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Happy first day of June, fandom grammar watchers! We're going to kick off this month by tackling one of the most commonly asked questions about English grammatical rules:

“Is it okay to end a sentence with a preposition?”

To understand this answer, you"ll first need to understand the importance of English sentence structure....Collapse )
In this week's Say What? our two sayings are both food related but are very different in their meanings. To help demonstrate their use I'll be using characters from Person of Interest in my examples.

How do you prove your puddings?Collapse )

How do you punctuate appositive phrases?

This question came to us with a specific example, wondering about the correct punctuation in this sentence: The eleven-inch wand, the one made of ash[,] shot out a stream of sparks.

Let's start by identifying "the one made of ash" as an appositive phrase. Our Grammar 101: Prepositions & Phrases article defines an appositive as "a noun or pronoun, often with modifiers, that renames or identifies another noun or pronoun within a sentence."

Punctuating Appositives with help from Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire SlayerCollapse )

Even though rain is necessary for life, the fact that raindrops look like teardrops, along with the darkened skies that rain brings with it during the day, make rain an allusion to sorrow or bad luck in many cultures. Let's take a closer look at a couple of familiar sayings about the rain that are really comments about misfortune.

With the help of the cast of the manga and anime series Black Lagoon …Collapse )
When do you use "nor" versus "or"?


With examples from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.


Nor vs OrCollapse )
Welcome to your Friday and another edition of Say What?.  Today’s proverbs are both about power and ability—who might have them and what might happen.  Let’s take a look at in the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king and he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword, assisted our friends the Avengers.Collapse )
Welcome! An anonymous grammar fan asked us, "What are gerunds? How do they differ from regular verbs?" Today, we've got the answer, along with a little help from our friends from Saiyuki.Collapse )
In this week's Say What? we'll be looking at two expressions that are related to either, depending on how you look at it, things that money can buy, or whether people's integrity is real. I'll be using the characters from Person of Interest in my examples.

What is your price?Collapse )
Today’s question is why we say “sleep tight” and not “sleep tightly.” After all, “sleep” is a verb, so shouldn’t we use the adverb form “tightly”?

Readers of a certain age might remember a similar issue with Apple’s “Think Different” advertising campaign in the 1990s, which had thousands of people crying, “No, think differently!” More recently, singer and grammar nerd “Weird Al” Yankovic has been seen changing a road sign from “Caution Drive Slow” to “Caution Drive Slowly.”

The good news is that there are readers who recognize that an action verb (like sleep or think or drive) should be modified by an adverb, not an adjective. The bad news for people trying to use correct grammar is that there are times when what looks like an adjective actually is an adverb, called a “plain” or “flat” adverb.

Let’s take a closer look at these little known modifiers with examples from Marvel’s Avengers.Collapse )

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