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Quieter or More Quiet: The Comparative Degree of “Quiet”

English grammar is riddled with rules, and some of the most confusing are those regarding the degrees of comparison for adjectives. For examples, take the two-syllable word “quiet.” Is it “more quiet” or “quieter”? The words “quieter” and “more quiet” are both grammatically correct examples of the comparative form, although “quieter” is far more common, …

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Taught or Tought: Which Spelling Is Correct?

Both spoken and written English has undergone continuous change over centuries — no more so than in its spelling. For example, is it “taught” or “tought,” and what is the past tense of “teach”? There is no such word as “tought” in common usage today. Taught is correct both as the past tense and past …

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Busier or More Busy: Correctly Using the Comparative Form of Busy

Most of us consider our lives pretty active, though is it correct to use “busier” or “more busy” when comparing ourselves to others? Busy is a relative term because some people may have more to do each day than others around them. Busier is the correct comparative adjective to use when expressing a degree of …

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Parenthesis or Parentheses: Differences and Correct Usage

As we write, we sometimes find it necessary to add a little more context for the reader. Parenthetical comments are a common way to add a brief aside or more than one aside, but what do we call this? Is it “parenthesis” or “parentheses”? The main difference between “parenthesis” and “parentheses” is that of the …

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Everyone Is or Everyone Are: Which Is Correct?

The English language can be quite complex at times. Just when you think you’ve mastered a concept, something will come along that will throw doubt your way. One common source of confusion is what verb form to use after “everyone” — Is it “everyone is” or “everyone are”?  “Everyone is” will be the correct choice. …

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Week’s or Weeks’: Singular, Plural, and Possessive

The apostrophe has three functions in English. We use it to form possessive forms of nouns, form the plurals of letters, numbers, and symbols, and show the omission of letters in contractions. Which function or functions does the apostrophe serve in “week’s” and “weeks’”? The apostrophe -s in “week’s” functions to create the possessive form …

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