1. Infinitytruth
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    Infinitytruth Senior Member

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    What are some important grammar tips for writing that you learned?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Infinitytruth, May 30, 2011.

    I figured this would be a great thread to learn from others. Name only the most useful tips that have changed your writing for the better.

    My tip that I learned recently would be to know the difference between "Then" and "Than." I was running around not knowing the difference, and I'm sure that it had at least a slight impact on my writing.

    Then usually explains time. Such as, "Then the monster mercilessly ate the tuna fish taco for lunch."

    Than is often used as a comparison to something. Such as, "You sir, have more than enough money."


    So anyway, post your tips. Feel free to refine mine, if you feel my explanation is a bit off. I understand it for myself, but I don't know if I explained it well enough.

    LET'S LEARN! :)
     
  2. Sundae
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    Sundae Contributing Member

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    Loose vs. Lose

    Loose = opposite of tight, constrained; becoming free from restrains and/or bindings

    Lose = opposite of win; to miss something, suffer the loss of.

    I have a loose tooth.

    I have lost my tooth somewhere on the floor.

    The easiest way to remember this when I was first learning the difference was to apply loose to tight. Because tight is something that constricts and whine something up tightly, loose is the opposite of that. And loose is one letter more than lose, and so you can easily see the loose being the opposite of tight is is bigger "looser" word since it doesn't have to be as constrained as lose and it's different meaning.

    Don't know if that make sense to anyone but it makes sense to me.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there are other threads like this that have grown fairly large by now... you may want to find the best and continue that, instead of starting yet another...
     
  4. Infinitytruth
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    Infinitytruth Senior Member

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    where?
     
  5. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    It's versus its. Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events actually helped me with that one. :p
     
  6. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    It took me a while, about two years ago, to figure out what the hell Microsoft Word meant by "fragment" and when I figured it out, I started noticing them everywhere; how they were used in good ways, or in bad ways.
     
  7. LaGs
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    LaGs Banned

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    Up until last week i struggled with the,

    Your and you're, their, they're

    If you don't notice this you're writing will suffer as a result and other people will think they're writing is better
     
  8. Declan
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    Declan Senior Member

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    The best thing I learnt is which rules in grammar you can break.
     
  9. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    Or, for me, it's the fact that you can break rules of grammar... If you know what you're doing, that is.
     
  10. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    ... You did remember that there is a 'there' in that set, right? (You mean homophones) C:
     
  11. LaGs
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    LaGs Banned

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    Non-sense, my grammer is purrfect
     
  12. Infinitytruth
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    Infinitytruth Senior Member

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    rofl
     
  13. Infinitytruth
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    Infinitytruth Senior Member

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    Absulootly! :) UoY hav-e the besst gramar i e-ve-r sawn! ;)
     
  14. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    "A" becomes "an" if it's followed by a vowel sound. So it's "a house" but "an hour", since the "h" in "hour" is silent.

    The possessive "s" is preceeded by an apostrophe: "Brian's", "my country's flag", "the train's second wagon"
    EXCEPT when the "s" is part of a possessive pronoun: "his", "hers", "its"
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Note one crucial word in this rule: sound. Some words are sounded differently in different dialects or contexts. For instance, herb may be pronounced with either a silent or voiced h, so an herb garden is correct with the former, and a herb garden for the latter. Similarly, the computer term SQL is somtimes pronounced ess-cue-ell, and sometimes sequel. In the first case, you would refer to an SQL query, and in the latter a SQL query.
     
  16. lostinwebspace
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    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    Clarity trumps everything.
     
  17. James Scarborough
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    James Scarborough Member

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    My best tip is to keep one or two good reference books close at hand and become familiar enough with them that you can quickly find answers to grammar and usage questions.

    In my case, the book I keep on my desk is the "Little Brown Handbook". Mine is the Fourth Edition (1989). I use it regularly.

    Everyone will have their own favorites. Others that I recommend, but use less frequently, include Strunk and White's "Elements of Style", the "AP Stylebook", and "The Book on Writing: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Well".

    The important point is that you have an actual hard copy of a good reference book and use it. The internet is no substitute. You need to be able to flip pages, browse, and become familiar with the overall scope of the book so you can find answers quickly.
     

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