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A Murder, A Bit of Shakespeare, And Some Very Bad Grammar

By: Miss Marm

zara9's protagonist disapproves of your monosyllabic word choices. But in a funny way! —Miss Marm

My friend Shelly was guilty of murder. Not of any person, but worse; she was guilty of murdering the English language. Every time she opened her mouth to speak, you could practically hear the language screech in terror as she ground it into dust under her heel. She had the vocabulary of a bumbling toddler, the accent of an extraterrestrial, and the grammatical abilities of someone who doesn’t know English. To make matters worse, she gushed along at the speed of an express train, eating every second letter. Let’s just say it wasn’t easy talking to her.

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Spot the Grammar Problem

By: Miss Marm

I like finding grammatical errors, because I'm a jerk. I especially like finding them in articles about princesses and Kate Moss's sparkly wedding gown!

After the jump, check out the opening sentences from this NYMag post, and see if you can spot the

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Categories: grammar | weddings

Letter to the Principal

By: Miss Marm

Impeccable grammar makes you look smart, polished, and meticulous—exactly how you want to look when you're begging your principal to save a teacher's job.

A Sparkler asked me to double-check his missive for anything that might weaken his case/make his principal's lip curl in disgust. Grammar champs, look for the numbers in parentheses and see if you can guess the problem I've identified. Answers and suggestions follow the letter.

Is it true that Mr. Smith is getting fired? (1) If so, I would like to point out to you that (2) Mr. Smith is perhaps one of the best teachers I've ever had, and I have had many amazing teachers.

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Where Dreams Are Made...Of...Wait.

By: Miss Marm

Oh, lyrics! They're lovely, they're odd, they're easy to misunderstand, and they're only rarely aware of the rules of grammar.

I love Jay-Z with the fiery passion of a late-summer BBQ. Therefore, I'm going to blame the following grammatical mishap on Alicia Keys. A Sparkler explains the problem:

My mum and I were watching a chart show sort of thing, and Empire State of Mind by Alicia Keys and Jay-Z came on.  In the lyrics she says, "New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of." Is that right? Or should it be a) concrete jungle where dreams are made in or b) concrete jungle what dreams are made of?

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Could[n't] Care Less

By: Miss Marm

It's 101 degrees in New York today. Perhaps a plunge into the icy waters of grammar will cool us down! Here's a great email from sligers118:

This isn't exactly having my grammar corrected in an essay, but I just had a small question I was wondering if you'd maybe like to clarify for me. I'm not sure it even counts as grammar but... it's been niggling at me for a while, and I'd love a definitive answer.

So, I'm English and I'm not usually bothered by differences between English and American colloquialisms, but I've seen this in quite a few books and movies and it just doesn't seem to make sense. I'm talking about the distinction between "couldn't care less" and "could care less." To me, it seems like this:

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Burgers and Ambiguous Pronoun Usage

By: Miss Marm

Why do we care about grammar? Not because we're tight-lipped, red-pen-wielding, fun-policing bananaheads (although we totally are). And not because grammar posts give us a lame excuse to post stock photos of male models (well, kind of because of that).

We care about grammar because when people break the rules, confusion results. Just as good manners are about making other people feel comfortable, good grammar is about making readers feel oriented.

And it's annoying to feel disoriented just when you're trying to crush your friend, as this Sparkler

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A Really Hot Guy Named Clark (And Restrictive Clauses)

By: Miss Marm

In terms of thrills and chills, restrictive commas are right up there with toe lint. To make this post more fun, let's pretend the Clark in question is 6'2", muscly, and brooding.

Josieiz writes:

I have a quick grammar question.
Which one is correct?

My brother Clark went to the store to buy some oranges.

Or...

My brother, Clark, went to the store to buy some oranges.

I am just not sure if you are suppose to separate "Clark" from the sentence by commas or if "brother" is just describing "Clark."
I suppose I am mostly confused because you can take "Clark" out and it still makes sense.
Thanks!

Here's the short answer: both sentences are grammatically

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Musical Grammar Quiz #1

By: Miss Marm

Jealous of the finalists in the musical fiction contest? I understand. They're good writers.

But even good writers struggle with grammar.

Each line below is from a MFC finalist's story, and each contains at least one error. See if you can spot the problems. Answers after the jump!

1. "Don’t think I won’t sell him," She yelled.
2. It's lighter now, the sun has almost come up.
3. Raising my hands up and closing my eyes, I relish the droplets of sustenance that is falling on our skin.
4. “Alright, Grace.  I think it’s time I showed you my garage.”
5. “I can’t take being lonely any longer,” I can hear my voice getting shrill, but I can’t stop.
6. [The driver glared with the kind of irritation] that says 'I'm not having a good day and you aren't helping'.

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As the Suspense Mounts...

By: Miss Marm

The results of the fiction contest are still unknown because I can't make up my mind because I'm letting the tension build. In the meantime, let's pay a visit to the Land of Grammar!

A Sparkler sent me an email with the subject line "hook," the question, "Is this right?" and the sentence, "The people were desperate as they crowded around the opportunity to receive what they needed, consumption in a time of starvation."

I see three wrongs and one

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Categories: grammar | colons | commas | hooks

Happy Grammar Day!

By: Miss Marm

March 4 is Grammar Day, and I'd like to celebrate by thanking my favorite punctuation

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