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  • FEATURED ARTICLES

    Use Words You Know

    Let us begin with a very simple and obvious rule. When you are writing or speaking, always use words that you know how to use.

    READ MORE

  • FEATURED ARTICLES

    Thesis Statements

    Once you have developed a focused topic, you can begin to think about your thesis statement, the main point or purpose of your paper.

    READ MORE

  • FEATURED ARTICLES

    The Logic of the Sentence

    A great deal of what we say or write consists of straightforward statements or questions: "I got a letter from the bank this morning." "Did you remember to put gas in the car?"

    READ MORE

  • Dangling Modifiers

    WRONG: After winning the war, Athens was briefly ruled by the Spartans.

    RIGHT: After winning the war, the Spartans briefly ruled Athens.

  • Lose Versus Loose

    WRONG: Though the ball came lose on the final play, the team did not loose the game.

    RIGHT: Though the ball came loose on the final play, the team did not lose the game.

  • Subject and Verb Agreement

    WRONG: One of the candidates demand a recount.

    RIGHT: One of the candidates demands a recount.

  • Its Versus It’s

    WRONG: Each painting has been returned to it’s rightful owner.

    RIGHT: Each painting has been returned to its rightful owner.

  • Lie Versus Lay

    WRONG: The lions are laying in the tall grass.

    RIGHT: The lions are lying in the tall grass.

  • affect/effect

    WRONG: No amount of arguing will effect the referee's decision.

    RIGHT: No amount of arguing will affect the referee's decision.

  • desert/dessert

    WRONG: I could not get enough of the delicious desert.

    RIGHT: I could not get enough of the delicious dessert.

  • flaunt/flout

    WRONG: We fired him for flaunting basic company rules.

    RIGHT: We fired him for flouting basic company rules.

  • imply/infer

    WRONG: I implied from his nervous manner that he had something to hide.

    RIGHT: I inferred from his nervous manner that he had something to hide.

  • waist/waste

    WRONG: It is foolish to waist so much food.

    RIGHT: It is foolish to waste so much food.

  • Rule: When two or more independent clauses are linked by a coordinating conjunction such as and or or, a comma should be placed before the conjunction.

    WRONG: He shot him a dazzling smile but she was not to be won over that easily.

    RIGHT: He shot her a dazzling smile, but she was not to be won over that easily.

  • Rule: Quotation marks should be inserted at the start and end of direct quotations to indicate that what they enclose represents actual spoken words.

    WRONG: Go and tell the others to come in, he ordered.

    RIGHT: "Go and tell the others to come in," he ordered.

  • Rule: Exclamation points, question marks, and dashes that do not punctuate the quoted material should appear outside the quotation marks.

    WRONG: Are you sure she said "I killed him?"

    RIGHT: Are you sure she said "I killed him"?

  • Rule: An apostrophe should never be used to form the plural of an ordinary noun.

    WRONG: The pen's cost a dollar each.

    RIGHT: The pens cost a dollar each.

  • Rule: An appositive phrase should be set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas. (An appositive phrase is a noun or noun phrase added to another noun or noun phrase as an explanation.)

    WRONG: His friend the shortest kid in the class has trouble seeing the teacher.

    RIGHT: His friend, the shortest kid in the class, has trouble seeing the teacher.

Featured Cliché

Time flies
Time moves swiftly onward. Time was said to fly or flee by numerous ancients, especially the Romans, for whom Tempus fugit (translated as "time flies," although it also means "flees") was a well-known proverb.

MORE CLICHÉS