#GrammarSeries – This is how to use ‘between’ and ‘among’

It is not news that our grammar series has helped clear so many confusions about English language. 

Today we want to clear yet another one.

Many people believe between should be used for choices involving two items and among for choices that involve more than two items. That can get you to the right answer some of the time, but it’s not that simple. 

Here’s the deal – You can use the word between when you are talking about distinct, individual items even if there are more than two of them. For example, you could say, “She chose between Harvard, Babcock, and Bowen university” because they are individual things.

On the other hand, you use among when you are talking about things that aren’t distinct items or individuals. For example, if you were talking about colleges collectively you could say, “She chose among the Ivy League schools in the world.”

If you are talking about a group of people, you also use among:

Look at these examples;

Fear spread among the hostages.

The scandal caused a division among the fans.


#GrammarSeries – All you need to know about non continuous verbs

It is #GrammarSeries on the Sparkle Writer’s Hub blog today and we want to learn about non-continuous verbs. 

Non-continuous verbs are verbs that we do not normally use with continuous tenses. These “stative” verbs are about state, not action, and they cannot express the continuous or progressive aspect. Here are some of the most common non-continuous verbs:

Here are some of the most common non-continuous verbs:

  • Feelinghate, like, love, prefer, want, wish
  • Sensesappear, feel, hear, see, seem, smell, sound, taste
  • Communicationagree, deny, disagree, mean, promise, satisfy, surprise
  • Thinkingbelieve, imagine, know, mean, realize, recognize, remember, understand
  • Other statesbe, belong, concern, depend, involve, matter, need, owe, own, possess

If you’ve been using any of these verbs in the continuous tense you have to stop. 

Look at these examples

I am wanting cake (Wrong)

I want cake (Right)

I am not hearing anything (Wrong)

I can’t hear anything (Right)

Until next week when we bring another series your way, keep your grammar in check. 

#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 – 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 – 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


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.”


#GrammarSeries – Pled or pleaded which is correct?

Grammar concept with toy dice

Welcome to another #GrammarSeries.  If you missed last week’s post you should check it out. 

Today we want to consider what past tense is proper to use for plead. 

Most sources say that the correct past tense is pleaded. Some people even think pled sounds awkward. 

Garner’s Modern American Usage, the AP Stylebook, and the Chicago Manual of Style all say to use pleaded. 

Some people prefer pled, and the AP Stylebook calls it a colloquial past-tense form. Nevertheless, most lawyers use pleaded. For example, in a 2013 ABA Journal post, a senior litigation associate named Brian Boone reported doing a Westlaw search and finding that “the U.S. Supreme court has used pleaded in more than 3,000 opinions and pled in only 26.”

Our Grammar Tip is to stay out of trouble so you never have to make a choice, but if you must, tell people you pleaded innocent or guilty.

As we’ve always told you, keep your grammar in check till the next series. 

Culled from Grammar Girl. 

#GrammarSeries – Ever heard of conditionals?

Grammar concept with toy dice

Ready for today’s #Grammarseries? We are talking about conditionals.

Conditionals are simple. They are used to speculate about what could happen, what might have happened and what we wish would happen.

In English, most sentences using the conditional contain the word if. There are five main ways of constructing conditional sentences in English. Today, we would discuss three and the remaining two next week.

The zero conditional.

The zero conditional is used when the time being referred to is now or always and the situation is real and possible. The zero conditional is often used to refer to general truths. The tense in both parts of the sentence is the simple present. In zero conditional sentences, the word “if” can usually be replaced by the word “when” without changing the meaning.

Let’s look out a few examples

If you hear ice, it melts

If it rains, the ground gets wet

Type 1 conditional

The type 1 conditional is used to refer to the present or future where the situation is real. The type 1 conditional refers to a possible condition and its probable result. In these sentences the if clause is in the simple present, and the main clause is in the simple future.

For example

If you don’t hurry, you will miss the train

Type 2 conditional

The type 2 conditional is used to refer to a time that is now or any time, and a situation that is unreal. These sentences are not based on fact. The type 2 conditional is used to refer to a hypothetical condition and its probable result. In type 2 conditional sentences, the if clause uses the simple past, and the main clause uses the present conditional.

For example

If I spoke Spanish, I would be working in Spain. 

Until next week when we complete the series, remember to always keep your grammar in check.

#GrammarSeries – How much is too much?

This is how to handle criticism like a pro

It’s Tuesday and it’s grammar time on the Sparkle Writer’s Hub.

Instead of focusing on a particular grammar topic, today we want to discuss. When it comes to grammar how much is too much? Must a writer always be grammatically correct? How do you draw the line between correcting somebody’s grammar flaw and being a nag?

Here are our thoughts;

You don’t have to learn all the rules in one day.

We even doubt if that is possible. As a student of grammar you have to be ready to learn something new one day at a time. Why do you think we treat topics in the grammar series in bits on the Sparkle Writer’s Hub? It is so that you can soak in one part of the information properly before we bombard you with another.

Don’t harass people with your new knowledge 

As much it is good to practice whatever new grammar lesson you have learnt so it can stick, don’t make it a habit to harass people, nag them or make fun of them when they make mistakes. Remember that there’s still a lot you don’t know and you won’t want somebody to do the same thing to you.

Keep things simple

The fact that you learnt about the compound complex sentence today does not mean you should use it in your children’s story. Know when and how to apply whatever grammar rule you learn and do so appropriately. Always keep things simple. Remember, the reason for learning all the rules is to communicate properly.


#GrammarSeries – We bet you make this mistake

Grammar concept with toy dice

Welcome to another Grammar class. You’re probably wondering what mistake we are referring to in today’s topic. So let’s go straight to the point.

It is very easy for us to make comparisons whether we are talking or writing. Look at this sentence carefully and see if you can identify anything.

My bag is stronger, bigger and cheaper.

Did you find anything?

What is your bag stronger, bigger or cheaper than? What are you comparing your bag to?

This is a grammatical error and it is called incomplete comparison. When you are comparing something to another make sure your readers know what you are comparing it to.

For example the above sentence would be correct if you say

My bag is stronger, bigger and cheaper than Sola’s bag.

Now you see the difference. We hope you don’t repeat the mistake.