Friday, July 18, 2008

(40) Unconventional Word Form

Choose word forms that correspond to the conventional guidelines for grammar and usage. [EDIT]

Word forms, such as case, are guided by conventional views of usage. Writers should be careful when selecting word forms, particularly related to verbs and pronouns.

Some elements of language to consider carefully include:

• Choose pronoun forms to match the grammatical aspect of the sentence; for an on-line guide to conventional pronoun case, visit:

• Consider the use of contractions when submitting academic and scholarly writing; many reject the use of contractions in formal writing.

• Select between “who” and “whom” carefully, recognizing that “who” matches the use of “he” and “whom” matches the use of “him.” For an on-line guide to “who/whom” use, visit:

• Be careful with contractions involving “have” such as “could’ve”; some make the error of hearing an “of,” writing “could of,” which is nonstandard.

• Be careful with the wording “used to be,” often written as “use to be” because the “-d” is hard to hear. Some writers prefer “once was” to “used to be.”

• Choose the following constructions carefully:

Prefer “Jan went to visit Alice” to “Jan went and visited Alice.”

Prefer “Steve is planning to give Mike the book” to “Steve is planning on giving Mike the book.”

Prefer “She could not help smiling at him” to “She could not help but smile at him.”

Prefer “She wanted to come to see me” to “She wanted to come and see me.”