whymzycal: an imaginary creature that's all teeth and beady little eyes (a gnauga)
[personal profile] whymzycal
Hello, fellow grammar lovers, and welcome to another look at “Commonly Confused Words”! Today we’re going to learn about the difference between all together and altogether with a little help from the cast of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. )
whymzycal: night drips in through a window (night floods in)
[personal profile] whymzycal
Happy Monday, grammar fans, and welcome to today’s post, in which we answer the question, “Is it ‘drips and drabs’ or ‘dribs and drabs’?” with a little help from the characters of Sherlock )
whymzycal: A ladybug on a leaf (ladybug)
[personal profile] whymzycal
In February 2015, io9 writer Lauren Davis tackled a list of “10 Things People Once Complained Would Ruin the English Language,” a fun article that explains 10 things that grammarians and other language lovers used to freak out about. Unsurprisingly, it’s easy to see parallels between past concerns and the language worries of today. Spoiler alert: English hasn’t been ruined yet, and it probably won’t be. )
whymzycal: sequin stars (stars)
[personal profile] whymzycal
Hello, fellow grammar fans! Today we’re going to explore the question posed by [personal profile] wanted_a_pony: “When do you use ‘you and I’ versus ‘you and me’? Are there differences in American and British English?”

Let’s find out the answer with a little help from the characters of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. )
whymzycal: Demon-shaped steam rising from tea (tea demon)
[personal profile] whymzycal
Happy Monday, grammar friends, and welcome to our next look at a pair of Commonly Confused Words!

Today we’re going to look at decent and descent, two words that are often mistaken for one another because their spellings are so similar. With examples from the Avengers and Star Trek. )
whymzycal: Text saying proper use of their, there, and they're makes me hot (their there etc)
[personal profile] whymzycal

Hover text: later still: wait, HOW DID UTAHRAPTOR KNOW?

Malapropisms (replacing one word with an incorrect, similar-sounding word, usually in a way that ends up being funny) and mondegreens (sort of like malapropisms, except you mis-hear a word instead of saying the wrong word) are something many of the grammarians see and hear at their jobs. That said, thanks to Ryan North at Dinosaur Comics,I doubt anyone can do them as well as T-Rex.

So, do you have any favorite malapropisms or mondegreens? Mine is “from the gecko” (instead of “from the get-go”). I keep imagining the Geico insurance company’s spokeslizard—or maybe even a tiny, tiny T-Rex. Adorable!
[identity profile] whymzycal.livejournal.com
Happy Monday, and welcome to the next installment of Say What?, in which we discover the origins of (Don’t) upset the applecart and The apple never falls far from the tree. With examples from Supernatural )
[identity profile] whymzycal.livejournal.com
Most of us with a fondness for (or even a passing familiarity with) grammar can relate to the jarring, nails-on-a-chalkboard sensation of running across a sentence that claims, “Me and him are best friends.” Unless the sentence is meant to be an example of ultra-relaxed colloquial dialogue, most grammar-minded people will want to run screaming from the room as soon as they’ve parsed it.

Fortunately, we’re not alone.

Such is the point made in Jen Doll’s June 2012 article from TheWire.com. Doll graciously shares 10 of her favorite copyediting and grammar-for-life rules, some of which I’ll be discussing right here )
[identity profile] whymzycal.livejournal.com
In August of last year, Slate writer Katy Waldman tackled the tricky issue of adjective order and whether it’s important in spoken and written English. Her article describes GSSSACPM, which is the generally agreed-upon order of adjectives describing a particular noun: “general opinion then specific opinion then size then shape then age then color then provenance then material” (bold emphasis mine). But of course it’s not quite as simple as all that, as Waldman goes on to explain. I’ll admit that some of her explanation seemed needlessly convoluted to me, but her examples helped to clear up what she meant, which I appreciated. So overall, I liked this article. I even learned several new things, which is something I always enjoy doing. Read on to get the full scoop. )
[identity profile] whymzycal.livejournal.com
It's Friday, and that means it's time for another exciting "Say What?"! In today's installment, we're going to learn about two sayings whose current meanings probably originated in the U.S.—with examples from Person of Interest. )
[identity profile] whymzycal.livejournal.com
Welcome! An anonymous grammar fan asked us, "What are gerunds? How do they differ from regular verbs?" Today, we've got the answer, along with a little help from our friends from Saiyuki. )
[identity profile] whymzycal.livejournal.com
Happy Friday, and welcome back to Say What? Today we're going to focus on two sayings that deal with relationships—in particular, friendships—with some help from the characters of Hawaii5-0. )
[identity profile] whymzycal.livejournal.com
xkcd shows us why the language nerds shall rule the Earth: it's gotta be those mad linguistic skills!

Hovertext: Not to go all sentence fragment on you.

To become an Earth-ruling language nerd yourself, pop over to our "parts of speech" tags, peruse our "Grammar 101" tag, or have a peek at a couple of articles from About.com and NYTimes.com to read up on verbing nouns, adverbing adjectives, nouning verbs, and adjectiving nouns, etc.
[identity profile] whymzycal.livejournal.com
Well, here we are: another Friday, another Say What? This time we'll be tackling two sayings about the infectious nature of positive emotions, with a little help from the characters of Garth Nix's Old Kingdom series. )
[identity profile] whymzycal.livejournal.com
Welcome back to "Say What?" Today we're tackling the sayings a chain is only as strong as its weakest link and a house divided against itself cannot stand, both of which deal with the strength (or lack thereof) in a given item.

Let's find out more, with a little help from the characters of Pacific Rim. )
[identity profile] whymzycal.livejournal.com
It's Friday yet again, and we know what that means—it's time for another installment of "Say What?"!

Today we'll learn about the sayings still waters run deep and a rolling stone gathers no moss, with a little help from the folks of Supernatural. )
[identity profile] whymzycal.livejournal.com
Happy Monday, fellow grammar lovers, and welcome to another round of "Blast from the Past"! Today we'll revisit the tricky awhile and a while, whose subtle differences were first covered by the most splendid [livejournal.com profile] green_grrl over here.

With examples from Supernatural )
[identity profile] whymzycal.livejournal.com
Happy Monday, and welcome back to Fandom Grammar! Today we'll be covering the difference between two similar words, decry and descry. With examples from Saiyuki Gaiden. )
[identity profile] whymzycal.livejournal.com
Happy Friday, grammar lovers, and welcome back to "Say What?"

Today we'll be looking at two very familiar sayings, discretion is the better part of valor and when in Rome, do as the Romans do, both of which deal with prudence (and, in the latter's case, also a bit of politeness). So without further ado, let's have at it! With examples from Supernatural. )
[identity profile] whymzycal.livejournal.com
If you spend a certain amount of time on the internet, chances are you've come across postings that are just plain wrong for one reason or another, and you consider it your moral obligation to correct those postings so nobody is misled. Well, thanks to the folks at Collegehumor.com, now there are proofreading marks designed specifically for the internet, ranging from the removal of bigotry to the creation or dissolution of portmanteaus. Yay!

Click on the image above to learn how to use all nine of the new proofreading marks for the internet!


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