#GrammarSeries – More grammar myths you need to discard!

Medieval (1)

Last week, we started a series on Grammar Myths you need to discard and you need to check it out if you missed it. We are continuing this series with more myths every writer definitely needs to discard. Let us know which one you have held on to for so long

Myth 4

“I.e.” and “e.g.” mean the same thing. Wrong! “E.g.” means “for example,” and “i.e.” means roughly “in other words.” You use “e.g.” to provide a list of incomplete examples, and you use “i.e.” to provide a complete clarifying list or statement.

Wondering how to remember the difference between these two words? From now on, i.e., which starts with i, means “in other words,” and e.g., which starts with e, means “for example.” I = in other words. E= example.

Myth 5

You use “a” before words that start with consonants and “an” before words that start with vowels. Wrong! You use “a” before words that start with consonant sounds and “an” before words that start with vowel sounds. So, you’d write that someone has “an MBA” instead of “a MBA,” because even though “MBA” starts with M, which is a consonant, it starts with the sound of the vowel E.

Myth 6

You shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition. Wrong! You shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition when the sentence would mean the same thing if you left off the preposition. That means “Where are you at?” is wrong (or at least annoying) because “Where are you?” means the same thing. But there are many sentences where the final preposition is part of a phrasal verb or is necessary to keep from making stuffy, stilted sentences: “I’m going to throw up,” “What are you waiting for” are just a few examples.


#GrammarSeries – What’s the big deal with grammar?



What’s all these grammar talk we read every Tuesday on The Sparkle Writer’s Hub? What’s the big deal? Grammar is actually pretty important and if you’ve ever wondered why we keep insisting that you follow the Grammar series on Tuesday, this will convince you. 

Imagine if we all just talked and nobody understood the next person because each person decided to go with his or her own grammar rules? What will happen to the world? Definitely a lot of chaos. 

The reason that the rules of grammar exist is to give all speakers of the same language a playbook to make sure that they understand each other.

If you decided one day to stop pluralizing anything and just use the singular form for everything, that’s great for your personal journaling or expression. Most other English speakers will need some guidance if they have to read and understand what you wrote. 

Some might argue that rules are made to be broken. In the case of writing, bending some of the rules can be a form of expression. However, rules should not be broken for the sake of breaking them. You’re not going to keep the attention of an audience if they have to struggle to make sense of what you’ve written.

#GrammarSeries – 20 Ways to Avoid Using The Word ‘Very’

Hello Sparkle Writers! Welcome to another Grammar Series on The Sparkle Writer’s Hub. Today, we want to teach you how to avoid using the word ‘very’ when you write. 

‘Very’ is not a bad word. The problem is that when you use it too much, your creative muscles become lazy. Instead of saying, “I am freezing,” you opt for “I am very cold.” As writers your choice of words matters. ‘Freezing’ evokes more emotion than ‘very cold’.

To help you avoid using the word ‘very’ too often, we have a list of alternatives that you will find useful. 

1.  Very Afraid – Terrified, Frightened.

2. Very Bad – Inadequate, Atrocious.

3. Very Beautiful – Alluring, Exquisite.

4. Very Clever – Intelligent, Brilliant. 

5. Very Happy – Excited, Elated. 

6. Very Worried – Anxious, Distressed. 

7. Very Strong – Powerful, Sturdy.

8. Very Rude – Impolite, Cheeky. 

9. Very Fast – Quick, Swift.

10. Very Slow – Lengthy, Time-Consuming. 

11. Very Thin – Slim, Lean. 

12. Very Quiet – Silent. Tranquil.

13. Very Serious – Solemn, Significant. 

14. Very Neat – Orderly, Immaculate. 

15. Very Tired – Exhausted, Drained. 

16. Very Stressed – Pressurized, Burdened. 

17. Very delicious – Mouth-watering, Appetizing. 

18. Very Risky – Dangerous, Perilous. 

19. Very Big – Spacious, Roomy.

20. Very Important – Critical, Paramount. 

#GrammarSeries – 10 Ways to Improve Your Writing Instantly

Hello Sparkle Writers! Welcome to another Grammar Series. We hope you’ve been learning from our previous posts. Today we want to share 10 ways you can improve your writing instantly. These are little changes you can make to your use of grammar that will make a big difference in the quality of your writing. Are you ready?

1. Prepositions (after, towards, against etc) are not words to end sentences with. Try to use them either at the beginning or in the middle of your sentences. 

2. Avoid cliches like a plague. Why write, “As busy as a bee” when this expression has been overused. Be more creative. 

3. Do not use more words than necessary. It’s superfluous and actually takes away from the true meaning that you intended your words to have. 

4. Avoid profanity as much as you can. Use it sparingly and only when necessary. 

5. The passive voice should ideally be avoided. We’ve discussed this on the blog before. 

6. Depending on the nature of what you are writing, avoid colloquialisms if possible. 

7. Let your use of alliterations be limited. Alliteration is the repetition of the same sound or letter at the beginning of each or most of the words in a sentence. For example, ” Anxious ants avoid the anteater’s advances.” Imagine how your work will be if it is filled with a lot of this. 

8. Do not abbreviate. Try as much as possible to use the full meaning. If it is something you will use several times, then you can abbreviate from the second use. 

9. Be mindful of how you use contractions (don’t, won’t, can’t). Do not over do it. 

10. When in doubt about a word, phrase or grammatical expression, rephrase your sentence to avoid using that word. Better to be safe than sorry 

See you next week! 

#GrammarSeries- Learn about the active and passive voice

It’s time to improve your grammar Sparkle Writers. Are you ready?

Today we are learning about the differences between the active and passive voice.

The active voice is a form of writing or speech in which the subject is performing the action and can take a direct object. The passive voice, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. In this case, the subject undergoes the action of the verb, as opposed to performing the said action.

Now to the bone of contention; ‘Which is most appropriate to use as a writer?’

The answer is…the Active Voice.

We’re sure you are wondering why? We’d give you three reasons;

  1. It makes your write-up clear for your readers.
  2. It utilizes fewer words than passive voice i.e. it prevents wordiness.
  3. The passive voice can cloud the meaning of your sentence.

Here are some examples;

  • She bought the shoes. (Active)
  • The shoes were bought by her. (Passive)

Can you see the difference? A couple of sentences in the passive voice wouldn’t really hurt, but make sure there are only a couple in your articles.

Till next class, keep your grammar in check. 

#GrammarSeries – 10 common phrases that need to be retired

Hello Sparkle Writers! It’s another #GrammarSeries.

Are you ready to learn something new? Well, it is not something new per se. We want to teach you how to add a bit of variety to your writing by replacing some commonly used phrases that have now become boring. 

Here are 10 of such phrases and what you can use to replace them. 

According to. 

You can use the following to replace ‘According to’;

  • In line with 
  • In keeping with
  • As reported in/by
  • As said/ stated in/by
  • On the word of
  • In consonance with

As you can see.

This phrase is just too common. Try replacing it with any of the following;

  • Obviously
  • Evidently
  • Therefore
  • As shown
  • As demonstrated
  • It is easy to see

For example.

This phrase has been programmed into our minds since primary school. Here are other phrases to use in it’s place;

  • Such as
  • For instance
  • In a similar case
  • To illustrate
  • Especially 
  • In addition to
  • Namely 
  • This includes

I don’t like it. 

If you don’t like something, you can say this;

  • That’s not for it
  • I’m not into it
  • I dislike it
  • I’m not fond of it
  • I’m not a big fan of it
  • I don’t appreciate that 

In conclusion.

You’ve said this many times right? Here are some suitable alternatives;

  • In summary
  • All in all
  • To sum up
  • In closing
  • Overall, it may be said
  • All things considered

On the other hand.

This is what you can use instead of ‘On the other hand’;

  • Otherwise
  • However
  • In any case
  • Alternatively 
  • That being said
  • Nonetheless
  • Having said that
  • In contrast 

I don’t know. 

This is the easiest thing to say when you don’t know something but we have some other phrases for you;

  • I don’t have a clue
  • I’m not sure
  • I have no idea
  • I’m unsure
  • Search me

We hope you’ll use some of these phrases 🙂 

#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 – 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 – 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. 

The difference between enormity and enormousness


We are almost sure you have made this mistake over and over and again but not to worry, that’s why we are here.

You probably think the words in today’s topic are interchangeable but in actual fact, they are not.

Enormity and enormousness mean two different things and we’d tell you what.

Enormity is originally used to describe something that is overwhelmingly horrible. While enormousness is used to describe something huge. However enormity is now used in place of enormousness which is not right.

It usually confuses people in sentences when it could mean either of the two.

Look at this example

The enormity of the landslide daunted the clean-up crew.

Due to confusion with enormous, the word enormity is widely used as a synonym for immensity, but many people consider this use incorrect.

Strictly speaking, enormity refers to the dreadfulness or atrociousness of something bad, and as such should only be used in a negative context – so you can discuss “the enormity of a person’s crime”, but not “the enormity of the crowd at a music festival” (unless it’s a pretty unpleasant crowd).

Do you understand the difference now?