Apostrophes’, Apostrophe’s, Apostropheses! (Your Holiday Grammar Explained)

Thanksgiving is over and we all know what that means: 'tis the season for writing holiday cards - and reviewing rules for proper apostrophe usage! Remember: Apostrophes are like garlic; some things taste awesome with garlic, but some things need to stay miles away from garlic. Unlike garlic, though, apostrophes can't just be sprinkled onto anything we …

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Meme of the Week #27 – Commas Save Lives!

This week, we're talking about commas again. Remember: Commas can do more than save Grandmas...but they're a great example. giphy.com They can... surround the name or title of a person directly addressed, Grandma, why are you looking at me like that? giphy.com Note: The sentence could also read “Why are you looking at me like …

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Did You Know That? (A Periodic Series): Am I Spellling It Write?

Today, thanks to the power of technology, typos and spelling errors can be easily fixed.  Don't know how to spell a word the "correct" way? Look it up... ...or wait for someone to correct it for you if you posted the error on the internet. Did you know that the English language didn't always have …

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Voicing the Words on the Page (Part II)

By Luke Coulter Recently, I wrote a blog post about embracing voice when it comes to writing essays. Today, I want to talk a little bit more about voice and how it can help both your writing and your life. Back in 2009, I was teaching English in Hanoi, Vietnam. I had very little teaching …

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Voicing the Words on the Page (Part I)

By Luke Coulter As a California native, I never saw the need for a phrase describing the weather phenomenon where it is raining and the sun is shining at the same time. When this happens in the Southern States of the USA, however, people will turn to whoever is near them and loudly proclaim that …

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Writing for Business Series #1: Active Voice & Strong Action Verbs for Résumés

By Vanessa Palencia According to GlassDoor.com, San José is considered the top city in the United States for job seekers to obtain a job. With over 60,000 job openings and an estimated 1 million people residing in San Jose, the competition is tough. A higher education and a good level of expertise is often needed …

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Quick Tip #16: Rules are made to be broken

One of the first rules of learning English is that there are, well, rules to follow.  We learn our tenses, punctuation, sentence structure, and all those "correct" academic words to use in an organized, thoughtful (often 5 paragraph) essay. And it's good to learn these rules for they help us communicate in a way that …

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Meme of the Week #18 – Descriptive vs. Prescriptive

Editor's Note: The next three Friday posts will feature our three new Writing Specialists! Let's welcome them! by Luke Coulter Randall Munroe is the artist behind the webcomic XKCD. While his comic’s topics range from dressing up ferrets to speculative fiction about the scientific source of the story of Noah’s Ark, our personal favorites here at …

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When Do I Use A Comma?

By Holly Michaelsen Do you ever wonder if you're using the comma in the right place? These handy charts might be just what you need for quick-reference on the matter. For more detailed explanations and specific applications, please see our resource links (The University of Chapel Hill, The OWL at Purdue) and homegrown handouts ("Commas", …

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Meme of the Week #15 – Bizarro Punnage

Puns never go out of style, and as far as grammar is concerned, puns easily integrate into the eye-rolling humor depicted in Bizarro’s comics like in the one below: Beyond the obvious and cheeky phonetic similarity between “pronounce” and “pronouns,” the comic demonstrates a morphological transformation between the former verb and the latter noun. Morphology, …

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