#GrammarSeries – Never say ”The reason why.”

This error is so common that it no longer sounds like an error. But, it is!

You may ask what is wrong with saying ”The reason why”. Well, that’s pretty simple – REDUNDANCY!

The word ”why” is a special pronoun that expresses reason. Therefore, saying ”the reason why” is as good as repeating ”reason”. In addition, the pronoun ”why” usually introduces an adverbial clause or phrase, not a noun/nominal phrase. Hence, it cannot serve as the subject of the sentence.

So, instead of saying:

“The reason why she came was to borrow a book.”

Simply say:

“She came to borrow a book.”

“She came because she wanted to borrow a book.”

See you next week! 

 

#GrammarSeries – 8 boring words you need to stop using right now

Hey Sparkle Writers! Welcome to another #GrammarSeries. 

Today we want to talk to you about words you absolutely need to stop using right now. It’s not that these words are bad but they are stale because they are overused.

You know we always have you covered. As we highlight the words, we will show you words you use in its place.

Pretty

Do you use the word ‘Pretty’ a lot. We think it’s time to stop. Here are some other words you can use; Beautiful, Lovely, Elegant, Attractive, Handsome, Striking, Gorgeous, Exquisite, Fair, Cute.

Little

This word is overused. Thankfully there are some fantastic alternatives; Compact, Diminutive, Miniature, Slight, Minute, Microscopic, Petite.

Funny

Are you fond of saying something or someone is funny, here are other words you can use in its place; Amusing, Humorous, Witty, Comical, Silly, Hilarious, Hysterical, Laughable, Jocular. 

Nice

We know we have a lot of nice people around but other words can use used to describe such people; Benevolent, Gracious, Considerate, Decent, Congenial, Courteous, Warm, Cordial, Humane.

Happy

Do you know these words can be used to express the same meaning as the word ‘happy’? Merry, Glad, Pleased, Delighted, Jolly, Elated, Thrilled, Cheerful, Jubilant, Joyful.

Run/ Ran

Instead of saying that someone ran away, you can try using any of these words; Bolted, Hurried, Raced, Dashed, Galloped, Jogged, Sprinted, Rushed, Sped, Darted, Trotted.

Bad

If something is bad, you can use the following words to convey that; Atrocious, Terrible, Dreadful, Vile, Brutal, Despicable, Sinister, Nasty, Wicked, Abhorent.

Smart

It’s very tempting to use the word ‘smart’ when describing someone’s intelligence. Here are some other words you can try; Witty, Sharp, Brainy, Gifted, Wise, Clever, Bright, Quick-Witted, Knowledgeable.

 

#GrammarSeries- What you need to know about sentence length

the rules of comparison

Hey grammar lovers, are you ready to learn?

Let’s talk about sentence length and its significance in writing.

One of the simplest ways to spice up your article is to vary the sentence length. With varying sentence lengths, you can capture your readers’ attention more quickly.

However, you should avoid using very long sentences. If you must, make sure that it is unambiguous. A sentence becomes too long when it is incomprehensible. In most cases, very long sentences can be broken up into shorter ones.

On the other hand, your article should not comprise only simple sentences. If you do this, your article will be boring. Short sentences can be used on occasion. For instance, short sentences in an article or write up help to draw the attention of the reader to the information in that sentence.

We hope that helped.

#GrammarSeries – How you should never use a comma

Grammar concept with toy dice

If you’ve learnt a thing or two from our #GrammarSeries raise your hands! Today is another day and we will make sure you learn something again today. 

The comma is very important in English language but today we are here to tell you how you should never use a comma. 

Never use a comma to separate two independent sentences. Many people tend to do this without even knowing that it is wrong.

For example: There was no jam, he used butter. 

This is wrong.

Two independent sentences cannot be separated by a comma.

Now, you may ask how you separate such sentences? Our answer is this. Use conjunctions, a period/full stop or a semicolon.

Look at this example: There was no jam; he used butter.

There was no jam so he used butter.

There was no jam. He used butter.

In this case, periods should be used only when you don’t want to connect the two sentences or when there isn’t a strong connection between the two sentences.

We hope you have learnt something. 

#GrammarSeries – Abbreviations and how to use them

the rules of comparison

Hello Sparkle Writers, we know you have heard of abbreviations and you’ve probably used them a number of times but today we want to school you on the proper way to use them in case you’ve been making a mistake. 

Abbreviations are shorter versions of existing words and phrases. They’re designed to save time and take up less space (whether you’re typing or writing by hand) and can even make your writing easier to read.

We know that abbreviations are usually formed using the most recognizable letters from the word or expression. This makes them easier to remember, and easy for others to read. It’s almost like the letters are clues that point to the original word or expression.

Mister – Mr

Miles per hour- mph

New York City- NYC

Make sure to always pronounce abbreviations like you pronounce the original word. 

So if you have been pronouncing etc as etc, you are wrong. It should be pronounced as etcetera. 

Many people wonder whether or not they have to put the period mark at the end of an abbreviation. Our answer is this – although there is no rule that says you must put period, using it makes your words easier to read. 

That’s all for now. Until next week, keep your grammar in check

 

#GrammarSeries: Let’s talk about double comparisons

the rules of comparison

Hey Sparkle Writers. It’s Tuesday and as you already know on The Sparkle Writer’s Hub, it’s time for our Grammar Series!

Who is excited?

Wondering why we are excited about grammar? It’s because every part of our lives as writers needs to be taken care of and grammar is definitely one of them.

Now to today’s topic. 

Double comparison simply means placing side by side two comparative words. Most people make this mistake unconsciously but it is not correct. Some are not aware that it is a grammatical error but as writers, we can’t afford to make such errors. Can we?

Let’s look at a few examples;

Spaghetti is more easier to cook than Jollof rice

Since the words ‘more’ and ‘easier’ are in their comparative forms, this sentence is grammatically wrong..

Corrected: Spaghetti is easier to cook than Jollof rice.

There are however some words that need more to be added to them to get its comparative form. This is an example. 

Example: ‘Beautiful’ is not in its comparative form until we add ‘more’.

She is more beautiful than her sister.

Hope you’ve got it. See you next week!

#GrammarSeries – What do you know about double negatives?

the rules of comparison

How long has it been since our last grammar post? One week right?

We can’t wait to talk about today’s topic because its about double negatives. 

Double negatives are two negative words used in the same sentence. Using two negatives turns the thought or sentence into a positive one. However, double negatives are not encouraged in English because they are poor grammar and they can be confusing. 

There is one rule you must know when it comes to double negatives 

In standard English, each subject-predicate construction should only have one negative form not two.

Look at this example

  • He’s going nowhere.
  • He’s not going nowhere.
The first example is correct and the second negates the rule we just outlined. 
Here are a few more examples of Double Negatives so we hope you know how to avoid them.
  • Nobody with any sense isn’t going.
  • I can’t find my keys nowhere.
  • She never goes with nobody.
  • John says he has not seen neither Alice or Susan all day.
  • You can’t see no one in this crowd.
  • There aren’t no presents left to open.

We hope you avoid making these kind of mistakes

 

#GrammarSeries – This is the difference between lay and lie

Grammar concept with toy dice

Hello Sparkle Writers, it’s been a while since we did the difference post so why not?

Today we are discussing lay and lie. 

Do you know the difference? We will teach you in the simplest form.

Lay requires a direct object and lie does not. So you lie down on the sofa (no direct object), but you lay the book down on the table (the book is the direct object).

This is in the present tense, where you are talking about doing something now: you lie down on the sofa, and you lay down a book.

Here are a few questions that will help test your knowledge of the subject. 

1. Yesterday, the cat ________ in the sun.

a. Lay

b. Lied

2. Last week, I ______ the towel on the chair.
a. Lay 
b. Laid 
3. That book has ______ on the table for days.
a. Lain 
b. Laid

#GrammarSeries – Learn more about modal auxiliary verbs

Medieval (2)

Hey Sparkle Writers and Grammar enthisiats. How has your grammar game been since our last grammar post? 

Well let’s get to today’s topic. What’s a modal auxiliary verb? Ever heard of it before or does it sound like big grammar to you? 

A modal auxiliary verb that is used to express: ability, possibility, permission or obligation. Modal phrases (or semi-modals) are used to express the same things as modals, but are a combination of auxiliary verbs and the preposition to. The modals and semi-modals in English are:

  1. Can/could/be able to
  2. May/might
  3. Shall/should
  4. Must/have to
  5. Will/would

You must have seen them before. Now let’s tell you what each modal is used for.

Modal Meaning Example
can to express ability He can speak a little Frnch.
can to request permission Can I open the window?
may to express possibility I may be home late.
may to request permission May I drive your car, please?
must to express obligation I must go now.
must to express strong belief She must be over 40 years old.
should to give advice You should change your shoes.
would to request or offer Would you like a bowl of icecream?
would in if-sentences

If you’ve been struggling to understand modal auxiliary verbs we hope this has helped. 

Can calendar be used as a verb?

Grammar concept with toy dice

Sparkle Writers! It’s Tuesday and time for our #GrammarSeries. Who is excited? 

We saw this on Grammar Girl and we knew we just had to talk about it. 

Have you ever imagined calendar as a verb and not just a noun? It will look like this; 

I calendared the wedding dates for the month. 

Do you know our spell check didn’t even see anything wrong with this statement? 

Calendar as a verb goes all the way back to the 1400s, although back then it meant to record something or register it in a list, which makes sense because the word calendar comes from the Latin word calendarium, which means “account book.”

Today, the Merriam-Webster online dictionary has it listed as a verb with an example from the New York Law Journal, and it’s also listed as a verb in dictionary.com and the online American Heritage Dictionary. There isn’t  a dictionary that didn’t include calendar as a verb. 

This is what Grammar Girl had to say. 

“Calendaring things is common in the legal profession and in some business settings, and now it’s seeping into more general use.”