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.
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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.
Do you go to the store for "cupcakes, vanilla, and chocolate" or "cupcakes, vanilla and chocolate"? There's a long-running debate over whether it's proper to include that last comma in a list. Lifehacker's policy is to eschew it, but we have to admit that the so-called 'Oxford comma' does makes things clearer on occasion - as proven in a recent US lawsuit.
Chrome/Windows/Mac/Linux: If you've ever had a phrase on the tip of your tongue, you probably took to Google to search for the right wording. Writefull does this work for you. It's a free, helps improve your writing, compares phrases, shows you how they're worded depending on the context and suggests synonyms.
A split infinitive occurs when an adverb or other word is inserted between 'to' and the verb. One of the most famous examples of a split infinitive is the Star Trek tagline: "to boldly go where no man has gone before." The adverb 'boldly' splits the infinitive 'to go'. Confused? Here are 12 more grammar rules that you might not know; from rogue comma splices to the pitfalls of homonyms.