The Grammar Nerd

Helping you to get it right.

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Bad message from advertiser…

I received a solicitation in the mail from an advertiser with the following large headline: GUESS WHAT?

This is one of my pet peeves. That question mark doesn’t belong there. It is a command, not a question. Often we see question marks with phrases that are statements or commands and include words such as “wonder” “questioned” “thought” and others. For help with the different types of sentences and when to use and not use question marks, check out this article that I wrote:
http://thegrammarnerd.com/page/5

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Join me March 9 for some grammar brush-up...

ads not by this site

The top two characteristics singles looking to date want in their potential partners are good teeth and good grammar. This surprising information was recently revealed in an online survey by Match.com, which asked both men and women to rate what traits they were looking for in the opposite sex.

Singles, and anyone else looking to improve their grammar skills, are invited to attend “Quick Fixes for Everyday Grammar Blunders and Business Writing Etiquette” from 1-2:30 p.m. March 9 at the Peters Township Public Library.

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The top two characteristics singles looking to date want in their potential partners are good teeth and good grammar.

Press Release

McMurray, PA –— February 14, 2013 – The top two characteristics singles looking to date want in their potential partners are good teeth and good grammar. This surprising information was recently revealed in an online survey by Match.com, which asked both men and women to rate what traits they were looking for in the opposite sex. *

Singles, and anyone else looking to improve their grammar skills, are invited to attend “Quick Fixes for Everyday Grammar Blunders and Business Writing Etiquette” on Saturday, March 9 from 1:00- 2:30 p.m. at the Peters Township Public Library.

The program will be offered by Sydnee Bagovich, The Grammar Nerd, whoseintense interest in grammar began in her grade school years. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Robert Morris University and a MBA from the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh.

Bagovich says, “Like it or not … fair or unfair … we are judged every day by how we communicate through our writing and speaking. Be aware of the message behind your message and learn how to be confident in writing and speaking with certain essential lessons.”

Register to attend by emailing programs@ptlibrary.org or call 724-941-9430. There is a $5 fee for this program which must be paid the day of the event. Plan to arrive at 12:45 p.m. so that your registration fee can be processed prior to the start of the program.

*The online survey of 5,481 people was done by MarketTools Inc. for the Dallas-based dating website Match.com.

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Nowhere is sacred as I again find an example of a misunderstood possessive. Rule: first make it plural, then add the possession: ladies’ room.

Nowhere is sacred as I again find an example of a misunderstood possessive. Rule: first make it plural, then add the possession: ladies’ room.

Filed under plural possessive

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Question of compound possessives

Today I received this question via email:
If you are trying to explain that someone sits in a certain location, outside the offices of Bill and Sarah, how would you type that if you’re trying to describe it as Jennifer sits outside  ________ and ______________ offices?

My response:
Your question is a good one! That always makes me stop and think as well. Usually, as a good little nerd would do, I try to rephrase so that I don’t have to attack that issue! Failing in that, and since you want to know how to handle this, here is what I would say:

When the noun is shared, there is a shared apostrophe, so if the office is shared by both Bill and Sarah, then Jennifer sits outside Bill and Sarah’s office. If, however, there are two offices, Jennifer sits outside Bill’s and Sarah’s offices. In that example, you also notice that one office = one apostrophe s. Two offices = two apostrophe s.

Filed under compound possessive

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The apostrophe is so misunderstood! That is why most of my presentations start with a review of when to use them.
"Teens" is a simple plural. No apostrophe necessary!

The apostrophe is so misunderstood! That is why most of my presentations start with a review of when to use them.

"Teens" is a simple plural. No apostrophe necessary!

Filed under apostrophe plural

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More…Most…

Today I heard a news reporter mention something that he referred to as the “most unlikeliest of events”.

Simple lesson: use either “most” OR the -est form of the adjective (superlative). Same goes for the comparative: either use “more” or the -er form; not both.

So, pretty, prettier, prettiest. Simple rule of thumb: once the adjective gets to three syllables, use more and most. So, beautiful, more beautiful, or most beautiful.

Getting back to that guy from this morning, his comments should have been “most unlikely of events.”

Happy comparing!

Filed under more most comparative superlative

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Saw this headline recently:

"How a Joke on Facebook Lead to One Man Being the Focus of a City’s Anger".

Completely understandable why these get mixed up! Here’s the review:

Lead, verb - present tense, pronounced LEED
Led, verb - past tense, pronounced LED
Lead, noun - the stuff in pencils, pronounced LED

Filed under led lead