Tag Archive | grammar

More Grammatical Than Thou

Gabe Doyle, the linguist behind the Motivated Grammar blog, put up a good post a couple weeks ago about the fine-for-me-but-not-for-thee attitude among some grammar peevers. Thus we see Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams writing a screed against sentential hopefully*, but then absolving herself for using stabby and rapey… When she says rapey, she sees it as the considered usage of a professional writer, […]

The Lost Because

I have a proofreader who corrects every “because of” to “as a result of,” and I’d like to know if she just hates “because of” or if there is a some rule I’m unaware of. For example, “Overall, oil services’ operating margins will likely contract as a result of reduction in available rigs.” Would “because […]

Triage

Copy editors’ job description is unusual in that the whole point of the profession is to deliver perfection. But no item of text that has ever gone to print could be called perfect. Something could always be improved—an error could have been cleaned up, an infelicitous phrasing could have been avoided, the perfect word could […]

Insure vs. Ensure

When do I use “insure” and when do I use “ensure”? I can never remember which is which. Well, there’s a pretty good reason that you find them confusing. Technically, they started out as just variant spellings of one another, so they meant the same thing. And some sources will tell you that insure can still mean […]

Pesky Prepositions

Why, oh, why did I start this blog out with a post about prepositions when I know full well that those pesky little words are constantly setting traps for the unwary? Hubris, I suppose. Although the point of my last post is still perfectly sound, it appears I goofed with at least one of the sample sentences I […]

Ending a Sentence with a Preposition

What are your feelings on terminal prepositions? Oh, this is an easy one. The “rule” against ending a sentence with a preposition is an age-old bugaboo. Consider these perfectly natural English sentences: “Which pocket did you leave the keys in?” “What exit should I get off at?” “Here’s that store I told you about.”* “Please, […]

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