Category Archives: grammar

Has Your Curiosity Been Peaked—or Piqued?

I understand why it’s tempting to use the word peak when describing an excited stage of interest in or curiosity about something. After all, a peak is the pointy top of something, so it’s natural to think of a peak … Continue reading

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Future Tense or Present Tense: Is the Future Now?

I heard a meteorologist talking about weather that was going to happen later in the day and the next day, that is, going to happen in the future, so it was confusing when she said It does get better at … Continue reading

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Fewer vs. Less: Fewer Things, Less Stuff

With countable things, use fewer, not less. With things that are not countable, such as emotions and things that are measured in bulk or total amount, use less; for example, you’ll notice fewer lines around your eyes if you use … Continue reading

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Fun, Funner, Funnest: Are We Having Fun Yet?

A reader asked whether we could shed some light on the correct use of the word fun; this is one of my pet peeves, so I’m only too happy to oblige. I hear of people who had fun birthdays, movies … Continue reading

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It’s or Its: It’s a Problem

Which of the following is/are correct: a.      Its time to correct one of the most common errors in the English language. b.      The problem is that its easy to confuse the two spellings. c.       The English language has it’s share … Continue reading

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Conditional Tense: What Would Have Been

A reader sent me something from a newspaper and said that it sounded incorrect but that she couldn’t quite explain why. The sentence in the newspaper was If the house would have been newer, it would have been demolished. I … Continue reading

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The Past of -Cast: Is it Casted or Cast?

Some verbs are regular verbs, which means that they follow a set pattern when forming their tenses (for example, they add –ed when forming the past tense). Other verbs are irregular verbs, which means that they don’t follow those rules; … Continue reading

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Can’t Hardly or Can Hardly: I Can Hardly Stand It

In Shakespeare’s time, double negatives such as can’t hardly were common, but in current standard usage (and by current, I don’t mean that I just made it up this week!), double negatives are substandard grammar. Hardly means scarcely or barely, … Continue reading

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Anyways or Anyway Grammar: Don’t Say It Any Ways You Want

I’ve heard intelligent people—even some with advanced degrees—use the word anyways, which, again, shows that we all make mistakes from time to time. No one is immune. That’s good to know, isn’t it? Anyway, anyways is not standard grammar usage; … Continue reading

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Bad or Badly: Instead of Feeling Badly, Just Feel Bad

Bad is an adjective that is used with linking verbs (verbs of being, such as be, become, seem, feel, taste, look, smell). Don’t feel bad about slamming my hand in the car door; it happens all the time. I feel … Continue reading

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