Style and Usage

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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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Comparisons

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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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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Sentence Fragments (Incomplete Sentences)

1. A sentence must have a subject and a verb if it is to make sense. Incorrect: John, being a friendly computer salesman and baseball fan.(No verb)Correct: John, being a friendly computer salesman and baseball fan, refused to argue.(John–the subject–is doing something, namely, refusing.) 2. A subordinate clause (also sometimes called a dependent clause) is

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