#GrammarSeries – Do you say a myriad of or just myriad?

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There are a few words we still need to learn to use properly. These words are what cause arguments among grammarians and writers.

For example, is it correct to say, “The forest contains myriad species” or “The forest contains a myriad of species.” The argument is usually that myraid is an adjective equivalent to a number and since you cannot say “there are a ten thousand of species,”  you shouldn’t say, “There are a myriad of species.”

Would you be surprised if we told you that most language experts believe both ways are fine?  

Myriad was actually used as a noun in English long before it was used as an adjective, and today it’s considered both a noun and an adjective, which means it can be used with an ‘a’ before it (as a noun) or without an ‘a’ before it (as an adjective).

 

 

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#GrammarSeries – Here’s how to improve your grammar

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Learning to write good English can be a slow process. Every time you think you have written a word-perfect piece, someone points out a mistake or mistakes you just didn’t see anything wrong with. 

Not anymore, here are a few ways to improve your grammar. 

Read as much as you can

In today’s world, many people prefer reading blogs, posts on social media and chats to good books. If you want to write better, read newspapers, magazines, reports and materials in your niche area. This will give you a better understanding of grammar and how not to write. 

Avoid those slangs

We know you want to look and sound cool but those slangs will not help your written or spoken English. Be careful not to allow slangs to creep into your written work. Words such as ‘innit’ and ‘dunno’ are not considered proper English grammar, and should not find their way into formal written communications.

Find a personal/ online tutor

If your written English is pretty bad, you may need to employ the services of a teacher to help you brush up your skills or learn online. Learn about sentence structure, punctuation, proper spelling and much more.  

For online assistance you can check SpellCheckOnline.com ,  WordReference.com  or OxfordDictionaries.com 

#GrammarSeries – Apostrophes and Possessive Nouns

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Let’s admit it, the rules about forming possessives probably cause the most apostrophe confusion. They vary a little bit, depending on what type of noun you are making into a possessive.

Here are the rules with basic examples from Grammarly.

Rule 1 – For most singular nouns, add apostrophe+s:

The dog’s leash
The writer’s desk
The planet’s atmosphere

Rule 2 – For most plural nouns, add only an apostrophe:

The dogs’ leashes (multiple dogs)
The writers’ desks (multiple writers)
The planets’atmospheres (multiple planets)

Rule 3 – For plural nouns that do not end in s, add apostrophe+s:

The children’s toys
The geese’s migration route

We know that style guides vary in their recommendations of what to do when you have a singular proper noun that ends in s. Some recommend adding only an apostrophe.

Here’s an example

Charles Dickens’ novels 
Kansas’ main airport

Others say to add apostrophe+s:

Charles Dickens’s novels 
Kansas’s main airport

No matter which style guide you use, add only the apostrophe to plural proper nouns that end in s:

The Harrises’ house
The Smiths’ vacation

P.S – Use whichever style matches the style guide you use for your writing. If you don’t have a style guide, it’s OK to just pick one of the methods, as long as you don’t switch back and forth within the same document.

#GrammarSeries – Three things you should stop doing when you write

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Nobody is perfect and when it comes to grammar, many of us make a few costly mistakes.

Here are three things you may be doing wrong. 

Excessively using fancy words

Fancy words are fun. We agree and they have a way of making us feel smart but that’s not a good enough reason to bombard your article with heavy words. Your writing will be clearer and more powerful if you use them sparingly. After all, you can.

Excessive Punctuation

Sure: sometimes a colon, semicolon, or other fancy punctuation—dashes, for example—can help you get a point across; it’s elegant and convincing.

But often, shorter sentences are better. If your writing feels weighed down by long sentences crammed with lots of punctuation, try taking out some of the extras in favour of sentences that are short and sweet.

Too many negatives

If you’re finding lots of instances of “shouldn’t,” “can’t,” “don’t,” and other variations of “not” in your writing, try to diversify by picking a verb that doesn’t require the word “not.”

 

#GrammarSeries – Learn the difference between compliment and complement

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Time to up your grammar game Sparkle Writers! Today we are learning the difference between compliment and complement because there is a difference!  

Funny enough, these almost similar words get some writers confused when they write too. Fortunately, we are here to help you the best way we can.

What exactly is the difference between ‘compliment’ and ‘complement’? It is simple.

Apart from the obvious ‘i’ and ‘e’ difference between both words, ‘compliment’ means to express praise or admiration for someone or an expression of praise while ‘complement’ means to enhance or complete something else. Pretty easy! Let’s see some examples. 

COMPLEMENT

Black complements white in this painting.

It is often said that the woman complements the man in most marriages.

COMPLIMENT

She falls in love with every guy that compliments her beauty.

Most women do not know how to compliment their husband’s strengths.

Now you know the difference. See you next time for another exciting grammar experience.

 

 

#GrammarSeries – There is no such thing as ‘comprises of’

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Hi there! It’s time to learn improve on your grammar!

So many people keep saying ‘comprises of’ and we need you to know this isn’t totally correct. We are going to show you how the word ‘comprise’ should be used in sentences.

Most times, we hear people use the phrase ‘comprises of.’ That phrase just doesn’t exist in English. The word ‘comprise’ in itself means ‘composed of’ or ‘consists of.’ Therefore, it is redundant to say ‘comprises of’ in constructing your sentences. Below is an example of what we are trying to illustrate.

Nigeria comprises of 36 states (wrong).

Nigeria comprises 36 states (correct).

Yeah, we understand that it is tempting to think that the first one is correct because it sounds correct. Do not fall for the trap next time. Always remember that ‘comprise’ in itself has one ‘of’ already and that there is no need for the second ‘of’ in structuring your sentences.

 

 

#GrammarSeries – The difference between lose and loose

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The words ‘lose’ and ‘loose’ are so commonly confused probably because they are spelled almost the same way and sound almost the same way too. The difference between them goes beyond the presence of the double ‘o’ in the second word as we would soon be seeing.  

It is really simple.

‘Lose’ is a verb used to mean to be unable to find someone or something; to fail to win (a game, contest, etc.); or to fail to keep or hold (something wanted or valued). 

On the other hand, ‘loose’ is an adjective meaning not tightly fastened or attached.

Examples:

The trousers seems so loose around my waist

The leash should be loose around that dog’s neck.

It is painful to lose your wallet at the market square.

It would be tragic if Chelsea loses the game to Real Madrid

I hope I do not lose the money I was given yesterday.

 

#GrammarSeries – Learn how to use ‘me’ and ‘I’ properly

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Welcome to another #GrammarSeries. Get ready to learn something new. Before we go on let’s ask a simple question; “Do you know that there is a way to use the pronouns ‘me’ and ‘I’ correctly in sentences and even speech?”

A lot of people get confused when it comes to using these pronouns appropriately. As a writer, you should not be trapped in a fix simply because of these pronouns.

The first thing you should understand is this: ‘me’ and ‘I’ are both pronouns—personal pronouns. However, they are used to perform different functions in sentences.

Now, in a sentence, you have the subject position and the object position. The subject position is occupied by the doer of the action while the object position is occupied by the receiver of the action. So, in the sentence below:

Tade slapped his sister.

The subject position is occupied by the doer of the action “Tade” while the object position is occupied by the receiver of the action “his sister.”

Now back to the personal pronouns. The personal pronoun ‘I’ occupies the subject position while the personal pronoun ‘me’ occupies the object position. Below are some examples to illustrate this point:

I talked to the butler yesterday (‘I’ is occupying the subject position here and is the doer of the action).

The proprietress handed the report card over to me in the morning (‘me’ is occupying the object position here and is the receiver of the action).

Grace and I went to the supermarket today (‘I’ here is occupying the subject position because ‘I’ is the doer of the action).

He gave the waste bins to Billy and me (‘me’ occupies the object position here because ‘me’ is the receiver of the action).

It really is that simple!

#GrammarSeries – Learn how to use ‘the’ properly

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In English Language, there are three articles “a, an, and the.” Today, our focus will be on the article “the.”

This article is a definite article and is used to express a definite or specific meaning. It can be used with both uncountable and countable nouns.

It is good to note that there are different situations where a noun could have a specific or definite meaning. They are as follows:

  • A noun can have a definite meaning if the noun identifies something that has been previously mentioned

Speaker A: Did you see the car I told you about yesterday

Speaker B: Yes, I did. The car was damaged beyond repair.

In the above example, it is assumed that “the car” that is being referred to is something that is known to both the speaker and the hearer in the conversation.

  • A noun can also have a definite meaning when it identifies a unique subject.

The moon will not be full tonight

The sun rises in the East.

“Sun” and “moon” in the above examples are unique subjects. It would be wrong to say “a moon” as though there are many moons on planet Earth.

 

#GrammarSeries – The difference between stative verbs and dynamic verbs

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Trust us, if you are a fiction writer, you would want to know what this is all about. Knowing the difference between these two verbs can transform a boring story into an engaging one. It is all about knowledge of verb choices in your writing.

What exactly are stative verbs?

This is really simple. Stative verbs are verbs that describe a state of being. For example, you might say the following:

“I feel really terrible today”

“My dog hates being ignored.”

“He loved to play football every day.”

All of the above sentences describe someone or something’s state of being in a specific situation such as loving something, feeling something and hating something. Stative verbs do not describe a physical action. Rather, they describe thoughts, emotions, relationships or a state.

What are dynamic verbs?

Dynamic verbs are verbs that are all about doing something. This is really interesting because action verbs come into play here. For example, you might say the following:

“She drank ten bottles of Coca-Cola.”

“The baby slept all day on my couch.”

“The man walked three miles in this stadium last week.”

If you want your story to enegage your readers properly. Mix these verbs well.