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Uses of Who, That, Which

Rule 1. Who and sometimes that refer to people. That and which refer to groups or things. Examples:Anya is the one who rescued the bird.“The Man That Got Away” is a great song with a grammatical title.Lokua is on the team that won first place.She belongs to a great organization, which specializes in saving endangered species. Rule 2a. That introduces what is called an essential clause (also known as a restrictive or defining …

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Grammar Tips Effective Writing

Rule 1. Use concrete rather than vague language. Vague: The weather was of an extreme nature on the West Coast.This sentence raises frustrating questions: When did this extreme weather occur? What does “of an extreme nature” mean? Where on the West Coast did this take place? Concrete: California had unusually cold weather last …

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What Do Adverbs Modify?

An adverb is a word that modifies (describes) a verb (he sings loudly), an adjective (very tall), another adverb (ended too quickly), or even a whole sentence (Fortunately, I had brought an umbrella). Adverbs often end in -ly, but some (such as fast) look exactly the same as their adjective …

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What Are Adjectives?

Adjectives are words that describe the qualities or states of being of nouns: enormous, doglike, silly, yellow, fun, fast. They can also describe the quantity of nouns: many, few, millions, eleven. Adjectives Modify Nouns Most students learn that adjectives are words that modify (describe) nouns. Adjectives do not modify verbs or adverbs or …

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20 Ways to Cry

Opportunities abound for describing lachrymal lamentations. Here are twenty synonyms for cry, plus some related expressions. 1. Bawl: to cry out loudly and without restraint; also, to call out in such a manner2. Bleat: to complain or whine3. Blub: see blubber (mostly confined to British English)4. Blubber: to cry while making sounds of distress or pain, especially …

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Zero and Its Synonyms

The word zero has a small but distinctive set of synonyms, which are listed in this post. Zero is the word for the symbol 0, representing the absence of magnitude or quantity and the value between positive and negative numbers. The word also represents the lowest point or the starting …

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50 Synonyms for “Song”

Numerous words that describe various types of musical composition are listed and defined below. (Note that in the definitions below, popular denotes not a musical form that is widely enjoyed, but a song of a type traditionally derived from common people and folk traditions rather than from professional composers. Forms of the …

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3 Common Types of Phrasal-Adjective Hyphenation Errors

One of the most ubiquitous categories of error in written composition is failure to provide a visual clue to readers that two or more words preceding a noun are temporarily functioning as a single unit of information. After each of the sentences below, a discussion explains one of several types …

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A Dozen Nonnumerical Words for Quantities

The English language has, well, a number of words that denote specific or approximate quantities that are themselves not numbers. This post lists and defines a dozen of those words. 1. brace: two, in reference to identical objects 2. century: primarily denotes 100 years, but occasionally used, especially in the context of …

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