Category Archives: Grammar, punctuation, usage, mechanics

Colons: how and when to use them

A couple days ago I posted on semicolons, with a note that I’d decided to split my original post, covering both semicolons and colons, into two parts once I realized that the semicolon discussion was getting out of control.  Okay, … Continue reading

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Should I put a comma before the word “too”?

Someone just asked this question, and the answer is “yes.”  Most of the time, at least.  When to use a comma —When you use “too” in the adverb sense of saying “also,” “likewise,” or “as well,” the word should always be set off … Continue reading

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Semicolons: how and when to use them

The most popular post I’ve written so far has been the one titled “What’s the difference between grammar, punctuation, and mechanics?”  It gets at least one view per day, and most days it tops my list of most-viewed posts. Because … Continue reading

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Affect versus effect: which is which?

In commenting on the dash–hyphen post a couple days ago (and that’s an en dash between the words “dash” and “hyphen” 🙂 ), Kathleen suggested that I write a post about “affect” and “effect.”  Great idea!  Using “affect” and “effect” correctly … Continue reading

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Hyphen or dash: What’s the difference, and when to use which?

Here’s a punctuation “issue” that people have asked me about lately: what’s the difference between a hyphen and a dash, and when do you use which? Difference #1 — a hyphen is short, and a dash is long.  In Morse … Continue reading

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What’s the difference between grammar, punctuation, and mechanics?

The title of today’s post is actually one of my blog’s categories, shown at the lower right-hand side of the screen.  Someone was wondering about the difference, so I thought I’d explain.  What follows here is not dictionary-type definitions, but rather my own … Continue reading

Posted in Grammar, punctuation, usage, mechanics, WPLongform (posts of 1000 words or longer), Writing, blogging | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 58 Comments

“Principle” versus “principal”

Because I’m teaching a technical communication course on writing and editing this quarter at MSOE, I’ve had issues of grammar, punctuation, and spelling on my mind more than usual lately.  One common error that came up in class last week … Continue reading

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