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

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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.

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#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. 

#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 – Let’s talk about reciprocating pronouns

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Hey, Sparkle Writers! Today on grammar series, we will be looking at pronouns. Pronouns are words that take the place of nouns in sentences.

Example: John is in love with his wife (The pronoun ‘his’ replaced the noun ‘John’).

However, our focus will be on a special kind of pronoun: reciprocal pronouns.

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘reciprocal?’ 

Reciprocal is a word used to describe the relationship in which two or more people or groups of people agree to do something similar for each other.

Reciprocal pronoun, on the other hand, is a pronoun that involves an exchange between two or more people. If each of two or more subjects are acting in the same way towards the other, reciprocal pronouns are used.

There are two reciprocal pronouns in English and they are each other and one another. ‘Each other’ is used when two people or two groups are involved in the exchange. ‘One another’ is used when the exchange involves more than two people or groups.

The following examples will clarify the usage of both reciprocal pronouns.

The two maids cleaned each other.

The twin boys made a promise to each other.

The couple sang a song to each other.

The seven dwarfs gossiped with one another until Snow white opened her eyes.

The angels discussed the rebellion of Lucifer with one another.

That’s it on grammar for the week. Till next Tuesday! 

 

 

#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 – Rifle and riffle mean the same thing except for a slight difference

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It is #GrammarSeries on the Sparkle Writer’s Hub blog today and we want to learn about the difference between two words; Rifle and Riffle. 

When you’re riffling, you’re hastily flipping through something or shuffling cards by interlacing them. 

Although the Oxford English Dictionary says the origin of “riffle” is uncertain, one theory is that it’s a blend between “ripple” and “ruffle.”

Here’s an example of how you’d use “riffle”:

As she riffled through the drawer, she found a hidden note.

The wind can also riffle your hair or riffle water to create riffles or ripples.

When you’re rifling, you’re searching frantically or ransacking, usually meaning to steal something. “Rifle” is from the Old French word for “steal or plunder.”  We are sure you’d get the difference now.

Here’s an example of how you’d use “rifle”:

I could tell he had rifled through my drawers.

As a noun, a rifle is also a weapon.  A long gun that you hold up against your shoulder to shoot. 

#GrammarSeries – This is the difference between critique and criticize

 

Although it is not correct,  we have realized that some people substitute the words ‘critique’ and ‘criticize’ in sentences. Today, we’d explain the difference between these two words.

Critique can be used either as a verb or a noun. As a noun, it refers to a detailed evaluation of something.  To request for this formally you’d have to say, something like this;

Give me your critique.

As a verb, critique is the act of evaluating something in a detailed and honest manner. A critique does not necessarily have to be negative. 

To criticise however means to find fault with or to judge negatively.

Let’s see a few examples;

I asked him to critique my script; I was happy with the feedback. 

Mr King criticizes a lot. It’s not wise to speak to him

We hope this explains it.