Category Archives: grammar

None – Singular or Plural

The Question: Which is correct?
None of us does
None of us do
The Answer: …


Subjects and Verbs and Sentence Order

Selline Odeny asked, “Please tell me about the subject-first and non-subject-first sentence patterns.”


The Absolute Phrase

Sudhir Khare recently asked the English Master, “What is the ‘absolute construction’ in English grammar. Please explain to me in a clear and lucid manner.” Okay, Sudhir, I’ll do my best…


Which versus That

Two recent visitors have asked what the difference is between “which” and “that” and when to use each…


A versus An: The Indefinite Article

A visitor wrote in to ask when to use “a” and when to use “an.” In particular, she wanted to know which of the following is correct…


Double Negatives

Ask a grammar geek about the double negative, and you’ll invariably hear about its long and noble heritage in the English language, from Chaucer to Shakespeare, up to the 18th century, when it all but died at the hands of overly zealous, systematizing Enlightenment linguists.
Whatever its history, however, the current view of most pragmatic writers is that the double negative should be avoided, if for no other reason than that a crotchety old English teacher might discover it and try to publicly humiliate them for using it…


Active and Passive Voice

Manju submitted a request for information on “how to write passive sentences & cosutive [sic] sentences.” I’ll focus here on passive (voice) sentences, and how to distinguish them from sentences using active voice…


Grammatical Sentence Types

Sentences can be classified in a number of ways–grammatically, rhetorically, functionally, and so on. One visitor to this site asks about grammatical sentence types: “How [do I] tell the difference between Compound, Simple, Complex, Compound-Complex sentences?”


I versus Me

I just received an excellent question about proper first-person pronoun usage. The issue is tough to resolve because sometimes grammatical correctness takes a back seat to common usage, and rightly so. Now, on to the question: “I am a teacher in South Africa and recently found a worksheet with the heading “Me and My Environment”. Is this heading grammatically correct and would it be appropriate to hand out to the children (I don’t want parents turning around and complaining)”


Possessive Form of Singular Nouns Ending with S

Many people struggle with the possessive case of singular nouns when the words already end with s. The general rule is this: Form the possessive singular of nouns with ‘s. Here are some examples: James‘s cat Mrs. Jones‘s attorney Dr. … Continue reading 

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