Tag Archives: writing
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
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
It’s or Its: It’s a Problem
Most nouns use an apostrophe s (‘s) to make the possessive (for example, Bill Belichick’s questionable coaching style, the quarterback’s excuses, the team’s dedication); pronouns, however, do not. The most common of these types of errors is the spelling of … Continue reading
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
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
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
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
And Yet, But Yet: Pick a Coordinating Conjunction, Any Coordinating Conjunction
When using but and yet as coordinating conjunctions, you can only use one at a time (otherwise, you’re creating a redundancy for the category of the redundancy category :)). Use either but or yet when conveying two ideas that are … Continue reading
Is it Beside or Besides the Point?
Beside/besides seems to fall into the same grammar error category as toward/towards, forward/forwards, and backward/backwards. Many people aren’t sure when to use the one with the -s. Beside means by the side of or next to. He sat in the … Continue reading
Are You Well, or Are You Good?
If you’re healthy, are you well or good? If you’re happy, are you well or good? If you score a lot of touchdowns in football without getting a black eye or a broken leg, are you playing good or well? … Continue reading