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 Embedded Lists

Parallel Structure in Embedded Lists

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...
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...
Using the Possessive Case before a Gerund

Using the 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...
Starting Sentences with “And” or “But”

Starting Sentences with “And” or “But”

One of our subscribers wrote to ask about starting sentences with and or but. She wondered whether it is considered grammatically correct to do so. The answer is yes. The operative word here, though, is sentences. Notice the difference between these two examples: Two...

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