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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The 13 Trickiest Grammar Hang-Ups (& How to Beat Them) | Mignon Fogarty, WritersDigest.com

I doubt if many people can easily, promptly make a clear distinction between who and whom, as writer Fogarty suggests. (I'm a professional writer/editor and typically have to consider the difference if I choose to use one word or the other.)

But I like the rest of Fogarty's article! She begins:
I trust that you all know the difference between who and whom, and I trust that typos are the only reason you use the wrong it’s. It happens to the best of us. For most writers, if you can just maintain your focus (perhaps with caffeine and frequent breaks), you’ll get the basics right.
Here are the headings for the 13 problems Fogarty discusses:
  1. Half can be both singular and plural.
  2. Companies are not exactly people.
  3. American is a flawed term.
  4. The word dilemma can be, well, a dilemma.
  5. Earth isn’t treated like the names of other planets.
  6. Gone missing might be annoying, but it isn’t wrong.
  7. Kinds is always plural.
  8. Until is ambiguous.
  9. Next is also ambiguous.
  10. The plurals of abbreviations aren’t always logical.
  11. They and their may soon be acceptable singular pronouns.
  12. Possessives of possessives can get messy.
  13. Apostrophes can occasionally signify plurals.
For more similar advice, check out Garbl's Editorial Style Manual. It can help you be clear, concise, correct and consistent in your use of the written word. 

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