Tricky Rules

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Manic, an adjective, is a clinical term having to do with a psychological affliction. Maniac, a noun, is a crazy person. The adjective form is maniacal, with the accent on the second syllable. Examples: He takes lithium for manic depression. She started acting like a maniac when she heard the news.

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A person is convinced by evidence or argument made to the intellect. A person is persuaded by appeals made to the will, moral sense, or emotions. A person is convinced of a doctrine, belief, or duty. A person is convicted of a crime, sin, or personal wrongdoing. The noun form of both words is conviction.

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Single means “one” or “individual.” When applied to people, it usually means “unmarried.” It can be a verb meaning “to call attention to.” Sometimes an unmarried person is referred to as “a single.” The state of being single is singleness. Singular is a related word meaning “unique” or “distinctive” or “standing alone in some way.”

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Can as an auxiliary verb means “to be able to.” May as an auxiliary verb means “to be permitted to.” Incorrect: Can we talk? (Well, if you can say it, you are able to talk!) Correct: May we talk? Correct: We may talk if you can listen to my side.

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Prepositions Ending Sentences

The word preposition was coined because such words normally precede the position of their objects in a prepositional phrase. Some people then took this definition to mean that a preposition always had to come before its object and, surely, could never end a sentence. This “rule” does not always apply when a subordinate clause comes

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