Parallel Structure

Parallel Structure

Whenever our writing includes a list, the items in that list need to be parallel with one another. That is, all of the items in a list must be the same, both logically and grammatically. Logically Parallel Lists First, the items in a list must be parallel in meaning....
Split Infinitives: Are They Really So Bad?

Split Infinitives: Are They Really So Bad?

Most of us were taught never to split infinitives, but writers have been splitting them anyway—even long before Star Trek provided us with perhaps the most famous split infinitive, “to boldly go.” Those of us taught to regard the split infinitive as anathema...
They, Them, and Their Can Sometimes Be Singular

They, Them, and Their Can Sometimes Be Singular

Editors at Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary caused quite a stir when they tweeted on September 17, 2019, that “the nonbinary pronoun ‘they’ has been added to the dictionary.” Their tweet addresses a frequently asked question: can they (or...
Lie or Lay?

Lie or Lay?

This website addresses a number of confusing word pairs, including effect and affect, sit and set, and bad and badly, just to name a few. But none are more confusing than lie and lay. These verbs have traditionally held very different meanings. Simply put, to lie...
Who or Whom

Who or Whom

I hope I am dead and gone when it happens, but I fully realize that one day the word whom will be designated by dictionaries as archaic, a relic from a bygone time.  Languages are dynamic, and as fewer people make the distinction between the nominative who and the...
I or Me

I or Me

Elsewhere on this site, we address confusion with myself and other reflexive pronouns. This article focuses specifically on knowing when to use I or me. Consider these sentences, which we will address in the discussion below: Harry and I will take the annual report to...