Either-Or, Neither-Nor, and Other Correlatives

Either-Or, Neither-Nor, and Other Correlatives

When we think of conjunctions, most of us think of single words: and, but, therefore, although, and the rest of the coordinating, adverbial, and subordinating conjunctions. But when conjunctions work in pairs, we call them correlatives because they link two...
Parallel Structure in Lists (Embedded)

Parallel Structure in Lists (Embedded)

Elsewhere on this site, we discuss the importance of parallel structure in vertical (bulleted) lists. But two or more parts of a sentence, clause, or phrase should be grammatically parallel even without bullets (or numbers or letters). This article focuses on parallel...
Try to and Try and?

Try to and Try and?

Have you landed on this page to “try to” improve your understanding of English grammar and usage—or to “try and” do so? Either way, you’ve come to the right place. The focus here is on whether “try to” and “try and” are both considered correct and are, thus,...
Alumnus, Alumni, Alumna, Alumnae

Alumnus, Alumni, Alumna, Alumnae

As spring graduation season wraps up here in the United States, now is a good time to talk about alumnus, alumni, alumna, and alumnae. Many of us struggle to remember which of these terms are masculine, which are feminine, which are singular, and which are plural. The...
Home In On or Hone In On: Which Is Logical?

Home In On or Hone In On: Which Is Logical?

The words home and hone sound so much alike that we can hardly blame people for confusing them and saying hone in on when they really mean home in on. Home In On Synonyms for the infinitive to home in on are to zero in on or to target. Think about a guided missile or...
Nominalization (Vague, Wordy Sentences)

Nominalization (Vague, Wordy Sentences)

When it comes to writing, less is often better. Writers can avail themselves of several strategies for more succinct writing, and avoiding nominalization—forming a noun from other parts of speech—is one of them.  Nouns can be made from both verbs and adjectives, but...