Monthly Archives: August 2016

How to use quotation marks in English Writing?

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Just as tricky English grammar rules are, it is difficult to determine some minor rules which make a major impact on your writing. For instance, even the most seasoned writers, at times get confused with regard to the usage of single or double quotation marks. Since the confusion over the usage of quotation marks continues to linger, here’s a list of some rules that you might consider before concluding whether to use double or single quotation marks.

An important aspect of quotation marks is that they come in pairs, that is, the first set opens a quote and the second, closes it. Thus, it is important not to forget to close the quotes once opened.

He shouted, “Go to your room, now! – Incorrect

He shouted, “Go to your room, now!” – Correct

Quoting someone

When you are quoting someone, meaning, writing the exact words as mentioned by someone else, then use double quotation marks.

For example:

“I’m going to work”, he said.

Mark said, “Should we start the meeting?”

Quoting others

When you are quoting someone else within a quote, in this case both, single as well as double quotation marks are used to separate the two quotations from each other.

For example:

‘I haven’t seen her since ages,’ Brienne said, ‘The last time I had seen her on John’s birthday party she said, “I’m going to the States and won’t be back soon”, ‘I miss her so much’.

Unfamiliar or coined terms

There are times when you may come across single or double quotation marks used to highlight certain unfamiliar or coined words or expressions:

For example:

I found him to be very annoying, a ‘pain in the neck’.

I am doubtful about your inference to “custodial care”, can you please explain it to me?

Quoting titles

When quoting titles of songs, stories, short poems, plays, articles, television programs, etc., double quotation marks are used.

For example:

“As You Like It”, by Shakespeare.

David Attenborough’s “Trials of Life”.

Referring words as words

Quotation marks are also used when referring a particular word as a word or a phrase as that phrase.

For example:

The word “television” is derived from both Greek as well as the Latin language.

TIP TO REMEMBER:

While quotation marks are important, it should also be remembered to avoid using unnecessary quotation marks. Irrelevant usage of quotation marks gives an impression of incorrect grammar and amateurish writing. There are several times when quotation marks are used by writers to give emphasis on particular words. For example:

Most people know that diet and exercise are important to lose weight yet they don’t do what they “already know”.

This should be avoided as it is a sign of poor English writing.

To conclude

Usage of quotation marks should be made only when required and not otherwise. Too many quotation marks, be it single or double, ruins the tone of the writing.

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What is the basic Difference between formal and informal writing?

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More than often we use different writing styles while writing official emails and letters to friends. These two basic different styles are termed as formal and informal styles of writing, respectively.

Example 1: This is to inform you that your application for the job has been approved and you are hereby requested to be present tomorrow at 11.30 a.m. for a personal round of interview at our office.

Example 2: Hey, guess what I have been called for a personal round of interview tomorrow. I am so happy. Wish me luck to perform well tomorrow.

The difference between the above two written communications is obvious – the first one being formal one and the second, the informal one. So, what are basic differences between formal and informal writing?

Well, it the style and the tonality of the language used by the writer. And ideally, the writer should first analyze the situation, the context, and the recipient and accordingly determine the tone, vocabulary, and the style to be used before finally concluding to write.

Here’s a list of basic differences between formal and informal writing:

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  1. Colloquial words

Colloquial words and expressions are usually avoided in formal writings.

Informal writing is as good as spoken conversation. Thus, it may include a number of colloquial words and phrases, slang language, etc. Informal writing uses a personal tone to relate directly to the reader.

  1. Usage of person

Personal style of writing is avoided in formal writing. Except for business letters, formal writing is usually in third person. In formal writing, the writer is disconnected from the subject matter and hence does use the point of view of the first person i.e. I, we or second person i.e. you.

Whereas, informal writing is everything, first, second, or third person is taken into consideration depending upon the context.

  1. Abbreviated words

It is advisable to use full-words and avoid using abbreviated words in formal writing. Words like photograph, television, etc. are used in full in formal writing.

Informal writing is full of short forms and abbreviations. The Photograph becomes photo, television becomes TV, etc.

  1. Active voice and passive voice

Passive voice is used for formal writing.

On the other hand, active voice is used in informal writing.

  1. Sentence formation

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Longer sentences are used in formal writing. The information should be as detailed and as elaborated as possible in formal style of writing. Every point should have an introduction, elaboration, and conclusion.

Informal writing is made up of much shorter sentences. Information shared is brief and in an informal tone.

While these are the basic differences between the two, it must be noted that none of them is incorrect. It is simply situational in nature. Formal writing is required in academic, business or official communications, and informal is preferred for communication with friends, family and close ones. The choice between the two should be made after considering who you are writing to and why you are writing.

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How to Remove Common comma errors?

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English grammar being tricky as always, most people misuse the use of comma in most sentences. The rules are avoided and a comma is placed as per the whims and fancies of the writer. Yes, grammar has rules for using even the simplest ‘comma’ in a sentence. Also known as ‘comma fault’, ‘comma error’ or ‘comma splice’, below are some tips to remove common comma errors.

  1. Using a comma after an introductory clause. For instance –
  • Frankly, his judgment was misleading.
  • Though I pointed out many changes, his draft remained unchanged.
  1. Using a comma when two independent clauses are joined with a conjunction viz. for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. For instance –
  • I lost my diary, but my sister found it in her bag.
  • She lost her job, so she has to cancel her world tour.
  1. Using a comma to separate elements in a series. For instance –
  • They ate pasta, chicken, cheese, sandwich and salmon.
  • In her last year, she took history, economics, maths and literature.
  1. Using a comma between two adjectives when these adjectives are interchangeable.
  • He is a strong, lean man.
  • The poor girl lives in a very small, ruined house.

A trick to remember this rule is if it is possible to add ‘and’ or ‘but’ between the adjectives, it calls for a comma. Thus, it can be ‘He is a strong and lean man’ and hence the comma.

  1. Using a comma to set off nonessential information. A nonessential word, phrase or clause is one which can be deleted from the sentence without changing the meaning of it. For instance –
  • Mariam Lobo, wife of Sam Lobo, is planning to launch a book.
  • My best friend, Alex, has won the match.

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NounPlus spell checker – Easily Check Your Writing!

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There is no doubt that English has emerged as the international language. Be it reading, writing or speaking, the use of the English language is high in demand. Those who are not native English speakers have to face a number of problems when it comes to the learning English. However, English cannot be learned within a short span of time, but it does not mean that it is very tough to learn. The constant practice makes possible to learn this language in an accurate way.

Since we are living in a technological world, where everything revolves around the new age technology. We have become dependent on various Apps and Software to make our life easier or to lift up the standard. In this connection, there are a number of beginners who always look for a free online spell checker tool where they can get the correct copy of their text. We help you in this term to get a grammatical error free copy of the text.

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What are the basic rules for using “Who” and “Whom” correctly?

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A simple question which can confuse even those who think they have mastered all the grammar rules of the English language. While at times it comes across as obvious whether to use who or whom but one may even come across situations wherein it is extremely difficult to gauge the difference between the two.

Here’s the basic rule of thumb that might clear the difficulty of using the correct word.

Who: The word “who” refers to the subject of a clause or the person who is doing an action

For e.g. – Who made the cake? Who is on the door?

Whom: The word “whom” refers to the object of a clause that is whom is used to enquire about the person receiving the action.

For e.g. – Whom are you planning to call? Whom did he love the most?

Well, this rule might sound easy to understand, but equally difficult to implement. If you want to fix this problem permanently, here’s a little simple trick to remember:

You should simple convert the sentence with a personal pronoun and if it is a question, you should try to answer that question in one word. Now, if the personal pronoun or the answer to the question is he or she then “who” is correct. And if it is him or her, then use “whom”.

For e.g. – Who is on the door? “He

For e.g. – Whom are you planning to call? “Him

And lastly, the trick to remember the trick. Whom ends with “m” and so does him. So, if the answer to the above trick is him then you know you have to use whom (both ending with “m”).

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You can also take the help of this grammar checker https://www.nounplus.net/grammarcheck/ to rectify your grammar.