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By June Casagrande | January 31, 2014
Making good grammar decisions usually requires very little grammar. If the sentence “Whom are you?” sounds wrong, it probably is. You don't need to know why. You need never have heard the term “predicate nominative” or even “object pronoun.” Call it grammar autopilot. But there are exceptions - specifics and subtleties of the language that require extensive grammar for a small payoff. The most striking example is “a while” and “awhile.” To know which one to use, you need to know what a preposition is, you need to know what the object of a preposition is, you need to know what an adverbial is and you need to know what an adverb is. That last one is harder than you may realize.
NEWS
By June Casagrande | May 3, 2013
Pop quiz. Which is correct? "The dogs are outside" or "The dogs is outside. " I don't even have to hear your answer to give you an A. Anyone reading an English-language newspaper surely knows that "dogs are" is grammatical and "dogs is" is ungrammatical. Many even know why. Plural subjects take plural verbs like "are. " Singular subjects take singular verbs like "is. " We call this subject-verb agreement, and it's often so obvious that there's no need to worry about it. But just when I think subject-verb agreement is too easy for words, someone shows me different.
NEWS
By JUNE CASAGRANDE | November 19, 2008
I?ve never seen a satisfying definition of ?preposition.? ?Prepositions are small words such as ?with? and ?into? that themselves are difficult to define in words. Suffice it to say that prepositions create a relationship between other words in a sentence by linking phrases to the rest of the sentence,? according to the University of Oregon?s online grammar guide. ?Prepositions are words that link a noun or a pronoun to another word in the sentence,? according to ?The Complete Idiot?
NEWS
By June Casagrande | March 9, 2013
There's a cartoon about commas going around on the Internet. The first panel reads: “With the Oxford comma: We invited the strippers, JFK, and Stalin.” The illustration shows four people: two men, one bearing a resemblance to JFK and the other to Stalin, and two women in G-strings and high heels. The second panel reads: “Without the Oxford comma: We invited the strippers, JFK and Stalin” above an illustration of just two people: men resembling JKF and Stalin, who themselves are wearing G-strings and high heels.
NEWS
By June Casagrande | November 2, 2012
There aren't many issues in grammar or usage that scare me much anymore. After years of writing about language, I've learned that the things I don't know - and there are still many - I'm probably not expected to know. Over the years, that panicky feeling that I'm going to be exposed as a fraud the minute someone asks a question I can't answer has faded away almost completely. But one issue that can still set my pulse racing is the difference between “anymore” and “any more.” I'm not sure why, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I've been getting around to researching it for more than 15 years now. And because I've been “gonna look it up soon” for so long, it makes sense I'd feel a little behind on the subject.
NEWS
By June Casagrande | November 3, 2010
I've just been accused of schadenfreude — taking pleasure at someone else's misfortune. I'll admit I'm not above this rather base impulse. For example, the name Larry Craig still makes me smile. But in this case, I plead not guilty. You can be the judge. I was reading a CNBC finance story on a Yahoo news site recently when I came across this passage: "Asset allocation strategists haven't had an easy time in recent years. They've grappled with deflation, recession, plummeting U.S. stock markets and surging foreign economies.
NEWS
August 3, 2005
JUNE CASAGRANDE I don't remember when I began writing this column and, frankly, I'm too lazy to find out. Suffice it to say that it's been more than two years, less than three. Either way, I've been writing about grammar long enough that I should be able to open up the glossary section of the "Oxford English Grammar" without crying or screaming. Or so you'd think. Nonstandard relative pronouns. Notional criteria. Situational deixis Allomorph.
NEWS
By: JUNE CASAGRANDE | August 7, 2005
I don't remember when I began writing this column, and frankly, I'm too lazy to find out. Suffice it to say that it's been more than two years, less than three. Either way, I've been writing about grammar long enough that I should be able to open up the glossary section of the "Oxford English Grammar" without crying or screaming. Or so you'd think. Nonstandard relative pronouns. Notional criteria. Situational deixis. Allomorph. Dative case. Extraposed postmodifier.
NEWS
By June Casagrande | January 20, 2012
My friend Anne wrote recently to ask about a pair of sentences she was puzzling over. She wanted to know which of the following is correct: “Me seeing that letter is important” or “My seeing that letter is important.” She had an idea: “I think it's 'my,'” she wrote, “but I don't know why I think that.” I know why she thought that: because “my” seems more natural and more logical. Ninety-nine times out of 100 something that seems better is better. After all, grammar rules are really just an analysis of how we use the language.
NEWS
By June Casagrande | July 14, 2010
There's a burger chain I hate. It's not their food I despise. If I've ever eaten there, I don't remember it. What bothers me is the company's advertising. Anyone who's seen a Carl's Jr. TV commercial would surely guess that I hate their ads because they show young women or, I should say, parts of young women, displayed in bikinis, lingerie and low-cut tops. But that guess would be wrong. The content of the ads is actually pretty humdrum — tired enough to make you wonder whether advertising isn't the world's second-oldest profession, or perhaps the first.
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NEWS
By June Casagrande | January 31, 2014
Making good grammar decisions usually requires very little grammar. If the sentence “Whom are you?” sounds wrong, it probably is. You don't need to know why. You need never have heard the term “predicate nominative” or even “object pronoun.” Call it grammar autopilot. But there are exceptions - specifics and subtleties of the language that require extensive grammar for a small payoff. The most striking example is “a while” and “awhile.” To know which one to use, you need to know what a preposition is, you need to know what the object of a preposition is, you need to know what an adverbial is and you need to know what an adverb is. That last one is harder than you may realize.
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NEWS
By June Casagrande | May 3, 2013
Pop quiz. Which is correct? "The dogs are outside" or "The dogs is outside. " I don't even have to hear your answer to give you an A. Anyone reading an English-language newspaper surely knows that "dogs are" is grammatical and "dogs is" is ungrammatical. Many even know why. Plural subjects take plural verbs like "are. " Singular subjects take singular verbs like "is. " We call this subject-verb agreement, and it's often so obvious that there's no need to worry about it. But just when I think subject-verb agreement is too easy for words, someone shows me different.
NEWS
By June Casagrande | March 9, 2013
There's a cartoon about commas going around on the Internet. The first panel reads: “With the Oxford comma: We invited the strippers, JFK, and Stalin.” The illustration shows four people: two men, one bearing a resemblance to JFK and the other to Stalin, and two women in G-strings and high heels. The second panel reads: “Without the Oxford comma: We invited the strippers, JFK and Stalin” above an illustration of just two people: men resembling JKF and Stalin, who themselves are wearing G-strings and high heels.
NEWS
By June Casagrande | November 2, 2012
There aren't many issues in grammar or usage that scare me much anymore. After years of writing about language, I've learned that the things I don't know - and there are still many - I'm probably not expected to know. Over the years, that panicky feeling that I'm going to be exposed as a fraud the minute someone asks a question I can't answer has faded away almost completely. But one issue that can still set my pulse racing is the difference between “anymore” and “any more.” I'm not sure why, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I've been getting around to researching it for more than 15 years now. And because I've been “gonna look it up soon” for so long, it makes sense I'd feel a little behind on the subject.
NEWS
By June Casagrande | January 20, 2012
My friend Anne wrote recently to ask about a pair of sentences she was puzzling over. She wanted to know which of the following is correct: “Me seeing that letter is important” or “My seeing that letter is important.” She had an idea: “I think it's 'my,'” she wrote, “but I don't know why I think that.” I know why she thought that: because “my” seems more natural and more logical. Ninety-nine times out of 100 something that seems better is better. After all, grammar rules are really just an analysis of how we use the language.
NEWS
By June Casagrande | November 3, 2010
I've just been accused of schadenfreude — taking pleasure at someone else's misfortune. I'll admit I'm not above this rather base impulse. For example, the name Larry Craig still makes me smile. But in this case, I plead not guilty. You can be the judge. I was reading a CNBC finance story on a Yahoo news site recently when I came across this passage: "Asset allocation strategists haven't had an easy time in recent years. They've grappled with deflation, recession, plummeting U.S. stock markets and surging foreign economies.
NEWS
By June Casagrande | July 14, 2010
There's a burger chain I hate. It's not their food I despise. If I've ever eaten there, I don't remember it. What bothers me is the company's advertising. Anyone who's seen a Carl's Jr. TV commercial would surely guess that I hate their ads because they show young women or, I should say, parts of young women, displayed in bikinis, lingerie and low-cut tops. But that guess would be wrong. The content of the ads is actually pretty humdrum — tired enough to make you wonder whether advertising isn't the world's second-oldest profession, or perhaps the first.
NEWS
By JUNE CASAGRANDE | November 19, 2008
I?ve never seen a satisfying definition of ?preposition.? ?Prepositions are small words such as ?with? and ?into? that themselves are difficult to define in words. Suffice it to say that prepositions create a relationship between other words in a sentence by linking phrases to the rest of the sentence,? according to the University of Oregon?s online grammar guide. ?Prepositions are words that link a noun or a pronoun to another word in the sentence,? according to ?The Complete Idiot?
NEWS
By: JUNE CASAGRANDE | August 7, 2005
I don't remember when I began writing this column, and frankly, I'm too lazy to find out. Suffice it to say that it's been more than two years, less than three. Either way, I've been writing about grammar long enough that I should be able to open up the glossary section of the "Oxford English Grammar" without crying or screaming. Or so you'd think. Nonstandard relative pronouns. Notional criteria. Situational deixis. Allomorph. Dative case. Extraposed postmodifier.
NEWS
August 3, 2005
JUNE CASAGRANDE I don't remember when I began writing this column and, frankly, I'm too lazy to find out. Suffice it to say that it's been more than two years, less than three. Either way, I've been writing about grammar long enough that I should be able to open up the glossary section of the "Oxford English Grammar" without crying or screaming. Or so you'd think. Nonstandard relative pronouns. Notional criteria. Situational deixis Allomorph.
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