Grammar Monkeys blog archive

This page contains an archive of all the posts I wrote for the now-defunct Wichita Eagle Grammar Monkeys blog from 2009 to 2012.  

Style and grammar, or why lots of things aren’t ‘wrong’

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on June 4, 2012. What do we talk about when we talk about grammar? Strictly speaking, grammar is the unique patterns of a language, the system of how speakers can put together words and sentences. Grammar encompasses morphology (how to form words), syntax (how to form sentences) and semantics (what words…

To whom it may concern

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on May 7, 2012. “Who” and “whom”’ cause all sorts of problems for writers. No one seems to know when to use which one, and whether to even bother with “whom” at all. More on that in a minute. The basics: “Who” is a subject pronoun. It is the subject…

Grammar costs nothing

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on March 2, 2012. It’s National Grammar Day, the day each year when we celebrate grammar in all its glamour. Yes, the two words are related, and yes, grammar deserves a celebration. Grammar is what makes communication possible — it allows a person to convey ideas through language, and allows…

The year in typos (or should we say “typo’s”)

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on Dec. 31, 2011. I’ve been taking pictures all year of errors I’ve spotted “in the wild” — on signs, in stores and other places out and about. Most were the “grocer’s apostrophe” — using an apostrophe to make a plural. But there were a few other types, and a…

Just you and I: Subject and object pronouns

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on Dec. 13, 2011. When some of us were kids, we’d get corrected if we announced to our mothers or teachers a sentence along the lines of: “Me and her are going snake-hunting in the creek.” “It’s ‘she and I,’” they’d say, apparently more concerned about proper grammar than the…

Gradations of graduation

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on Nov. 28, 2011. We had a question about graduation and the correct way to express it: Should you use “from” or is it correct to leave that out? The correct usage is “graduate from” a school: “Mayim Bialik graduated from UCLA with a Ph.D. in neuroscience.” The usage “was…

When spell-check won’t help: How typos sneak into writing

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on Oct. 18, 2011. (Revised from a guest post originally written for Voxy.com that also appeared on Ragan.com) Writers and editors have a lot to juggle in making prose presentable: big-picture items like accuracy, clarity, flow and structure, as well as details like grammar, spelling, punctuation and word choice. Details…

The world’s a smorgasbord for English

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on Aug. 30, 2011. “English doesn’t borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, knocks them over and goes through their pockets for loose grammar.” The origin of this quote is uncertain, but its accuracy is not in doubt: As languages go, English takes what it needs…

Corrections with a smile

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on July 26, 2011. I ran across an interesting post over the weekend that asks: “Why do people hate on those of us who know grammar? Why is it insulting to have your language skills corrected?” The author, Claiborne L., a professional writer and editor, makes some excellent points in…