Grammatically Speaking

Access the Latest Grammatically Speaking Documents:

  • Grammatically Speaking, October 2009 
    Richard Firsten explains past simple versus past perfect in the indicative mood, discusses the second conditional, looks at different ways to structure negative questions, and presents a new Brain Teaser.
  • Grammatically Speaking, June 2009 
    Richard Firsten explains the difference between How about you? and What about you?, discusses dropping the to at the end of an already shortened sentence, sheds light on negating a sentence's main verb versus the object of the main verb, and presents a new Brain Teaser.
  • Grammatically Speaking, March 2009 
    Richard Firsten clarifies the difference between -ing verbs as gerunds and present participles, explains why some people say a whole nother, discusses "backshifting," differentiates between finite and non-finite clauses, and presents a new Brain Teaser.
  • Grammatically Speaking, December 2008 
    Why is I always capitalized? Why don't we use the -s genetive with singular, countable nouns? Richard Firsten answers these questions, explains the statal passive, and challenges you with a new Brain Teaser.
  • Grammatically Speaking, September 2008 
    What is the difference between adverbs of frequency and adverbs of degree? Why is im- the correct prefix for some words when il- and un- seem to mean the same thing? When is it better to use passive voice instead of active voice? Richard Firsten answers these questions and offers a new Brain Teaser.
  • Grammatically Speaking, June 2008 
    Should you say different from or different than? Were you born at or in a given city? What is the past tense of hang? Richard Firsten clarifies these issues and challenges you with a new Brain Teaser.
  • Grammatically Speaking, March 2008 
    When should you use object and subject forms of pronouns? What function does may serve when you're not granting permission? What are the correct ways to use the -s genetive? Are split infinitives allowable or not? Richard Firsten address these issues, discusses clauses that begin with as, and challenges you with a new Brain Teaser.
  • Grammatically Speaking, December 2007 
    What is the to-less infinitive? Is it there is a variety or there are a variety? What is a postposed adjective? Richard Firsten untangles these issues, revisits his previous discussion of Sudanversus the Sudan, and challenges you with a new Brain Teaser.
  • Grammatically Speaking, September 2007 
    Why is "zero degrees" plural? Is it "Sudan" or "the Sudan"? "Computer mouses" or "computer mice"? "Awhile" or "a while"? Richard Firsten untangles the issues and challenges you with a new Brain Teaser.
  • Grammatically Speaking, June 2007 
    Richard Firsten answers queries about the difference between gerunds and present participles, settles a bet between colleagues, and offers another Brain Teaser.
  • Grammatically Speaking, March 2007 
    Richard Firsten answers questions about collective nouns, "I’m sorry," and verbs that force the subjunctive, and presents another Brain Teaser for you to solve.
  • Grammatically Speaking, December 2006 
    Richard Firsten discusses pat phrases with "how" and "what," unpacks the verb "head," and challenges you with another Brain Teaser.
  • Grammatically Speaking, September 2006 
    Richard Firsten explains the grammar of Wanted posters and the origin of the rule against using postposed prepositions, and challenges you with a new Brain Teaser.
  • Grammatically Speaking, June 2006 
    Richard Firsten (Grammatically Speaking) answers questions about changes in the use of ordinal and cardinal numbers, and poses another Brain Teaser.
  • Grammatically Speaking, March 2006 
    Richard Firsten differentiates noun adjuncts and compound nouns, explains why people say "God bless you" when someone sneezes, analyzes the rules governing the use of much, and presents a new Forum question.
  • Grammatically Speaking, December 2005 
    Richard Firsten explains why it's "tooth whitening," not "teeth whitening"; tells you whether "hopefully" is properly used as a disjunct adverb; untangles collective plurals; distinguishes clauses and phrases; and challenges you with a Brain Teaser.
  • Grammatically Speaking, September 2005 
    Richard Firsten examines anticipatory "it," differentiates "I feel good" and "I feel well," explains why "ham and eggs" is singular, and challenges you with a new Brain Teaser.
  • Grammatically Speaking, June 2005 
    Richard Firsten answers questions about proforms and "there was/there were," shares responses to the Forum question in his March column, and challenges readers with a new Brain Teaser.
  • Grammatically Speaking, March 2005 
    Richard Firsten explores reflexive pronouns, the technicalities of tense, and the nuances of "new" and "old."
  • Grammatically Speaking, Winter 2004 
    Richard Firsten helps readers with answers to the question "How are you?," collective nouns, and the phrase "having said that." A reader explains the phrase "be it ever so humble" in response to the autumn Brain Teaser.
  • Grammatically Speaking, Autumn 2004 
    Richard Firsten enlightens readers about "may have" versus "might have," the expression "manage to," and English words with Latin plural forms. A reader correctly identifies the reinforcement tag "she does" for the summer Brain Teaser.
  • Grammatically Speaking, Summer 2004 
    Richard Firsten answers questions about "hard" versus "hardly," order of adjectives, "evidence of" versus "evidence for," the expression "'til death do us part," and "that" versus "which." In the answer to the spring Brain Teaser, a reader explains about "teeth marks" and "tooth marks."
  • Grammatically Speaking, Spring 2004 
    Richard Firsten replies to readers' questions about irregular past participles, "whoever" versus "whomever," the teaching of simple past and past progressive, "who" versus "whom," the negative of "used to," and the use of "the" before "Ukraine." A reader untangles the winter Brain Teaser about "made of," "made from," and "made with."
  • Grammatically Speaking, Winter 2003 
    Richard Firsten helps readers with questions about "family is" versus "family are," ditransitives, and reflexive pronouns. A readers answers a Brain Teaser on "CAT FISH" versus "CAT fish."