Monthly Archive: September 2010

Sep 27

Then vs Than

I don’t know how many of you are on Twitter (twitter.com/wirfy), but I see this mistake made with 140 characters on my timeline far too often.  Let’s begin by defining both terms.

Then:  Adverb.  Used to explain something at the time it is taking place.  Then can also be used to demonstrate the order in which things are to happen.  Also used is to infer, to say something appears a certain way or to show a necessary consequence.

HUGE TIP: The “If – Then” rule.  Starting a sentence with ‘if’ ‘then’ isn’t usually far behind.

  • Incorrect: If you’re making lemonade than you’ll need lemons, silly!
  • Correct:  If you’re making lemonade then you’ll need lemons, silly!

Than:  Conjunction.  Function word used to demonstrate the difference of type, manner, or identity.  Than is commonly used to show comparisons.

  • Incorrect:  To ride in the larger car than you should ride with mom.
  • Correct:  I’d rather ride in the larger car than the smaller one.

Here are a few common uses:

  • Rather than…
  • Other than…
  • More than likely…

So, the thing to remember is, ‘then’ is used to describe or demonstrate in a matter of time or an order of actions to take place.  ‘Than’ is used to compare.

If you need writing or editing assistance with the very confusing English language rules, contact the professionals at Writing It Right For You. We’re here to help because “It Matters How You Say It”!

Permanent link to this article: http://writingitrightforyou.com/home/2010/09/27/then-vs-than/

Sep 23

Subject Verb Agreement

When you are writing, do your subjects live in harmony with the verbs?  They should; that’s what makes a happy sentence, paragraph, term paper, and everyday conversation.

To clarify: a subject is a noun (person, place, or thing) and a verb is an action.  Now, verbs and nouns can be singular or plural.  Most plural nouns end in s. Obvious you say?  Well, you’d be surprised at how often this escapes people.  Hey, it happens to the best of us.  Here’s a quick example of subject-verb agreement and disagreement:

  • The boy runs to catch the bus.
  • The boys run to catch the bus.

Rule of thumb: A singular verb is always paired with a singular subject.  Likewise, a plural verb is paired with a plural subject.

  • Trick # 1: Determine if the subject of the sentence is singular or plural.
  • Trick # 2: Determine if the verb of the sentence is singular or plural.

If you need writing or editing assistance with the very confusing English language rules, contact the professionals at Writing It Right For You. We’re here to help because “It Matters How You Say It”!

Permanent link to this article: http://writingitrightforyou.com/home/2010/09/23/subject_verb_agreement/

Sep 20

I vs Me

Oh, the frequency of this error!  So I’ll keep this extremely brief.  When dealing with ‘I’ or “me” (rarely, myself) you must remember:

  • Use ‘I’ (pronoun) when ‘I’ is the subject of the verb.  In the example sentences below the subject is plural.
  • CORRECT: Felicia and I are going to the movies.
  • INCORRECT: My brother and me went to the store.

An easy way to see if you’re using the correct personal pronoun in a sentence with a plural subject, remove one noun.  Here’s an example of a plural subject sentence with the noun removal test:

  • ORIGINAL SENTENCE: The cat follows my mom and me around the house.
  • NOUN REMOVAL TEST 1: The cat follows my mom around the house.
  • NOUN REMOVAL TEST 2: The cat follows me around the house.

If you passed parts 1 & 2 of the Noun Removal Test, there’s a good chance your sentence-filled paper would get a passing grade from your teacher and me!

If you need writing or editing assistance with the very confusing English language rules, contact the professionals at Writing It Right For You. We’re here to help because “It Matters How You Say It”!

Permanent link to this article: http://writingitrightforyou.com/home/2010/09/20/i_vs_me/

Sep 16

Comma Splices and Run-On Sentences

Do your sentences seem to be more of a marathon than a sprint?  If so, you are probably one of many heavily worded people with a comma splice or run-on sentence occurrence.

A run-on sentence combines two independent clauses without a conjunction or any punctuation.  A comma splice uses a comma to join two independent clauses without a conjunction, semi-colon, or period.  Note: A clause is an expression that has a verb but is not a complete sentence.  An independent clause presents a complete thought and can pass as a sentence.

  • Comma Splice: My cat is a clown, she’s got a big personality.
  • Corrected: My cat is a clown; she’s got a big personality.


  • Run-On Sentence: The sky isn’t red it’s blue.
  • Corrected: The sky isn’t red; it’s blue.

Another good way to see if you’ve got a run on sentence is to say your sentence aloud and note if there should be a pause in the sentence on paper.  If you need to take a breath while reading aloud, your sentence may have run on and on…and on.

If you need writing or editing assistance with the very confusing English language rules, contact the professionals at Writing It Right For You. We’re here to help because “It Matters How You Say It”!

Permanent link to this article: http://writingitrightforyou.com/home/2010/09/16/comma-splices-and-run-on-sentences/

Sep 13

Allusive, Elusive, or Illusive

All of these words can sound alike and thus, be confusing to anyone.  So, in this post we will strictly look at the definitions and different versions of the words defined.  Note: the suffix –ive indicates a present action.  Each of the following words is an action word.

Allusive:  From the word allude.  Allude means to make a reference that is indirect or implied.  So, to be allusive means to be in the act of alluding; to be hinting at something.

Elusive:  From the word elude.  Elude means to avoid usually with some demonstration of resourcefulness.  Elude can also mean to escape understanding, most times conceptually.  To be elusive is to be in the act of eluding; tending to avoid pursuit, being difficult to understand or being difficult to isolate.

Illusive:  From the word illusion.  An illusion is the action of deceiving visually or mentally.  Illusions can be misleading images seen or something that causes one to be mislead mentally.  Illusive derives from illusory which is the act of creating an illusion.

It always helps to know the root words in words with a common suffix.  I hope I wasn’t being too elusive!

If you need writing or editing assistance with the very confusing English language rules, contact the professionals at Writing It Right For You. We’re here to help because “It Matters How You Say It”!

Permanent link to this article: http://writingitrightforyou.com/home/2010/09/13/allusive-elusive-or-illusive/