Finite verb

  A finite verb is a verb which serves as a predicate verb (i.e., it has a subject and has the ability to function as the root of an independent clause). Most of verbs can present in a finite and non-finite form (where the verb does not serve as a predicate and cannot support an independent clause). The subject of a finite verb can be stated or implied. In English the role of a finite verb is subtle, but in other languages, the finite form of a verb can state gender, person (e.g., … [Read more...]

Blew, blown, or blowed

  As a verb, to blow means, in its most common definition, is for air to move either by nature (e.g., the wind or a breeze) or for a person to push air out of his or her mouth. To blow past something is to move quickly beyond it. The past tense is blew an the past participle is blown (e.g., I have blown a tire.). While dictionaries will say that blowed  is a past tense form of blow, however, most readers will see this as incorrect. In some slang blowed is used to mean an event was awful, … [Read more...]

Slayed or slew


To slay something can mean to kill it or to amuse it. The past tense of the first meaning is slew, while the past tense of the second meaning is slayed. The popularity of the word slayed has grown considerable in the last century, and my guess would be that the colloquially usage of the word will make it into the dictionaries eventually.   Also, keep in mind that slew has other meanings such as, a sudden change in direction. A slew of things is a large amount. Examples "She … [Read more...]

Collective nouns

Collective nouns are countable nouns that refer to groups of people, objects, or things. A collective noun differs from a mass noun (a noun that cannot be counted---e.g., love, water, evidence) because it can be pluralized. For example, each of these collective nouns refers to a group but can itself be pluralized: band faculty family government group herd mob orchestra staff team Singular vs. plural verbs The consensus among English grammar and usage authorities is … [Read more...]

Indefinite articles

An indefinite article is a limiting adjective that precedes an unspecified thing, person, or idea. In English, the only indefinite articles are a and an. The article always comes first in its noun phrase, sometimes preceding other adjectives in the phrase (for example, a precedes the adjective black in a black dog). A is used when the following word begins with a consonant sound (e.g., a dog, a historic event, a yeti), and an is the correct article when the following word begins with a vowel … [Read more...]


The adverb therefore should be used with caution, as it is often at the center of run-on sentences. Therefore is not conventionally considered a conjunction, so it cannot fuse two independent clauses into a single sentence the way conjunctions like and, but, and because can. For example, the following sentences are run-ons because they use therefore as a conjunction introducing an independent clause: The players were my heroes, therefore, my dad was my hero because he was the coach. … [Read more...]

Agent and recipient nouns

An agent noun denotes a person who performs an action. Most agent nouns end in either  -er (standard) or -or (for words derived directly from Latin). A recipient noun denotes a person who receives an action. Recipient nouns usually have the suffix -ee, which technically means one to whom. Examples Agent nouns are more common than recipient ones simply because recipients need agents while agents do not need recipients. Here are just a few of the thousands of agent nouns in … [Read more...]

Coordinate adjectives

Coordinate adjectives are adjectives that appear in sequence with one another to modify the same noun. For example, the adjectives in the phrases bright, sunny day and dark and stormy night are coordinate adjectives. Coordinate adjectives are usually separated with either commas or and, and and always comes before the final adjective. Some sequential pairs or groups of adjectives that modify single nouns are not coordinate. For example, in the phrase harsh verbal warning, harsh and verbal are … [Read more...]

Phrasal prepositions

A phrasal preposition (not to be confused with a prepositional phrase) is two or more words functioning as a preposition. Below are some of the most common phrasal prepositions in English: according to apart from because of by means of contrary to given that in addition to in front of in reference to in regard to instead of in spite of on account of on top of out of prior to pursuant to rather than with regard to with the exception of Phrasal … [Read more...]

Irregular plural nouns

In English, there are hundreds of nouns that don't follow the standard rules for pluralization. There are no easy ways to remember them, so they generally have to be memorized. Some of the rarer irregular plurals are often misused, leading to the creation of variant forms, which usually encounter resistance at first but eventually make it into the language. For example, the plural of formula has traditionally been formulae, but formulas is now far more common, and few would call it … [Read more...]

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