrophe Leave a Comment

If a noun is listed as separate words, then it stays separate words — and is not hyphenated — as a direct (right in front of the noun) adjective. …He is in real estate. …He is a real estate broker. …He is in high school. …He is a high school senior. This gets a little crazy since it means that …

“Are You Done?” — My Least Favorite Question

Margie Wakeman Wells General 2 Comments

…I am done with dinner. …I am through with dinner. …I am finished with dinner. …I have finished with dinner. WRONG! INCORRECT! …I have finished dinner. This is the only correct form as the language works. I = subjecthave finished = verb dinner = direct object Happy punctuating! Margie

The Subjunctive

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Verbs in English (and many other languages) have a characteristic called “mood.” When you make a statement or ask a question, the mood of the verb is indicative. When you directly tell someone to do something, the mood of the verb is imperative. With a bunch of grammar “stipulations,” when you are trying to persuade someone to do something, the …

A Personal Story…

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I walked into a restaurant to meet my son for breakfast yesterday morning, wearing my “Bad grammar should not happen to good people” T-shirt. The guy at the next table said, “Good morning. How are you?” I responded, “Well. Thank you.” He said, “I was just checking your grammar and making sure you did not respond with ‘Good’ because of …

“Like/As” I Said

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The word “like” cannot start a dependent clause; that is, it cannot be part of a unit with a subject and verb. The word you want is “as” or “as if.” …As I said previously, we were not part of the group. …It felt as if it were much later. …It looks as if it will rain. Happy punctuating! Margie