The web-hosting company I use just emailed me to let me know my contract is being renewed. They used the wrong verb. Do you recognize it? We certainly hope doing business with us was a pleasing experience. Because of their choice of verb, I thought our business relationship had...
Barbara of the Bonneville Power Administration in Vancouver, Washington, asked me to write about ensure, assure, and insure. I am happy to write from the U.S. perspective, and I am hoping my friends across the oceans and borders will enlighten us about any differences. Here is an illustration with...
Susan wrote with this capitalization question:"I work for a man who does Chinese energy work called 'qigong.' When that word is used in writing (on our web site, for instance), people tend to capitalize it. My contention is that it should be treated like the word yoga and should...
I've been asked the same question twice within a week, so here I am, happy to clear up a misconception. Question: Isn't it unacceptable to start a sentence with the word because? I learned it was wrong. Short answer: It is acceptable to start a sentence with any word you...
Can right be wrong? Vicki raised this question in a Writing Tune-Up class today. She worried that if she used correct grammar that other people didn't recognize as correct, they would think she was wrong. Vicki's response was to use incorrect grammar--to be accepted. Vicki decided to be wrong...
It's not exactly a national holiday with a day off work, but March 4  marks National Grammar Day. I got the word from Mr. Rewrite, a defender of good grammar, punctuation, and usage.  Get the details at the celebratory host site, National Grammar Day.  No doubt the site suggests...
John from Buffalo, New York, wrote today to ask a question about subject-verb agreement. Because he is the guy everyone turns to at work when they have a grammar question and because he could not find the answer in three reference manuals, I am happy to help. I don't...
In a business writing class I taught recently, several managers ended their messages with this cliffhanger:Let's discuss.The sentence is not a cliffhanger because we don't know what will come of the discussion. It's a cliffhanger (something that leaves the audience hanging on for more) because we are waiting for...
This week I received a disappointing email, a marketing message from a person who describes herself as a coach in the areas of writing, publishing, and marketing books. It was the subject line that disappointed me:Would You Rather Cuddle Up With a Good Book Then Market It?Someone who makes...
I have been watching the debates of the candidates vying for the nomination of their party for U.S. president. Whatever their politics, I would like them to get one thing straight about English grammar: The word myself is not correct in place of I or me. That means it is...