Grace Lavigne

Loading...
    • Member Type(s): Content Publisher
      Communications Professional
      Media - Print Journalist
      Media - Web-only/Blogger
      Media - Other
    • Title:Associate Web Editor
    • Organization:The Journal of Commerce
    • Area of Expertise:Writing, Editing, Social Media
    •  

    To become a ProfNet premium member and receive requests from reporters looking for expert sources, click here.

    Grammar Hammer: "Goodbye" or "Good Bye"?

    Sunday, October 7, 2012, 10:26 PM [Grammar Hammer]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    According to Merriam-Webster, the title of this post is actually a trick question: the correct way to write this farewell word is “good-bye.”

    I’m sad to say that this will be my final post for Grammar Hammer, since I started a new job last week. Thanks so much to everyone who cared enough about grammar to follow this column and make our world a more articulate and eloquent place. I hope my attempts to liven up a sometimes dry subject helped you learn a little more about our beloved English language.

    After writing this column for almost a year, I feel like I’ve learned so much about language rules and why knowing those rules is important. Here is my main takeaway: grammar is useful to communicate more clearly and/or to seem credible – but that does not mean it’s always necessary, as long as the point trying to be conveyed is understood (and you’re not trying to impress anyone). But sometimes we grammarians can and should let incorrect word usage or mispronunciation slide, depending on the context, just to save face and avoid seeming like killjoys, if nothing else. If Grammar Hammer taught you anything, hopefully it’s that grammar can be fun!

    And on that note, here are my top 10 fun-est Grammar Hammer entries:

    Viva la grammar!

    Grace Lavigne

    ProfNet, a service of PR Newswire, has helped journalists and experts connect since 1992. Writers can search the ProfNet Connect database of more than 50,000 profiles; send a ProfNet query by email to thousands of subscribers around the globe; or get timely experts and story ideas by email.

    Flickr image via Pink Sherbert Photography

    Grammar Hammer: October Is the Month of Beer!

    Friday, September 28, 2012, 8:21 AM [Grammar Hammer]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    "Oktoberfest," despite appearances, is not a month-long celebration of beer in October -- it's actually a 16-day yearly festival held in Munich (Germany) since 1810 that begins at the end of September and ends on Oct. 3, which is German Unity Day (similar to our Fourth of July). It is the largest fair in the world with about 6 million people (!) attending to drink vast, vast quantities of delicious beer or "bier."
     
    In the United States, October is accordingly German-American Heritage Month, and also a time when lots of new hoppy, malty and bitter-y beers are introduced, in preparation for the long, dark days of winter when everyone is in desperate need of a beverage that is both strong in flavor and alcohol content to make us forget about the icy gloom.
     
    But since October is still a month of beer festivities in the U.S., let's review how to abbreivate every month of the year correctly using beer-related examples. Note that the month should only be abbreviated when a date or date and year is specified as well. Months with only the year marked (and no date) should not be abbreviated.

    Month Abbreviations:

    • Jan.
    • Feb.
    • Aug.
    • Sept.
    • Oct.
    • Nov.
    • Dec.

    The general rule of thumb is that if the month is less than five characters long, no abbreviation is necessary. The following months are never abbreviated under any circumstances:

    • March
    • April
    • May
    • June
    • July

    Examples:

    • Oct. 1 kicks off beer month. 
    • October 2012 will be a month to remember (or maybe not remember). 
    • On Oct. 3, 2012, I will eat lots of schweinebraten with sauerkraut.

    Grammar Hammer: AR! A Pirate Argues About Presume vs. Assume

    Friday, September 14, 2012, 11:15 AM [Grammar Hammer]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Via this column, we'll explore one grammar rule each week. If you have a grammar question you'd like me to address, please drop me a line at grace.lavigne@prnewswire.com and I'll do my best to answer it.

    Ahoy thar mateys! Avast ye -- did ye know Sept. 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day? Aye!

    In honor of this very important holiday, this old grammar salt will teach you the difference between presume vs. assume, so that you always look and sound like true buccaneer. Yo ho ho.

    According to Merriam Webster:

    • Assume: to take as granted or true
    • Presume: to expect or assume especially with confidence

    The dictionary tells us that these two words are basically synonymous, except that presume is used more authoritatively than assume. AR! But let's give these definitions some heave ho and consider them in usage. For example:

    • When the lad saw the man with a peg leg and a parrot on his shoulder, he said "I presume you're a pirate."
    • Many pirates assume they will be shark bait someday, which is why they are usually three sheets to the wind.
    • The doctor presumed the sickly looking pirate had scurvy after being on board a ship for over three years with nothing but biscuits to eat.
    • The captain is so sure the white whale exists, he assumes everyone else believes it exists too.

    Batten down the hatches now, because a storm is brewing -- this bucko disagrees with Merriam Webster's landlubber definitions of presume and assume. From the crow's nest, it would appear that assume is really the word that is often said with more confidence, rather than presume (which is the exact opposite of Merriam Webster's definition). Well blow me down!

    Look at this example again:

    • When the lad saw the man with a peg leg and a parrot on his shoulder, he said "I presume you're a pirate."

    In this case, presume suggests that the lad is going out on a limb by assuming the man with a peg leg and a parrot is a pirate -- maybe he's not really a seadog at all. The word presume implies that there is an expectation for clarification or more information that might change the conclusion. Savvy?

    On the other hand, the word assume seems like it is indeed said with confidence, since it doesn't seem like the speaker cares if the conclusion is right or wrong:

    • Many pirates assume they will be shark bait someday, which is why they are usually three sheets to the wind.

    That's why the saying goes "Don't assume -- it makes an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me.'" Because assume comes to a conclusion based on the current information provided regardless.

    What do you think about these two words?

    YARRRR!


    ProfNet, a service of PR Newswire, has helped journalists and experts connect since 1992. Writers can search the ProfNet Connect database of more than 50,000 profiles; send a ProfNet query by email to thousands of subscribers around the globe; or get timely experts and story ideas by email.

     Image via Flickr user mikebaird

    Grammar Hammer: It's vs. Its -- It's Simple!

    Friday, September 7, 2012, 4:38 PM [Grammar Hammer]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Via this column, we'll explore one grammar rule each week. If you have a grammar question you'd like me to address, please drop me a line at grace.lavigne@prnewswire.com and I'll do my best to answer it.

     

    It's September! And for many, that means the dreaded or eagerly anticipated first day of school. DUN DUN DUN! While Mom and Dad shed tears of joy, kids shed tears of sorrow as they shuffle onto the school bus all did up in new shoes and a fresh outfit. School has its pluses and its minuses.

    Whether you're the one going back to school, or maybe just the one pushing kids out the door, make sure you and yours are fully prepared to show off some superior grammar skills by understanding this week's simple but commonly confused lesson:  

    Main Rule: It's means "it is" or "it has." Its indicates possession.

    If you're not sure, try replacing its or it's with "it is" or "it has." If it sounds OK, use an apostrophe. Examples:

    • The school has its recess at noon -- can't wait!
    • The school has it is recess at noon (wrong, no apostrophe)
    • It's the first day of school.
    • It is the first day of school. (right, use apostrophe)

     

    ProfNet, a service of PR Newswire, has helped journalists and experts connect since 1992. Writers can search the ProfNet Connect database of more than 50,000 profiles; send a ProfNet query by email to thousands of subscribers around the globe; or get timely experts and story ideas by email.

    image via Flickr user kevin dooley

    Grammar Hammer: Don't Go Toward/Towards the Light!

    Friday, August 24, 2012, 1:25 PM [Grammar Hammer]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Via this column, we'll explore one grammar rule each week. If you have a grammar question you'd like me to address, please drop me a line at grace.lavigne@prnewswire.com and I'll do my best to answer it.

    It's August, so no matter where you are in the Northern Hemisphere, it's safe to assume you've probably been encountering a lot of creepy crawlers recently.

    Fun fact: It turns out that some flying insects actually move towards a light -- even though it ends up zapping them to death -- because they use the sun and moon to navigate their courses. Insects that are attracted to light include moths, flies, crane flies, mayflies, beetles and more, according to About.com. They don't realize that your porch light is actually leading them toward a buggy death trap!

    This bring us to our short grammar discussion today: When do we use towards vs. toward?

    Main Rule: Toward and towards can be used interchangeably.

    Either word is correct, although North American English speakers tend to prefer toward, while other English speakers (specifically British) tend to prefer towards, according to Grammarist.

    Examples:

    • "No, don't go towards the light!" the caterpillar screamed to the moth. But it was too late.
    • The beetle seemed hypnotized as it moved toward the light bulb, ending with a pop and sizzle.

    Stop the bug annihilation -- turn your lights out!

     

    ProfNet, a service of PR Newswire, has helped journalists and experts connect since 1992. Writers can search the ProfNet Connect database of more than 50,000 profiles; send a ProfNet query by email to thousands of subscribers around the globe; or get timely experts and story ideas by email.

    image via Flickr user sapienssolutions


    Page 1 of 10  •  1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 10 Next