Triangle Grammar Guide

Longtime N&O journalist Pam Nelson writes about language use and misuse and answers questions about grammar and style. Readers can weigh in on what annoys them, too. Think of this as your online grammar class. Send e-mail to Pam at pam.nelson@newsobserver.com.

Choose a blog

A head that causes head-scratching

A headline in the Sunday (March 28, 2010) Parade stopped me this morning.

Subject-verb agreement: The clause counts

A reader found fault with this sentence from a front-page story Sunday: 

The number of households in the state that depend on food stamps has increased 45 percent over the last two years. 

She thought the writer and editors had made an error in subject-verb agreement.

 

What does "soup to nuts" mean?

An editor asked about "soup to nuts," which appeared in this story. It means from beginning to end or the whole shebang, of course, but then we wondered where the phrase comes from. 

Defending a perfectly good word

An online reader comment on a headline prompts this post in defense of a word.

Grammar Guide quiz No. 45: Word choice

grammar-quizicon

Today's quiz is about word choice. Choose the better word in these five sentences. You might find a couple of sentences tricky. I hope you find the quiz enjoyable and educational. After all, that's the point.

Click here or on the question mark icon to begin. 

 

National Grammar Day is coming! Take a quiz

Why "an historic" is wrong

I ran across a story that used "an historic." This post is about why the article should be "a," not "an."

The Grammar Guide Quiz returns! And it's supersized!

A new 10-question Grammar Guide Quiz is up.

Word of the year lists

I  am a fan of word of the year lists. They give us insight into our times. They also give us grist for the blog mill. 

Word watch: Dilemma

A colleague pointed out some loose usage in this passage:

Your house may soon be overrun by holiday weekend houseguests. As the host, you'll have a dilemma: what to feed them.

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