then-than less-fewer I-me

Submitted by Susan Miller on Mon, 03/24/2008 - 19:24.

OK, OK! I have to post this once again! It is driving me crazy!

I wondered if it wasn’t a really bad Cleveland Accent, but apparently this is not a regional issue.  Let's learn the difference between "then" and "than".

Here's the entry from Wikihow on then and than. Why am I roused about this? Here you go...

[missing cartoon which uses then where they meant than]

This is from The New Yorker! Oh my God! I thought they had fact checkers and grammar checkers at that magazine! Jesus! Is no place safe from lack of enforcement of the rules of usage? We know the president can't speak English (which is why we are so surprised that he gets behind the "English is the language in the US" border wars business), but GOOD GOD, The New Yorker!?!

While we're at it can we learn the difference between less and fewer? Here's the lesson on less and fewer.

We have strayed from the language far too often in my humble opinion. Maybe I am too formal, but it is jarring to hear, "there's times when..." Ahem! "There are times when..."

These examples are not colloquial, nor are they (apparently) region-speak or dialect. These are just the rules of grammar. Let's think about them.

Please, oh, please correct me when necessary. Fix my typos please and please let me know what you know about the language.

Don't get me started in the me and I confusion... Oy!

( categories: )

Wouldn't mind help on me and I

I don't think I have a problem with than and then, but I still can get hung up over I and me... feel free to post any simple rules you know.

Disrupt IT

Below is a grammar conundrum

Below is a grammar conundrum that has emerged more recently:

“the words "green" and "sustainability" mean different things, but often are used interchangeably. With sustainability being more complex in meaning and difficult to attain, we’re green washing a green building when calling it sustainable, unless it truly is. But how are green and sustainability different? . . .


Sustainability scientist and professor, James A. Wise, Ph.D., said, "Sustainability is a top-down framework of overarching principles that consider environmental, economic, and social measures based on an idealized model of what is sustainable. Green is a bottom-up approach, working to improve the environmental performance of a product or system sequentially over time. It typically is constrained to focus on environmental performance measures."


Metaphorically speaking, sustainability is the destination and green is the drive to get us there. Calling a milestone the destination prematurely ends the trip, and it could detract others by changing the names on their map or unwittingly shortening their trips.

The rest of the post is here:


spelling and usage reminder


10 Words You Need to Stop Misspelling
Via: Online Schools

We could always use more EDITORS

But editors aren't perfect either...

Thanks for the lesson. 

Thanks for the lesson.  Maybe it will help.  I know I learned this stuff way back in the day when I was in elementary school...when it used to be called grade school.  But, I still get it mixed up sometimes, especially the use of than and then and affect and effect.  Thanks for the help.

The Use of Quotes


Any place where we could find more about quoting.  Direct quotes , quoting by paraphrasing and ALWAYS citing the reference. How to distinquish between your thoughts, others' thoughts and FACTS. also how to link.

Recently, there have been a few times that I have simply stopped reading because I could not discern who was talking in the posts here.  It is unfortunate because I was very interested in the topic but I could not sort it out and therefore dismissed the post as not credible.

I really don't know if there is an easy answer for this issue, but I think that these  are some  important points that maybe with some standardization my fog may clear.

quoting and quotation marks

Thanks for asking Gloria. This is one of those places (like the ones I mentioned above) where I was gazing out the window in high school English class. This site gives a pretty complete rendition on the use of quotations and quotation marks.

Fortunately or unfortunately, my father had pretty awesome usage, so I grew up hearing the language used well. I find that one's ear is often a good tool in writing, too. Rules have been bent, broken and rewritten since I learned language, so in some instances, anything goes. My eyes, ears and fingers still debate the position of the quotation mark - "before or after?", I almost always say to myself as my fingers are choosing or my eyes are proofreading.

In this website, the toolbar has a blockquote option which, when selected, indents and italicizes the text. I find it a little difficult to get in and out of though, so I often wait until I am proofing to select the quote and click blockquote. The tool is just to the left of the source button in the toolbar. Of course, you have to put in your own quotation marks.

Blockquote does not work for use in a sentence. I would say that it should be reserved for larger chunks of text. But that's my humble opinion and at realneo there are no editors and everyone may adhere to their own rendition of English.

Even when I reread my posts and comments before posting, I continue to go back years later to find typos and missing words. A friendly private contact via the contact form would be a discreet way to let me know that I have butchered a word or a sentence - rendered a thought unintelligible.

Most of all, intelligible text is what people continue to read. I hear you on the striving and clicking away phenomenon. If one's posts or comments are communicating what one means to say, that's what counts. If not, one might find oneself hearing these words from T.S, Eliot's 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' in one's head again and again:

"That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all."

Eliot had more to say on words.

Here's a quiz on quotation marks and punctuation. I need to take this quiz everyday for about a year. I also need to take more time with my writing to reduce my use of run-on sentences and too oft used parenthetical notations. It's a slow journey for me, writing. As any writer or experienced reader can see, I'm still working on it. I welcome an editor.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves


This is a customer review from, but you just might want to patronize your independent bookstore...


Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible: An Entertaining Punctuation Manifesto, April 12, 2004

R. Hardy "Rob Hardy" (Columbus, Mississippi USA)    

"If there is one lesson that is to be learned from this book, it is that there is never a dull moment in the world of punctuation." Perhaps that is hyperbole, but there is never a dull moment in _Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation_ (Gotham Books) by Lynne Truss. Surely the book will not be the sensation it was in Britain, but it is witty, informative, and entertaining; you can't ask for more from a punctuation manual. And if you do not yet think that punctuation is important, you will after you see all the misunderstandings a little comma can cause. Take the peculiar title, which is from a joke: A panda goes into a café, orders a sandwich, eats it, takes out a revolver, fires it into the air, and goes out. When the waiter calls to ask what is going on, the panda plunks a badly punctuated wildlife manual onto the table and growls: "Look me up." The waiter finds the entry: "PANDA. Large, black-and-white, bear-like mammal native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves." Oh, let's have one more. There was an American actor playing Duncan in _Macbeth_, listening with concern to the battle story of a wounded soldier, who cheerfully called out: "Go get him, surgeons!" Misplaced comma; it should of course be: "Go, get him surgeons!" Another story related here, a true one, shows that a comma can literally be a life-or-death matter.

The book is zero tolerance indeed. Truss says it doesn't matter if you have a PhD and have read all of Henry James twice, "If you still persist in writing, 'Good food at it's best', you deserve ..." and she lists some ghastly punishments. Such militantism surely qualifies her for the Apostrophe Protection Society, a real organization that (along with Truss) is horrified by commercial signs that announce "Antique's" or "Apple's". The recent film _Two Weeks Notice_ gives her recurrent fits. She wants to know if they would have called it _One Weeks Notice_. She suggests that we enlist in the apostrophe war, arming ourselves with correction fluid, stickers to cover superfluous apostrophes, and markers with which to insert omitted ones. But best of all, she gives, simply and generously, the rules that will guide one in any apostrophic situation. Plus there is history. In Shakespeare's time, the apostrophe only indicated omitted letters, as it still does in "doesn't." Then in the 17th century printers put it in front of singular possessive "s," and in the 18th they put it after the plural possessive "s," and here we are.

You can turn to this little volume for guidance on the dash, hyphen, colon, semicolon, and more. The rules are here. American readers should note that theirs is a reprint of the British edition, without changes to spelling or punctuation. Often Truss mentions the differences, but she would vehemently deny that this shows that punctuation rules are arbitrary. Punctuation "... is a system of printers' marks that has aided the clarity of the written word for the past half-millennium." The conventions evolved slowly, in conversation between printers and readers. Truss worries that printing will decline in our e-age. A printed book has been edited and fussed over, but e-mail often does not even bother with capital letters. Truss thinks that since punctuation represents an effort of a considerate writer to guide a reader into a correct interpretation, the lack of e-punctuation has lead to clumsy explanations, like "Just kidding!" or even "JK!" having to be added to get a tone across, or the (to her) grievous incorporation of her beloved punctuation into emoticons or smileys. "Punctuation as we know it... is in for a rocky time," she says. But her book is a call to sticklers like herself: "I am all the more convinced we should fight like tigers to preserve our punctuation, and we should start now." This delightful style manual has been turned into a manifesto by an author in love with her subject.

By refusing to deal honorably with others, you dishonor yourself.