It’s YOUR Responsibility to Make Sure YOU’RE Using the Correct Word — a Grammar Owl post

“Whooooooose responsibility?” asked the Owl. “Yours,” I said, quickly adding, “Not that you’re doing it incorrectly, Owl.” You have likely noticed this before, or puzzled over it. It happens all the time. Your is used when you’re is the correct form, or vice versa. The confusion comes, I think, from the presence of the apostrophe, as well as the fact that both words sound the same. Sometimes apostrophes indicate possession, as in Beth’s pen or Owl’s talon, and other times apostrophes indicate two words contracted into one. Beth can’t find her pen, and Owl won’t let her see what’s clutched in his talons. In the case of your and you’re,… Read More

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And furthermore, let’s go farther this time — a Grammar Owl post

One of my readers — I should say OUR readers, as I see the Owl flexing his talons — One of our readers asked about the words further and farther, which are so similar that it’s easy to get confused about which to use in which instance. Grammar Owl to the rescue!   Farther refers to physical distance. It’s the comparative form of far. (Farthest is the superlative.) For example: I walked farther today than I did yesterday. Further refers to philosophical/metaphorical distance. It means more, additionally, extra. For example: I thought further, considering my aching legs, and decided to walk a shorter distance tomorrow. Furthermore, I decided to warm… Read More

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Different… To? From? Than? — A Grammar Owl post

The Grammar Owl has been pondering a conundrum. Is the correct way to say something is not like something else “different to” or “different from” or “different than“? In certain instances, any of those possibilities is correct. (Thanks a lot, Beth. That’s really helpful. Not.) Let me explain.   “Different to” is a phrase most often used in Britain, and I’d extrapolate that perhaps also in countries whose use of the language has been influenced strongly by British ways of phrasing. “Different from” is more often American. But it doesn’t stop there. In North America, particularly, we hear “different than” often, particularly in speech. It’s perhaps more colloquial than using… Read More

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Playing with Words — Word Games for the Holidays

Instead of a regular post today, I’d just like to take a very few moments to encourage you to have a little fun with words over the holidays. Many families play games when they get together (at least they used to — I hope they still do!) How about devoting some of that time to word games? Word games can hone your spelling skills, can teach you new words, can get your imagination going — they could even act as writing prompts. There are the tried and true favorites like Scrabble and Boggle, and the many variations on those games’ general theme. This post  suggests others like Apple to Apples,… Read More

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