Myth Rules: Eight So-Called Rules to Ignore

Myth Rules: Eight So-Called Rules to Ignore

My first exposure to the phrase “myth rules” was the use of that expression in Edgar H. Schuster’s 2003 book (which I highly recommend), Breaking the Rules: Liberating Writers through Innovative Grammar Instruction. But long before I discovered Schuster’s list of...
Faulty Comparisons

Faulty Comparisons

A faulty comparison is among a host of other issues that can affect the clarity of our writing: elsewhere in this archive, for example, we talk about avoiding vague pronoun references (in particular the vague which) and about using transitions effectively to improve...
Possessive Case before a Gerund

Possessive Case before a Gerund

Before we can use the possessive case before a gerund, we first have to recognize whether we are dealing with a gerund (which functions like a noun) or a participle (which functions as an adjective). And therein lies the rub. Participles and gerunds look and sound the...
Less or Fewer

Less or Fewer

Other articles on this site address confusing word pairs, including effect and affect, sit and set, lay and lie, and bad and badly. Here we address the confusion that can arise when we have to decide whether to use less or fewer. We need to look no farther than the...
Passive Voice and Active Voice

Passive Voice and Active Voice

Those of us whose word-processing software includes a grammar checker have probably encountered the green squiggly line of doom wagging an accusatory finger at a passive verb. But what is the passive voice, and why is it considered undesirable? (If you learn better by...