Quotation marks imply lies

We’d have a tough time surviving without quotation marks. As a famous writer once described, “Quotation marks allow us to identify what someone actually says, as opposed to simple statements being made by the writer.” Okay, I just made that quote up, but it illustrates one of the main reasons people use quotation marks. The […]

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Are you a You or a We?

A quarter-century ago, when I started my business (in the days when nearly all websites were blue), I spent time in online groups that catered to the small-business crowd. I was looking for sound advice, but found little. One conundrum really seemed to vex visitors to those sites. “When writing about my business, should I […]

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Another set of goofs and gaffes

I’ve recently seen several mistakes involving the wrong word used in place of another that sounds identical, but is spelled differently and carries a vastly different meaning. An Indianapolis Star article about flooding had a caption that began “Storms dye down …”  The writer meant to say “die down,” as in taper away, not “dye […]

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Walla and no further adieu

Most people who insert foreign-language phrases and expressions into their materials do so because it makes them appear to be intelligent and sophisticated, n’est-ce pas? That is, it does unless they misspell the phrase or don’t really understand what it means. A particularly common error involves using the marvelous French word “voilà” (“behold” or “there […]

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Beware the dastardly dangling participle

Grammar and syntax can be funny things. You can have two sentences that appear to be identical, aside from some subtle switches in word order, but they may mean very different things. Take this sentence: “Towering above the company’s production facility, our technician inspected the smokestack.” Or this one: “Born in Schenectady, the inventor’s first […]

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