Author: Bonnie Mills

Bonnie Mills has been a copyeditor since 1996.

Grammar Girl here. Today guest-writer Bonnie Trenga will help us talk about “which” clauses and whether it’s OK to start a sentence with one—or a new paragraph. Incomplete Sentences Sentences that are missing something, such as a subject or a predicate, are called incomplete sentences or sentence fragments. Although your English teachers probably scolded you for leaving out vital parts of sentences when you were writing essays, you are allowed to use sentence fragments when you want to make a point. So you could perhaps say, “I ate all the cookies. Big mistake.” Here, “big mistake” is a sentence…

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Today Bonnie Trenga will help us talk about two kinds of peculiar questions. Isn’t that going to be fun! “Isn’t that going to be fun,” is a rhetorical question. We’re also going to learn about its cousin. That’s called a tag question, isn’t it? That last sentence was an example of a tag question. This all started because of a question from one of my Twitter followers. Aaron wants to know if the sentence “Isn’t it funny?” is correct, and he’d like to know if he’s allowed to use such a construction in formal situations. Rhetorical Questions You’ve probably…

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The grammar authorities are going to battle it out today. For they all have a different opinion about our topics: the merits of using the word “for” to mean “because,” and whether it’s OK to start a sentence with the word “for.” Now, guest-writer Bonnie Trenga writes, The experts’ opinions range from, yes, go ahead and put a “for” wherever you like—in the middle or at the beginning of a sentence; to  yes, but “for” belongs best at the beginning of an independent clause; to no, no way—you’re not allowed to put “for” at the beginning of a sentence. Yikes!…

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Today guest-writer Bonnie Trenga is going to tell us how one little comma can change the meaning of a sentence. Should we write, “He has the ball too” with no comma or “He has the ball, too”? Well, you can write the sentence either way. It’s up to you as the writer. A comma before the “too” gives the sentence just a slightly different meaning than the sentence without one. The Difference a Comma Makes The word “too” is an adverb that indicates “also” or “in addition.” It most often shows up in the middle or at the end…

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Today, Bonnie Trenga helps us understand modifiers that come at the beginning of a sentence. Today, I plan to talk about two kinds of troublesome modifiers that begin a sentence. Like many of you, Suzanne wants to know if it’s OK to start a sentence with an “as” phrase, as in the sentence “As citizens of China, we enjoy eating noodles.” Of course you can, but you have to pay attention to what comes after this phrase. “As” at the Beginning of a Sentence In the phrase “as citizens of China,” the word “as” is a preposition that means “in…

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Today’s topic is whether the phrase “have got” is good English or not. And now, Bonnie Mills (author of this week’s show) answers an e-mail from a listener, Lee, who says, “A pet peeve of mine is the frequent use of the ‘have got’ phrase, such as ‘I have got a [something or other]’ or ‘I’ve got a [something or other],’ when ‘I have a [something or other]’ is completely sufficient.” We all have phrases that bother us. I hate it when I see “It was a chill night” instead of “It was a chilly night.” Alas, I get all…

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