#GrammarSeries – When to use ‘due to’ and ‘because’

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Hello Grammar lovers! We are here to share something new with you. We hope you are just as interested as we are. 

Today we are talking about the correct way to use ‘due to’ and ‘because’ in a sentence. 

There’s a traditional way and a rebel way. The traditional view is that you should use “due to” only as an adjective, usually following the verb “to be”

Look at this example, if you say, “The cancellation was due to rain,” the words “due to” modify “cancellation.

That sentence is a bit stilted, but it fits the traditionalist rule.

If you wanted to be more casual, you could say, “It was canceled because of rain.” You are however not allowed to say, “It was canceled due to rain” because “due to” doesn’t have anything to modify. It’s acting like a preposition in that sentence, and purists argue that “due to” is an adjective; it shouldn’t be a compound preposition.

We hope this explains it properly. Until next time remember to keep your grammar in check. 

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#GrammarSeries: Commas and Quotations – The do’s and don’ts

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Most of us use commas to introduce quotations which is not wrong. This is because, in most types of dialogue, the quoted material stands apart from the surrounding text. In grammatical terms, it’s “syntactically independent.” 

You can use commas when a quotation is interrupted by a phrase like, “he said” or “she said.” In fact, you use two commas. For example;

“What the king dreams,” [Ned] said, “the Hand builds.”

“Bran,” [Jon] said, “I’m sorry I didn’t come before.”

In certain cases, you can skip the comma when introducing a quotation. 

First, skip the comma if the quotation is introduced by a conjunction like “that,” “whether,” or “if.” Following that guidance, you might write sentences like this:

My sister is constantly reminding people that “winter is coming.” 

Mr Chris  wonders whether “we’ve grown so used to horror we assume there’s no other way.”

My teacher said that “a mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.” 

Second, ask yourself whether the quotation blends into the rest of the sentence—or, speaking grammatically, if it’s a syntactical part of the surrounding sentence. If the quotation blends in, the comma comes out. 

Here are two examples:

It was the third time he had called her “boy.” “I’m a girl,” Arya objected.

Fat Tom used to call her “Sara Underfoot” because he said that was where she always was.

 

 

#GrammarSeries- The difference between Breath and Breathe

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Do you know that there is a marked difference between the word Breath and Breathe? It is really simple. 

Breath is a noun. It is the air taken into the lungs and then let out.

Example: The instructor in my class kept on saying, “Take a deep breath” until the end of the session.

On the other hand, ‘Breathe’ is a verb. It is the act of inhaling and exhaling.

Example: “Stop hyperventilating and just breathe,” she said.

See you next week! 

 

 

#Grammar Series – The purpose of an ellipsis

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Hey Sparkle Writers, it is all about the Ellipsis on today’s #GrammarSeries. 

An ellipsis is a punctuation mark. It is a set of three periods (…) indicating an omission.

Ellipsis are to be used under specific circumstances. They are not to be overused or abused. This is because they have specific functions that they perform in any piece of writing. Today, we are going to be looking at the function of the ellipsis in informal writing.

The ellipsis can be used to represent a trailing off of a thought.

Example:

If only she had…oh, it does not matter anymore.

The ellipsis can also be used to indicate hesitation in speech as well as in writing.

Example:

He was about saying…never mind. He was just not interested in the movie.

Please note that these examples are for informal writing. 

See you next week.

#Grammar Series – The real purpose of commas

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It is Tuesday and grammar time on the Sparkle Writer’s Hub. We are talking about commas. 

Commas are not supposed to be used haphazardly in sentences. There are rules guiding the usage of commas in writing. The whole idea behind rules is to prevent lawlessness and disorder in a society. Quite frankly, the wrong use of commas is equivalent to incoherence in your writing, and incoherence. Look at the following example and see the importance of commas;

Let’s eat Grandpa

and

Let’s eat, Grandpa

Now you see that commas can change the entire meaning of a sentence. They are that important and we are going to be looking at the rules guiding the use of commas. These rules will, in turn, unveil the real purpose for commas in writing.

1. Use commas between items in a series because they clarify which items are part of the series

Example: I bought a pair of shoes, socks, a bottle of wine, and butter at the super market yesterday.

2. Use commas in form of coordinating conjunctions (such as and or but) that joins two independent clauses together

Example: I went for a walk in the garden, and I was greeted by the sting of a bee.

In the above example, the sentences or clauses, “I went for a walk in the garden” and I was greeted by the sting of a bee can stand or make complete meaning on their own. Therefore, it is appropriate to place a comma before the conjunction “and” joining them together.

3. Use commas to separate direct quotations from the rest of the sentence.

Example: The lecturer says, “I would be your supervisor for the rest of the semester.”

4. Use commas after a parenthesis and not before one.

Example: After the police found Mabel (my sister’s daughter), the fear that held me bound disappeared.

4. Do not use commas with a question mark and an exclamation point that ends a quotation.

Example: “Where is my flower vase?,” I asked in panic.

In the above example, the comma is wrongly positioned. The right sentence should be rendered as, “Where is my flower vase?” I asked in panic.

Example: “Oh my God!,” Rose exclaimed.

The above example would be right if the comma after the exclamation mark was deleted from the entire sentence structure.

 

#GrammarSeries – This is what you should know about commonly confused homonyms

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Hey Sparkle Writers, we hope you are ready to improve your grammar knowledge. Today, we are going to look at homonyms.

Homonyms are words that sound alike and this is the exact reason they cause grammar troubles whenever writers use them incorrectly.

We are going to look at three pairs of words that sound alike but really mean different things. You will learn how to distinguish these homonyms so you can stop losing at their sound-alike games.

Weather: The noun “weather” refers to the atmosphere.

Example: She worried that the weather would not clear up in time for the birthday celebration.

Whether: This is a conjunction referring to a choice between alternatives.

Example: I don’t know whether to travel now or next week.

 

Complement: This means “to go well with.”

Example: I consider tomato sauce the perfect complement to fried chicken.

Compliment: This means an expression of praise, congratulation, encouragement or respect.

Example: I received many compliments on my thesis.

 

Elicit: This means to draw out or obtain information from someone or something.

Example: Elsa was unable to elicit information from Olaf, the snowman.    

Illicit: The adjective “illicit” means unlawful or illegal.

Example: Child trafficking is an illicit venture.

See you next week. Remember to keep your grammar in check! 

#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

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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

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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