#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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#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 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. 

 

 

#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 – How you should never use a comma

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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: Let’s talk about double comparisons

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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 – Learn more about modal auxiliary verbs

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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. 

#GrammarSeries – The difference between anyway, any way and anyways

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Our #GrammarSeries is getting more interesting. Thank you for your comments, likes and shares.

Today’s post will help answer a question you may have had for such a long time. You can thank us when you are done reading.

You have seen people use anyway and anyways. You probably have wondered what the difference is and did not get any favorable reply. This is the answer you have been searching for.

Anyway is an adverb that means nonetheless” or “regardless”.

Here’s an example.

I didn’t see your text message. Anyway call me later. 

Anyways has the same meaning with anyway but is considered an informal word. So when you are tempted to say anyways, ditch that and just use anyway.

Any way on the other hand is quite different. Please note  that there are two separate words.

Any way can be replaced by “in any manner” or by “by any means”:

Look at this example.

 To get my children to eat healthy, I usually bribe them in any way I can. 

 Now you can thank us 🙂

#GrammarSeries – What’s the big deal about Gerunds?

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Hello Grammar lovers! On today’s #GrammarSeries we are talking about Gerunds.

Although the term might sound foreign, the gerund is a common part of speech that most of us use every day, whether we know it or not.

Today’s post will help you identify what you have been using before or what you have been struggling to recognize.

All gerunds end in ‘ing’, but this doesn’t make them so easy to identify. Why? All present participles also end in ‘ing’.

So what’s the difference?

Gerunds function as nouns.  They can be subjects, objects, subject complements etc.

Present participles, on the other hand, complete progressive verbs or act as modifiers.

Here are two examples to help you understand them better.

  • My father’s first love is singing.

Singing is acting as the subject complement of the verb ‘is’.

  • Acting comes naturally to me.

Acting is the subject in this sentence.

Gerunds can be made negative by adding “not.”

Look at this example

  • The best thing for your health is not smoking.

Now that you know, we hope you can teach someone else or just share this post with them.