Author: Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.

THE QUICK AND DIRTY The official name is “Veterans Day,” but “Veterans’ Day” is also grammatically correct. In the United States, we’re celebrating Veterans Day next week. It’s a holiday commemorating the end of World War I in 1918, but the name of the holiday brings up a common question: Do we need an apostrophe in the word “Veterans”? The short answer is no, because the U.S. government gave the holiday its official name, and they chose to write it without the apostrophe; but today, we’ll explore why it’s grammatically correct with or without an apostrophe. 3 ways to write…

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Today’s topic is “although” versus “while.” I often have to tell people that their pet peeves aren’t actually hard-and-fast grammar rules. I have to tell people that it’s OK to split infinitives, and that in some cases it’s fine to end a sentence with a preposition or use the word “between” when they’re choosing among more than two items. I know it’s upsetting to learn that your nearest and dearest beliefs are wrong, so this week, I’m going to talk about my own mistaken peeve. It bugs me no end when people use “while” to mean “although” or “whereas,” but…

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“Whoa” can mean “stop,” like in this Keanu Reeves clip from “Sweet November,” or it can mean “wow,” like he often said in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” It’s supposed to be spelled W-H-O-A, but I keep seeing it spelled W-O-A-H and hearing complaints from other people who see it spelled that way. The Origin of ‘Whoa’ Here’s a way to remember the proper spelling: “Who” and “ho” are two origins that are often cited for “whoa.” For example, Dictionary.com states that “ho” came first as a Middle English command to make a horse stop and then evolved sometime around 1620 into “whoa.” To remember how to spell “whoa,” remember that…

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In July 2015, a listener named Barb Mindel posted a question on my Facebook page. She wrote, “I have recently heard a couple of my friends from the northeastern states use the term ‘out of pocket’ to refer to the fact that they were unavailable. What is the origin of this idiom?” I responded right away, saying that I’d put it on our list of things to cover. Well, Barb, it’s been a few years, but here, at last, is that episode on “out of pocket”! ‘Out of pocket’ is out of range After I wrote my short response, a…

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The Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, just announced that Kamala Harris is his pick for vice president, and she is the first of many things. Her father immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica, and her mother immigrated from India, so she is both the first Black woman to be on a major presidential ticket and the first person of Indian descent. And here’s a piece of trivia that surprised me: According to the website FiveThiryEight, she is also the first person from west of the Rockies to ever be on the ticket for the Democratic Party—as president or vice president.…

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Last week, our editor at Quick and Dirty Tips had a question about hyphens as she was working on a post about the anxiety people may feel when they re-enter society after the quarantine. She found that online dictionaries list both versions as correct—“re-enter” with a hyphen and “reenter” without a hyphen—and she wanted to know which one I prefer. Since I thought some of you might be facing the same question as you’re writing these days, I’ll share my thoughts. Even though the trend these days is to use fewer hyphens, I like the hyphenated version when you encounter…

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Today, we’re going to start with rules but go heavy on history at the end because what I thought would be an easy question to answer took me down an interesting rabbit hole and finally to an interview. It all started with this voicemail message. “Hi, Grammar Girl. I actually work for the Federal Government, and I have a good enough command of writing and grammar that I am humorously referred to as the Grammar Guru. Recently we were writing a report and something came up. Some of the people on the committee thought we should capitalize ‘ZIP Code’ .…

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Many parts of the world are moving from standard time to daylight saving time (also called summer time) this week, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about the phrase “daylight saving time” and time in general. I still have to think of the mnemonic “spring forward, fall back” every time we do this to figure out what to do with my clocks. Since it’s spring, I’ll be moving my clocks ahead Saturday night before I go to bed. Technically, the time changes at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, but it’s not like I’m going to…

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My family loves basketball, and from my name, you may have guessed that I have some Irish heritage, so I grew up hearing about Boston’s team, the Celtics. That’s spelled with a C, but I also know many academics refer to the language as “Keltic” (which can be spelled with a C or a K, but is pronounced like a K). So I started wondering: What’s the deal? What’s right? Is it “Seltic” or “Keltic”? Modern dictionaries say both pronunciations are acceptable. All the dictionaries I checked put the “Keltic” pronunciation first, but contrary to what you may have been…

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All the little details of writing are difficult, and even published authors can struggle to get everything right. Thankfully, these writers have editors who clean up the writing to make authors look their best. Macmillan Publishers' editors ranked the most common errors they see, and shared some of their advice for writers. Here's a colorful infographic to help you edit. You'll find more information and links to related Grammar Girl articles and episodes below. Share this Image On Your Site <p><strong>Please include attribution to Quick and Dirty Tips | Grammar Girl with this graphic.</strong><br /><br /><a data-cke-saved-href='https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/top-10-writing-and-grammar-mistakes-that-even-published-authors-make' href='https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/top-10-writing-and-grammar-mistakes-that-even-published-authors-make'><img data-cke-saved-src='https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/sites/default/files/GG%20National%20Grammar%20Day%20infographic%20final%20buff.png'…

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