Dangling modifiers--these are the phrases that appear at the beginning of a sentence (usually) that give people a chuckle because of what follows them. Here is an illustration:Chewing contentedly on our rose bushes, Aunt Amy saw a doe and a small deer. Because the name Aunt Amy follows the opening...
Today I received good spell-checking advice in an email from Attorney Weston M. Binford, Jr., CPA. He pointed out that spell-check in Microsoft Word 2003 ignores any text with a number in it, therefore not catching an error like this: Retur4nsExperimenting, he realized:Apparently any numberinsertedmakes7itokIt turns out that spell-check...
My company is Syntax Trianing--I mean Syntax Training. I teach business wirting--that is, business writing. The errors I have just made--Trianing and wirting-- are ones I often make as I type. To avoid making errors, I use the Autocorrect tool in Microsoft Office. Whenever I type Trianing or wirting,...
This morning I received an email from a friend who knows a lot about grammar and punctuation. I was surprised that her message included the phrase "a MS word specialist." It should have been "an MS word specialist" because "MS" is pronounced "em ess." Words that begin with a...
Many visitors to this site have been searching for everyday examples of mistakes in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. I have a Best Pick blog to recommend to you: Grammar Hell. In the spirit of Eats, Shoots & Leaves author Lynne Truss, Grammar Hell's creator, Jack, has been merrily and...
Hello, Reader, People have been asking a good question about commas with names and salutations, so here goes: Question: Do I have to use a comma with a person's name when I say "Hi" or "Hello"? For example: Hi, Maria.    Hello, Nigel,   Good morning, Kendra.Answer: Yes, you need to...
Last week I met with my friend Ira, who is a senior vice president of human resources. We talked about business writing and about the errors that fill email. Here's one of Ira's thoughts: We put our name on what we are proud of. Is that why people are comfortable...
Yesterday I got a friendly telephone call from a stranger: Collette Gillian of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. Being a copywriter and a lover of the English language, Collette likes to see English written correctly. Collette phoned to inform us that a page on our website said we have clients...
In our business writing classes, people often want an answer to this burning question: Is it acceptable to begin a sentence with the word and or but? The answer is yes. It is perfectly acceptable to start sentences with the conjunctions and and but. However, it is slightly informal. If formality...
I just found excellent validation for spelling mistakes and typos. When I checked my blog statistics to see which search strings had brought people to this site, I noticed that someone visited tonight looking for a "solitication letter." How had that brought the searcher to me? After all, I...