A dear friend just told me about an embarrassing apostrophe situation she experienced at work. She had just put up a sign with the heading October Birthday's, which listed employee and member birthdays, when someone stopped and stared grimly at it.  The individual said, "I'm a grammar guy, and this sign...
A reader named Deborah shared a short email she recently received: Dear Sirs,pls let me have by return the supp docs about yr a.m. invoice because we cannot find our shpm.Thks and rgds How would you feel if you received this message? Would you care that it's riddled with errors?  Let's count...
I just received an "Oops!" email from our beloved, prestigious public television station. When I read the subject line, "Oops! Correction for Rick Steves Preview Screening and Q+A!" I instantly knew what the oops must be: a date error.  Indeed, the email opened "Apologies, there was a date typo in...
There's a hit song titled "Him and I" whose ungrammatical title and lyrics drive me nuts. A correct title would be either "Him and Me" or "He and I"--never "Him and I."  Why? Because him is an object pronoun, and I is a subject pronoun. They never belong together.  Did you know that? If you find...
I traveled (travelled?) around the Big Island of Hawaii the last two weeks and found that--even at Volcanoes National Park--I could not escape thinking about writing. This text grabbed my attention on the Sulphur Banks trail: It appeared on this large, instructive sign:   Why deal with spelling in a national park?...
Get your proofreading game on! Three challenges await you. A hint about the number of errors, followed by the solutions, appears at the end of the tests. Test 1: The Note of Thanks Dear Krista; Thank you very much for your work on the auction. Your limitless enthusiasm and energy...
You check your documents electronically to try to catch every error. But your grammar and spelling checker may be giving you bad advice. Because it's a software program, it can't read your mind or know your intentions. Also, it can't always distinguish between correct and incorrect sentence structures and the...
Please explain to me why people don't use the serial comma. When millions of dollars can be drained away in a lawsuit because of its absence, why would anyone not use it?  To be clear, these examples show the serial, or Oxford, comma and its role separating the parts of a...
Today a business service I use sent me a bulleted list of updates. Every single bullet point starts with the contraction We've or We're. Those unnecessary words not only stretch out the bullets. They pull the focus away from the essential content. Also, the sentence format encourages wordiness.  Below are the bulleted...
Each of the three short passages below has one error. Can you find all three? Test your skills.  Passage 1:  I just saw the schedule for the conference, and I am frustrated because Caren and Priya's presentations take place at the same time. If I attend Caren's, would you attend Priya's...