The Word ‘Somehow’

The word somehow is often just filler in a manuscript. Take the sentence The statue was somehow not what Jane had expected. Jane was obviously expecting the statue to be different from what she saw. But somehow doesn’t reveal what or why. Share This:

The Missing Verb

What’s wrong with the following sentence? “She looks better than me.” The clue is a missing verb at the end: “She looks better than me (looks).” What’s the solution? Read on. Share This:

The Word ‘Things’

The word thing is often used in speech and writing as a convenient substitute for perhaps a more accurate word. But if it’s used too often, it can reduce the impact of otherwise good writing. Share This:

The Word ‘It’

It is not the shortest word in English, but it is pretty close. On the other hand, it is used fairly often. Do the previous sentences make the point? The first use is the main one, and each of the other two refers back to, and is a substitute for, that first occurrence. But it

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In the study of language change over time, rebracketing, also known as “juncture loss” and “re-segmentation”, is a process whereby a word is broken down into constituent parts and then reorganized. For example, the word hamburger might be divided as ham-burger, which could mean a burger made with ham. However, that would be wrong, because

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Pronoun Trouble: “They” or “He or She”

What happens when you’re writing a sentence and the gender of the person being spoken about isn’t known? Example: “Has anyone brought some quarters with them”? “Anyone” is clearly a singular pronoun of unknown gender, but the prepositional object “them” is plural. This has traditionally been considered a grammatical error. Share This:

Modifying Absolutes

Absolutes refer to words that don’t have gradations—the described concept is either true or false (e.g., dead, fatal, infinite, perfect, pregnant, priceless, unanimous, unique). As a rule, they can’t be modified; but they often are. Here are guidelines. Share This: