To Beat a Grammarian: Dangling Modifiers

To Beat a Grammarian: Dangling Modifiers As a writing teacher to ESL students, I don’t much encounter this problem as often as teachers state-side might. My students follow the patterns they’ve learned extensively and try more for quantity than quality. That being said, I do prep all my students with something my university professor told … Continue reading To Beat a Grammarian: Dangling Modifiers

To Beat a Grammarian: Italics

To Beat a Grammarian: Italics   For the most part, it seems most people know how to use italics, but just in case you don’t, here we go. 1) Emphasis Like many other tools we’ve discussed, italics can emphasize something in writing, usually in the dialogue of characters. Example: she said, “I don’t see why … Continue reading To Beat a Grammarian: Italics

To Beat a Grammarian: Ellipses

To Beat a Grammarian: Ellipses The ellipsis is a handy little tool in a writer’s repertoire, but far too often, it is used incorrectly. Personally, it is one of my favorites, added along next to the dash. It gives a little twang and uniqueness to sentences that any other punctuation mark can’t do—all things in … Continue reading To Beat a Grammarian: Ellipses

The Fine Line of Prologues

The Fine Line of Prologues To be honest, I never had a problem with prologues. Most of the time, I barely noticed their presence and read them duly as I felt I was supposed to. Now, true, some were less needed than others. One that particularly comes to mind is from the book ‘Timebound.’ In … Continue reading The Fine Line of Prologues

To Beat a Grammarian: Colon

To Beat a Grammarian: Colon Unlike other posts, I can firmly say I’ve never had a hankering for the colon. There’s just something about it that feels so cold, so formal—and yet, it’s up in this post’s title. For this reason, I can’t refuse its usefulness. Just saying, other punctuation marks rank higher in my … Continue reading To Beat a Grammarian: Colon

To Beat a Grammarian: Parentheses

To Beat a Grammarian: Parentheses I had a friend once, who, when writing letters to me, would add roughly a parenthetical sentence every other line. Some found it annoying. I found it refreshing. It kept me on my toes. In this way, the camp on parentheses, clearly, is divided. Just ask anyone who has ever … Continue reading To Beat a Grammarian: Parentheses

To Beat a Grammarian: Dashes

To Beat a Grammarian: Dashes With this punctuation mark, I must make a confession: it tends to be one of my favorite ones, and…I overuse it a bit. For this reason, when editing, I examine my dashes carefully. But they are so wonderful. So let’s get started. 1) Emphasis This should be clear to anyone … Continue reading To Beat a Grammarian: Dashes

To Beat a Grammarian: Commas (Adjective and Noun Clauses)

To Beat a Grammarian: Commas (Adjective and Noun Clauses) With the mention of the above two clauses, you would believe most people know when and where to put commas, but it can be deceptive. So let’s get started. 1) Adjective Clauses There are many ways to consider the comma in these situations, and for the … Continue reading To Beat a Grammarian: Commas (Adjective and Noun Clauses)

To Beat a Grammarian: Commas (Special Words)

To Beat a Grammarian: Commas (Special Words) Here is where everything gets tricky, and this is why I hate commas and the grammarians that flip their lids over it. With these words—either, too, though, and except—all rules are up in the air. Let me show you. I don’t want to go either.      /          I don’t … Continue reading To Beat a Grammarian: Commas (Special Words)

To Beat a Grammarian: Semicolons

To Beat a Grammarian: Semicolons   These are probably the least understood of punctuation marks. I see students misuse it, and well-known authors throw it about with little regard. It’s a freak in its own freak show, really, and like commas, a little knowledge can help out discerning what situations to use it in. Above … Continue reading To Beat a Grammarian: Semicolons