English is a weird language. None of our grammatical rules ever seem to be evenly applied without exceptions, and irregular verbs are no different. For most verbs in the English language, changing to past tense is as simple as adding 'ed' on the end. But then there's a whole host of words that don't conform to that rule. What gives?
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A thesaurus is a fruitful tool when you use it befittingly. If you fathom what you’re performing, a thesaurus patronizes you find the merited word for your specific ballgame. But if you ply synonyms without kenning their shadinesses of gist, you will look really speechless. You need to apprehend each word you utilise, or else people will jape and jeer at your calligraphy.
For some of us, grade-school grammar lessons haven't stuck. I managed fairly well with my trusty Elements of Style until pretty recently, but the ongoing assault on grammar that is the Internet occasionally shakes my confidence.
(Every time I want to type rein, rain, or reign, for example, I need to close my eyes and meditate for a moment.)
Some words and phrases sound like they should be interchangeable, or are so similar it's hard to tell the difference between. But in the complicated world of English grammar, even these subtle differences can change the entire meaning of a word. Here are 12 common words you need to be careful about mixing up.
Some grammar mistakes manage to trip up the vast majority of writers. Take "affect" and "effect" -- no matter how many times this grammar rule is explained to people, many writers continue to mix them up. If you're regularly tripped up by homonyms such as "who's vs. whose" and "further vs. farther", this infographic is here to help.
Of all the tricky grammar topics, who versus whom ranks right up there: get it wrong, and you risk looking like a rube. Get it right and you risk looking pretentious. Get it wrong in a different way and you risk looking like a pretentious rube. So we at Lifehacker, who want to be both right and non-pretentious (but only sometimes succeed), thought we'd do a little research and break down the whole who/whom thing once and for all.
One-star reviews, in addition to being the least helpful kind of review, are also the longest and the worst-spelled. Data journalism blog Priceonomics analysed 100,000 online product reviews and found that 40 per cent of one-star reviews have at least one spelling mistake, vs. under 30 per cent of five-star reviews.
Learning how to write is like learning how to play a musical instrument: Once you learn the basic rules -- grammar, spelling and punctuation -- and are writing technically correct sentences, there's a still the whole world of syntax, diction and style to conquer. And this is where writers, like musicians, have opinions: Is it better to write straightforward, no-frills prose, or to weave verbal flights of fancy that illustrate complex, poetic sentiments?
iOS: For the past few years, I've been using Grammarly. The service corrects your spelling and grammar on the fly, and the Chrome extension is great for helping me catch tiny typos and misplaced commas in emails, or even posts on Lifehacker I'm adding to our CMS. Now Grammarly has extended to one more place: Your iPhone.
Grammar prescriptivists -- who believe rules should be followed; "descriptivists" believe correct grammar is whatever works -- love to appeal to logic. If "he could care less," then he could care less -- you have to say "he couldn't"! It's the rock we cling to against the rising tide of literally-means-figuratively-now. Well, it may be time to loosen that grip, because the evolutionary forces of language extremely do not care.
Once a week, for the past eight-odd years, I overhear it: "It's GIF, not JIF." "Actually, it's officially JIF." If the arguers are educated in the subject, they will rattle through their supporting arguments: It's JIF because its inventor says so and it's like "giraffe"; it's GIF because it stands for "graphics" and it's like "gift".
This week, the financial press reported the downfall of a high-profile grammar pedant, Professor Paul Romer, the World Bank’s chief economist, who was hoist(ed) with his own pedantic petard. But 'grammonds' are people to be celebrated not vilified.