The little things: account for count

I used to joke about not knowing or needing to know about math. Many grammar nerds do this, I think — “Addition? What’s that?” We like English, and everything else becomes insignificant in comparison. As far we are concerned, ellipses are not ovals but rather sets of periods. We know
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Comma plus conjunction

It has come to my attention that people often don’t know how to use commas properly, so I’ll point out a misuse that has been bugging me lately. See the sentence above? It contains two independent clauses separated by a comma and a conjunction (so). It’s a rule most of
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Breathe and let breath(e)

When I was first informed that my responsibilities as copy editor include producing content for the online copy blog, I was slightly taken aback. I have to actually write something? I signed up to sit at a computer and correct articles, not sit at a computer and write about correcting
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‘Definitely,’ maybe?

I’m definitely concerned about some individuals’ inability to spell. The word “definitely” in particular seems to be a problem for many of my peers. We’ve all seen it. Maybe it’s someone returning a text: “I’m definately coming with you!” Perhaps somebody just posted a Facebook status about how some current event is “defenitely not acceptable.” In
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The little things: all day, every day

Following some feedback from readers regarding my previous blog post, I will be starting a series of articles revolving around grammar. I can’t replace Strunk and White, mind you, but at least these posts will clarify some of the little things commonly overlooked or misused in our language. That being
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A ‘mangy’ request from management

On our way back from a recent trip to L.A., my friends and I decided to make a pit stop a few dozen miles past Bakersfield. (I think we wanted to avoid the commotion that is the Bakersfield In-N-Out.) So around 2 p.m., we walked into a Taco Bell, one
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More than a matter of length

It ought to be no surprise that I, a self-admitted grammar nerd, correct people’s verbal slip-ups — incorrect prepositions, past participles and the like. What really gets me, though, is when there is a mistake that I cannot address right away, often because it is written. After all, to whom
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Military intelligence

I have a great deal of respect for many of those who serve our country in uniform, but I have nothing but contempt for the talentless individuals who write their advertisements, which evince little other than a failure to comprehend the usage of basic parts of speech: As any grade-school
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Oxford comma innuendos

Ever since I began as a copy editor at the Daily Cal, I’ve had a conflicted relationship with the Oxford comma. It has always made sense to me to separate every term in a series; otherwise, how would the reader know the last didn’t have to do with the previous?
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Graffiti and morals

For a while now, I’ve had a strange fascination with the graffiti messages people write. Some are blatantly comical to the point of ridiculousness, while others are angsty confessions of unrequited love or hopeless questions of identity. Occasionally, I stumble upon nuggets of wisdom: It’s an inspiring statement. It’s genuinely
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