Collective Nouns

Collective Nouns

Collective nouns are words that refer to—you guessed it—a collection of individuals (people or animals) or things taken as a whole. Though these words appear singular, they represent a group; examples include team, jury, faculty, class, choir, family, and committee....

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Capitalizing Words: Proper vs. Common

Capitalizing Words: Proper vs. Common

The rules for capitalizing words in sentences (as opposed to capitalizing words in headings or the titles of publications or a person's job title or military rank) seem simple at first glance: we capitalize proper words, and we lowercase common ones. But because...

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Capitalizing a Job Title or Military Rank

Capitalizing a Job Title or Military Rank

In another article, we address the challenge of knowing when words need to be capitalized in sentences because they are proper and not common nouns. This article focuses on the narrower question of when to capitalize a job title or military rank. Just Say No: Chances...

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Sit, Set, and Seat

Sit, Set, and Seat

In a different post we discuss the distinction between lie and lay. It is also helpful to examine sit and set, another pair of potentially troubling verbs that is made even more confusing by a third verb, seat. How Much Do You Know Already? Do you recognize which (if...

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Colons (and How They Differ from Semicolons)

Colons (and How They Differ from Semicolons)

Recently I came across two expressions sorely in need of a well-placed colon. The first appeared in the Washington Post*: Although the vaccines remain remarkably effective, the virus has bountiful opportunities to find new ways to evade immunity. Most of the world...

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