How are you? Well or Good? Good question.

      Comments Off on How are you? Well or Good? Good question.
If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:

“I am well,” or “I am good” is a question I’m commonly asked.

This is a tricky question. One way to look at it is whether “feel” is an action verb or a linking verb. Another way is to look at “well” as a state of health or an adjective.

“I am well.” is a formal reply to the question ” How are you?” In this case, “well” is an adjective describing a state of health. However, there are many informal statements related to this question which are acceptable in normal conversation including “I feel good.”

Normally good is an adjective, a word which modifies a noun. “My health is good.”

Well is an adverb which modifies a verb “I paint well”; however ‘well’ is also noun describing health so in this sense “I am well” is acceptable.

If I say “I feel well” it could mean I have a lot of sensitivity in my fingers: I’m really good at feeling. I may be able to feel the proverbial pea under a mattress while I lie on my death bed.

If I say “I am good” it could mean I judge my character to be good: I am a good person. I could be in the final stages of leprosy; however, so my health is not good.

It’s never as simple as you think.

HyperGraphix offers editing and proofreading services for essays  and other documents starting at $3.75 per page.

For a free one paragraph edit, click here. For Free Grammar Help, click here.

Please visit our website to ask a question about any essay topic.

Verse vs. versus

      Comments Off on Verse vs. versus
If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:

This one just comes from listening to high school students talk. “Let’s verse” doesn’t mean “Let’s write poetry” though I wish it did. It usually means “Let’s play against each other.”

Why? Because people hear “New York vs. Chicago” and think the word “versus,” which means “against” is a verb “verses.” To conjugate this verb would be “I verse,” “you verse,” “he verses,” “they verse” etc. This just drives me crazy, because as a teacher I hear it every day. I fear it’s becoming part of the language. I guess, like the decline of the apostrophe, it’s just part of English as a living language which is changing over time.

I recently read a survey of this error and apparently it’s so common that some sportscasters are using it! It’s reported in students all over the U.S. Perhaps it’s just one of those changes in language that eventuallygets accepted. I hope not. It will always sound wrong to me.

HyperGraphix offers editing and proofreading services for essays  and other documents starting at $3.75 per page.

For a free one paragraph edit, click here. For Free Grammar Help, click here.

Please visit our website to ask a question about any essay topic.

I vs. Me

      Comments Off on I vs. Me
If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:

OK, I’m not about to get into a fight with myself; it’s just that I hear people misusing “I” so often (even teachers!) that it drives me crazy.

It’s simple: use “I” as the subject of the sentence: I took the money.

Use “me” as the object of the sentence: My father gave me away at my wedding.

See the difference: the subject is the person doing the action in the sentence. The object is the thing (person) having the action being done to it. “Me” can also be an indirect object: He gave the money to me.

Here’s were some people go wrong. They never use “me” in a compound. So whether subject or object, they use “I”. So it is correct to say “John and I went to Washington.” But it is completely wrong to say “Santa Claus gave lumps of coal to John and I.” Other people avoid me by saying “Santa Claus gave lumps to John and myself.”


“Myself” is used for reflexive actions and for emphasis. Reflexive means the subject is “I” and the object would be “me”. (ie: you do something to yourself.) “I gave ice cream to myself.” “I gave ice cream to Johnny, Larry and myself.” You may also use “myself” for emphasis that you were the active one in the sentence: “I went myself to get the money from the bank.”


With any compound subject or object, imagine if the other people were not present and then it should be obvious whether or not to use I, me or myself.

“I went to the store” is perfectly obvious, but people get confused with “Johnny, Larry and I went to the store” and then they say “Johnny, Larry and myself went to the store” but they would never say “Myself went to the store.” When in doubt with a compound subject or object, try it out as a singular and you will easily see when to use “I” and when to use “me.”

HyperGraphix offers editing and proofreading services for essays  and other documents starting at $3.75 per page.

For a free one paragraph edit, click here. For Free Grammar Help, click here.

Please visit our website to ask a question about any essay topic.

More about apostrophes and their history

      Comments Off on More about apostrophes and their history
If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:

Sometimes I think we should just be done with the damn things. But they do help us distinguish between possessive singulars and possessive plurals. I got so many questions about apostrophes that I made up this canned answer to send attached to specific questions.

An apostrophe is used to indicate missing letters. This is easy to see in contractions (can’t, won’t, didn’t, etc.)

About a thousand years ago we used to indicate possession with “-es” at the end of a noun. But language changes over time. Today we have dropped the “e” and we use an apostrophe to mark the missing letter.

The dog’s house. (one dog having one house)
The dog’s bone. (one dog having one bone)
The dog’s bones. (one dog having many bones.)

This would be easy enough, except we also use “s” to indicate plural nouns.

The dogs run together. (more than one dog)
The dogs play together. (more than one dog)

So what do we do when we have a plural noun which is also a possessive?
The answer is we put the “s” in first to indicate plural and then we put the apostrophe after to indicate the possessive.

The dogs’ bones. (bones belonging to more than one dog)
Really you can see that the “s” first indicates plural. We might have written “dogs’s” to indicate plural possessive, but that would be awkward to say, so we drop the final s in both writing and pronunciation and just leave it as dogs’ which is easier to say but causes infinite problems to those learning grammar.

HyperGraphix offers editing and proofreading services for essays  and other documents starting at $3.75 per page.

For a free one paragraph edit, click here. For Free Grammar Help, click here.

Please visit our website to ask a question about any essay topic.

Apopoleptic over Apostrophes

      Comments Off on Apopoleptic over Apostrophes
If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:

Elizabeth asks:

Are the apostrophes in this sentence in the correct places?
Is the Distributors’ discount available for University’s.

No there should be no apostrophe on “universities.” It is a simple plural. The first apostrophe is debatable. One could consider the discount is for each distributor, in which case the apostrophe should come before the “s”. If the discount is generally for all distributors, then the apostrophe is correct.

Here’s a brief synopsis on the use of apostrophes:

An apostrophe is used in two ways.

First it is used to indicate missing letters such as in a contraction, where two words have been joined together and some letters have been eliminated. Examples include:

Don’t = do not
Can’t = can not
I’d = I would
And
It’s = it is.

The second way an apostrophe is used is to indicate possession.

So Ronnie owns a house; it is Ronnie’s house.

Because apostrophe-s indicates possession and s alone indicates plural, we often get confused when something belongs to more than one person (plural possessive.) In this case, we put the apostrophe after the s. Examples include:

The carpenters’ union
The dogs’ owner (where many dogs have the same owner)

Other problems occur when the name of a person ends in s. In many cases we add apostrophe and s to indicate possession, but if it is difficult to pronounce, we might just use the apostrophe. Companies often use apostrophe in their names that vary from the normal rules of grammar.

And what about “its” indicating something that “it” possesses. Shouldn’t that be written with an apostrophe? You’d think so, but ‘it’ is a pronoun, so follows the rules for pronouns: his, hers and its do not use apostrophes. It’s easy to remember ‘his’ uses no apostrophe, you can occasionally see the error where someone puts an apostrophe in hers (her’s) but it is widespread to see the error of writing it’s when the possessive pronoun its should be used.

HyperGraphix offers editing and proofreading services for essays  and other documents starting at $3.75 per page.

For a free one paragraph edit, click here. For Free Grammar Help, click here.

Please visit our website to ask a question about any essay topic.

Mixed Martial Arts – Fists vs Grammar

      Comments Off on Mixed Martial Arts – Fists vs Grammar
If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:

Diego sent this paragraph:

Once I was a MMA fighter, MMA means mixed martial arts. When I was 9 years old I saw my first fight between two friends, since that fight I start like fighting, and had the pleasured to beat up the fist boy that said something to me. When I reached the age of fifteen years old, a guy came to me and told me that I should practice martial arts that would calm me down, that didn’t make sense to me at first. It sounds like a session between two opponents who have trained in martial arts and just makes you a better fighter. This was just the beginning; furthermore, I started to get interest on the sport. I was having problems in school, so my parents took me a Jeet kune do class. I didn’t what was that or what kind of martial art was. Jeet kune do was martial art that Bruce Lee created, which means “The art of the intercepting fist.” It was true it calmed me down, this martial art was entertained and helped you in such a way you will try to ditch problems. Since I started training hard my life was school and train. I started to practice often; I was trained for three years, before I started to fight championships. Because I was calmed, I started to go to church and stop fighting on the streets. I went to the Central America “MMA Championship”, when I entered to the stadium I saw different kinds of marital artists.

The first problem is that this is too long to be a paragraph. I will edit the part that should become the first paragraph in this.

Let’s break this down: The first sentence is a run-on sentence. A run-on sentence is not necessarily too long, but has two or more ideas not joined correctly. Here we have a statement about Diego’s past and a statement defining what MMA means. They should be separated into two sentences. Also the difference between “a” and “an” is not that “an” precedes a vowel, but that “an” precedes a vowel sound. Therefore we need “…an MMA fighter.”

In the next sentence, which is also a run-on sentence, Diego had a few common ESL errors. The sentence should be divided after “friends.” The verb “start” should be in the past form: “started,” and he missed a preposition: “to.” He also misused an awkward construction: “I had the pleasure of…” This usually is used in a way that describes a polite experience; it is a bit incongruous to use it to describe a fight. There’s a typo; ironically the word “fist” is written where he meant “first.” And when we refer to people we use “who” instead of “that.”

The third sentence is also a run-on sentence. It should end with the word “down.” We could put a comma after “martial arts,” and follow it with “which” instead of  “that” to fix it.

The final sentence lacks logic. “It sounds” implies that we have some other knowledge as readers. Really what Diego is saying is “I thought.” Then we need to be consistent with the person: if we begin with “I” then we should conclude with “I.”

So, the revised paragraph (now six sentences instead of three) would read like this:

Once I was an MMA fighter. MMA means mixed martial arts. When I was 9 years old I saw my first fight between two friends. Since that fight I started to like fights, and enjoyed beating up the first boy who said something to me. When I reached the age of fifteen, a guy came to me and told me that I should practice martial arts, which would calm me down. That didn’t make sense to me at first. I thought a session between two opponents who have trained in martial arts would just make me a better fighter.

HyperGraphix offers editing and proofreading services for essays  and other documents starting at $3.75 per page.

For a free one paragraph edit, click here. For Free Grammar Help, click here.

Please visit our website to ask a question about any essay topic.

Grammar Blog – Welcome

      Comments Off on Grammar Blog – Welcome
If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:

Thanks for visiting my grammar blog. This is the place where I wax eloquent (or not so eloquent) about grammar issues and answer your grammar questions. Please feel free to visit my website to comment on answers to your questions or anyone else’s questions. I’m experimenting with new tools to expand this feature, with more visitor input in mind, so visit often and bookmark this site if you are a student or just interested in better writing.

HyperGraphix offers editing and proofreading services for essays  and other documents starting at $3.75 per page.

For free proofreading, click here. For Free Grammar Help, click here.

Please visit our website to ask a question about any essay topic.