Style and Usage

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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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Negatives

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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Tricky Plurals

There are four groups of words which some speakers and writers have difficulty with. In each case it has to do with the agreement of plurals or plural-looking words with the verbs or other words they go with. Plural-looking Nouns Some nouns that end in -s look like they are plural, but they really are

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The Verb To Be

The verb to be is the most irregular verb in the English language. It is normally a linking verb showing existence or the condition of the subject. It can also be used as an auxiliary verb when forming the passive voice. The forms of the verb to be in English are as follows: Infinitive to

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Dangling Modifiers

A dangling modifier is a phrase or clause which says something different from what is meant because words are left out. The meaning of the sentence, therefore, is left “dangling.” Incorrect: While driving on Greenwood Avenue yesterday afternoon, a tree began to fall toward Wendy H’s car. (It sounds like the tree was driving! This

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