I want the best in dentistry--not business writing--from my dentist. But I'm still disappointed when I receive a pointless, error-filled email like the one below. In it, I have changed the name of the dental practice to "Your Favorite Dentist." Otherwise, it's identical to the email I received. What do...
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...
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...
I visited beautiful Whistler, British Columbia, last week and loved everything about it--except perhaps for its free-spirited use and avoidance of apostrophes. Its businesses' signs kept my writing teacher's mind spinning. Here's a challenge for you: See if you can determine which of the signs are punctuated according to current...
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...
I celebrated my birthday last month. Southwest Airlines got it right. TIAA did too. And a few good people on LinkedIn did as well. My dentist was among those who got it wrong.  What some got right was the comma: Happy birthday, Lynn!  That greeting is an example of direct address,...
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...
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...
As a writing expert who relies on Microsoft's grammar and spelling checker to flag what I don't see, I was eager to test Grammarly's power to find additional errors. I signed up for the premium version and tested it to the max. I wanted to find the answer to...
Making my Thanksgiving salad dressing, I read in the list of ingredients "1/4 teaspoon salt/pepper." Because both condiments are named, I am going to assume that the recipe author meant this: 1/4 tsp. salt1/4 tsp. pepper But why not say that? With the slash, "salt/pepper" can mean "salt and pepper," "salt...