Blog-azine

End with a preposition?

Do you remember an English teacher admonishing, “Never end a sentence with a preposition”? Guess what…it’s not a rule after all. There are many times in which a preposition is properly placed at the end of a sentence. For example, “from” is a preposition. And there is absolutely no reason you should not say “Where did that come from?” If you wanted to avoid the preposition at the end, you’d have to say (pretentiously), “From where did that come?” Or, to avoid that, you could say (even more pretentiously), “Whence came it?” Given the choice, I recommend “Where did that come from?” with the preposition proudly bringing up the rear.

Want to learn more? Consider my two writing seminars: Business Writing in Plain English and Goof-Proof Grammar.

Read all entries in The Written Word
Posted Saturday, March 08, 2008 | Link to entry

Capitol or capital?

My home in Austin, Texas, is just off “Capital of Texas Highway.” Shouldn’t it be “Capitol of Texas Highway”? No, “capital” is correct since it refers to Austin as the capital city. The version with the “o” is correct only when referring to the building that Congress or a legislative body meets in. Here’s a hint to help you remember: Many capitol buildings, such as the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, DC, have a dome. Remember the “o” in dome matches the “o” in capitol. All other uses of capital (the city, money, capital letters, and the ornamental top of a structural column) are spelled with an “a.”

Want to learn more? Consider my two writing seminars: Business Writing in Plain English and Goof-Proof Grammar.

Read all entries in The Written Word
Posted Thursday, March 06, 2008 | Link to entry

Good or well?

James Brown sang “I feel good…knew that I would.” Shouldn’t he have said “I feel well” instead? No, it would have destroyed the rhyme scheme. And “well” would have been wrong. This one is tricky because “good” is an adjective; “well” is an adverb. And you may recall that adverbs modify verbs (as in “speak slowly”). So it certainly looks as if the adverb “well” would be the right choice to modify the verb “feel.” But here’s a quirk: verbs relating to the senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste) need adjectives to modify them. For example, “It looks good,” “It tastes good,” “It smells good,” are all correct. Thus, “I feel good” is also correct. So James Brown gets an A for grammar.

Want to learn more? Consider my two writing seminars: Business Writing in Plain English and Goof-Proof Grammar.

Read all entries in The Written Word
Posted Thursday, March 06, 2008 | Link to entry

Fewer or less?

Which is it: “Less than 10 items,” or “Fewer than 10 items?” The better choice is “fewer.” Why? Use “fewer” for things you count; “less” for things you measure. For example, “Less weight” but “fewer calories.”

Want to learn more? Consider my two writing seminars: Business Writing in Plain English and Goof-Proof Grammar.

Read all entries in The Written Word
Posted Friday, January 11, 2008 | Link to entry

Farther or further?

Which should you say: “The airport is five miles farther away” or “five miles further”? Well, “further” is the correct choice...if the question was “how fur is it.” And, yes, you may hear that question in Texas. But for the rest of us, the correct answer is “farther.” Why? Farther is a distance that can be measured. Further is a continuation of time or degree. Therefore, “We will discuss this further,” or “Without further delay” is desirable. But “The airport is five miles farther” (since you can measure the distance) is the better choice.

Want to learn more? Consider my two writing seminars: Business Writing in Plain English and Goof-Proof Grammar.

Read all entries in The Written Word
Posted Friday, January 11, 2008 | Link to entry

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