Should you use a singular or plural verb after alternative subjects—that is, two nouns joined by or—when one is singular and the other plural? A common practice is to have the verb agree in number with the second subject of the pair—in other words, with the noun that is closer to the verb . . .
Behind the StyleBlog
Read these three tips for effectively quoting from sources . . .
Many writers feel that the longer the sentence, the more elegant the style . . .
Should you use “I” in academic writing? An editor offers guidance . . .
Learn to recognize redundancy in your writing . . .
Authors often use quotation marks when nothing is being quoted. The marks may indicate irony, skepticism, derision—as such, they are sometimes called scare quotes. . . .
Reasons to be mindful of the possibility of the past-present ambiguity of the word contemporary.
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Deploy is not a good synonym for use, utilize, or employ, because it has a narrower sense and specific associations . . .
Many of the MLA’s authorities on English usage frown on the use of include to mean are. . . .
Keep an eye out for overhedging. Some writers are timid—or pretend to be—about making a statement, so they hedge: “I believe,” “it seems to me,” “may be,” “suggests that,” et cetera. The problem is that, having hedged, they often worry that they still have been too positive, so they hedge again, often in the same . . . . . .