Grammar Tips

Just a quick post with a few grammar tips…


The first one is my number-one pet peeve lol.

1) Never off of. Always just off.


I took my shoes off my feet. (NOT) I took my shoes off of my feet.

The baby took the toy off the table. (NOT) The baby took the toy off of the table.

2) An easy way to remember the difference between bear and bear, as taught to me. Mothers BEAR children, and Strippers BARE their bodies. You can’t BEAR the pain, but you can BARE your soul. Bare means to expose.

3) AM and PM (or am and pm) are preferable in writing because it does not interfere with end of sentence punctuation like a.m. and p.m. do.

4) If you are using mom, dad, grandpa, grandma, etc… in the place of a name, it should be capitalized. If you are just using it generally, it shouldn’t be. Words used in place of a name, except endearments and generalized terms (like punk or man), should be capitalized.


Do you think you could take me there, Grandma?

He took my toy, Mom!

Troy, Mom said you had to clean your room.

My mom is at my grandmother’s.

Hey, punk!

Come here, baby.

I’ll get right to that, Captain.

5) Everyday and every day have two different meanings.

Everyday means normal or ordinary. (This is an everyday affair.)

Every day means it happens every day. (I go to school every day.)

6) All honorific titles are capitalized, including Your Honor, Your Royal Highness, Her Royal Highness, Your Majesty, Your Grace, My Lord, and His Lordship.”

7) Titles before names are capitalized.


I went in search of Nurse Michelle. I waved hello to Officer Robinson. I am not a fan of President Obama.

8) Well-being is always hyphenated.

9) The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed., states that, “items in a series are normally separated by commas. When a conjunction joins the last two elements in a series, a comma—known as the serial or series comma or the Oxford comma—should appear before the conjunction. Chicago strongly recommends this widely practiced usage.” (In easier terms, there should be a comma before the last item in a list. I went to the store to get eggs, bread, and milk.)

10) Just for reference, CMOS recommends using the dictionary (Miriam-Webster) to determine hyphenated words. This is also a good website to check out. CMOS HYPHENATION TABLE

11) Compound adjectives and/or compound modifiers need to be hyphenated when preceding the word it modifies, unless one of the modifiers is an adverb ending in –ly. They don’t if after the noun. There are, of course, other exceptions, but that’s a whole other grammar lesson.


He has shoulder-length hair.

Her hair is shoulder length.

They go to a widely known college.

The girl wore rose-colored glasses.

Her glasses were rose colored.

The black-suited man took my seat.

The man in the black suit took my seat.

The best rule is to see if they could be used alone with the sentence and still make sense and keep the same meaning. If not, hyphenate.

12) Quotes should stay open if the same speaker is speaking in the next paragraph.

     “I went to the store to get some cheese and bread. I am going to make sandwiches for the picnic. We are all going to the park today. It will just be family and friends.

     “Did you pick up those shirts from the dry cleaner that I asked you to? I want to wear the white one today. I think it is just casual enough for the picnic.”

13) There is often confusion over all and all of. As a very general guideline, use all of when the next word is a pronoun (e.g., us, you, it, him, her).


All of us…

All of you…

All of it…

Do not use all of for normal nouns – just use all.


All the soldiers…

All the nurses…

All the food…

14) “A while” is a time, a noun. The article “a” before “while” is a sure sign that you’re dealing with a noun. Notice in the following sentence that you could replace “a while” with another article-noun combination such as “a year”.

It’s been a while since Squiggly tried marmite.

“Awhile” means “for a time,” and it’s an adverb. Notice in the following sentence that you could replace “awhile” with another adverb such as “quietly”.

Go play awhile.

15) When “and” is being used to coordinate two independent clauses, you need a comma. An independent clause—also known as a main clause—is a group of words that has a subject and a verb and can stand alone as a sentence. In the following examples, the independent clauses are in brackets:

[Miguel took piano lessons for sixteen years], and [today he is an accomplished performer].

[I went to the store to get bread], and [I saw my best friend].

[I wanted to go to the beach], but [I had to do my homework].

The use of the comma would also apply when any of the seven coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet) join two independent clauses.

That concludes the grammar lesson for today. I hope this was helpful.  -Cynthia


Posted on November 21, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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