Style and Usage

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Pronoun-Antecedent Problems

The antecedent of a pronoun is the word the pronoun refers to. There are several style problems which writers and speakers sometimes have when they do not match the pronoun and the noun it replaces correctly. Missing or Mismatched Antecedent A pronoun, unless it is an indefinite pronoun, must have an antecedent, a word it

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The Subjunctive

A verb is in the subjunctive mood when it expresses a condition which is doubtful or not factual. It is most often found in a clause beginning with the word if. It is also found in clauses following a verb that expresses a doubt, a wish, regret, request, demand, or proposal. These are verbs typically

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Comparatives and Superlatives Use words ending in -er or modified by the word more to compare two items. This is known as the comparative degree. Use words ending in -est or modified by the word most to compare three or more items. This is known as the superlative degree. Correct: K2 is taller than Annapurna.

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Comparison Problems

Comparison Problems There are five problems writers sometimes have with comparisons. 1. Make sure you are comparing similar items. Incorrect: The tusk of a mastodon is bigger than an elephant. (It sounds as if the writer is comparing the tusk with an elephant.) Correct: The tusk of a mastodon is bigger than the tusk of

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There are a few rules to keep in mind when making a sentence say “No.” 1. Double negatives are nonstandard. Avoid two negative words in the same clause. Incorrect: I don’t want no seconds. (Both don’t and no are negatives.) Correct: I don’t want any seconds. Correct: I want no seconds. This rule does not

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