Here are 39 of our best grammar quick tips…
1. Avoid ending sentences with a preposition (of, with, for, etc.) as long as the flow is natural. If not, then go ahead…it’s OK.
2. Place adverbs next to the verb whenever possible. (Turn on the television. Not: Turn the television on.)
3. Use a colon to introduce a list or concept that expands upon the statement preceding the colon.
4. Use commas to indicate a pause or clause. Caution—incorrect comma placement can dramatically change meaning.
5. A semicolon separates two related, independent clauses (complete sentences).
6. Use vibrant verbs! Nix mundane language by choosing specific, lively verbs.
7. When abbreviating a year, use an apostrophe, not an opening single quotation mark: ’99, NOT ‘99.
8. No commas necessary before an ampersand (&). It’s like using 2 punctuation marks in a row, and very technically wrong.
9. Use a comma between 2 adjectives if ‘and’ can be placed between them & still make sense. If not, no comma needed.
10. a.m./p.m.–always lowercase with periods & avoid redundancy: “2 p.m. in the afternoon.”
11. Per AP: Italicize book titles & place in quotations; Per Chicago: Italicize book titles, no quotations.
12. Fewer vs. Less–In general, use fewer w/countable items & less w/measurable items (containing mass).
13. Do you mix up these adjectives? Discreet (prudence/restraint in speech, behavior) / Discrete (separate, distinct).
14. A question can be styled as an exclamation: How could I have known!
15. Do you mix up these nouns? Compliment (expression of praise, respect) / Complement (something that completes/makes whole).
16. Place punctuation in quotations when part of matter: Did I say, “Yes”?; I said, “Yes!”
17. Use a colon after “as follows,” “the following,” and similar expressions, but not after “for example,” or “namely.”
18. Separate “etc.” with commas, unless it ends a sentence: You may skip, hop, walk, etc., but don’t run.
19. Not sure about colon use? Here’s a trick: the words preceding a colon should always comprise a complete sentence.
20. Use the singular form of the following:upward, downward, backward, forward, afterward, toward. Add an –s when in Britain.
21. Sacrilegious is spelled with an ‘ile,’ not ‘eli.’
22. Eliminate the, that, very, really & other filler words. Your writing will be more concise.
23. Refer to people as who: The woman who ran a mile…Not, the woman that ran a mile.
24. In the U.S. use double quotations for a quoted word, phrase & sentence. Use single quotations for a quote within a quote.
25. Place a comma after Oh or Ah if there is no other punctuation or unless it is part of a phrase: Oh boy! Oh yeah? Ah yes!
26. A word/phrase following ‘so-called’ doesn’t require quotations unless needed to emphasize only 1 part of the phrase.
27. A dependent clause preceding a main clause should always be followed by a comma: If you like this tweet, please retweet it.
28. Use ‘a’ before words beginning w/a consonant sound: a historic place. Use ‘an’ before words beginning w/a vowel sound: an herb.
29. When a repeated adjective appears before a noun, separate with a comma. Many, many people use Twitter daily.
30. Hyphenate titles of elected officials not yet in office unless title is open compound: president-elect, but vice president elect
31. Italicize poem/opera/long musical comp titles. Song titles & shorter musical comps are set in Roman & in quotations.
32. “My sister, Sally,” if she is your only sister. “My sister Sally” if you have more than one sister.
33. Biannual & semiannual mean twice per year. Biennial means once every 2 years (or every other year).
34. Colons & semicolons follow closing quotation marks. Periods & commas always precede.
35. Question marks & exclamation points follow closing quotation marks unless part of the quoted matter.
36. etc. is ALWAYS used to complete a list, is preceded by a comma, followed by a period & ALWAYS lowercase.
37. In order to & in order for can often be reduced to ‘to’ or ‘for.’ Always best to say the same thing with fewer words.
38. Never use numbers to express noon/midnight, except in 24-hour system. 12:00am & 12:00pm can be ambiguous.
39. Born vs. borne:Borne=She has borne 2 children. Born=adj. or passive verb:a born singer/being born into poverty
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