Correct Use of the Phrase ‘Due to’

The phrase ‘due to’ tends to be overused in academic writing and, although it is becoming increasingly acceptable in modern usage, your writing will be more professional and concise if you understand when it is most appropriate. Often, ‘because’ or ‘because of’ should be used instead. If you could substitute ‘attributable to’, ‘caused by’ or ‘resulting from’ for ‘due to’ in your sentence, then you have probably used ‘due to’ correctly. It modifies nouns and is usually preceded by the verb ‘to be’ in one form or another. For example: ‘My fitness is due to regular exercise.’ In this sentence, ‘my fitness’ is the noun and ‘due to’ follows ‘is’, a form of the verb ‘to be’. In contrast, ‘because …

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Inclusive Language

Inclusive language has a simple purpose: to ensure that a piece of communication–it may be written or spoken–does not discriminate against groups of people in the community. Discrimination can range from exclusion to derogatory comments and can be based on gender, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation or other perceived differences. Often disparaged as ‘political correctness’, inclusive language in fact seeks to redress imbalances in spoken and written communication; instead of assuming the readers of a text or the audience of a speech are a homogenous group, inclusive language embraces diversity. For instance, where once many authors would have used the word ‘mankind’ to refer to humans as a group, now we would use ‘humanity’; the ‘man’ in ‘mankind’ can …

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But why can’t I use ‘as such’ instead of ‘therefore’?

It seems to be increasingly common for students, and others, to use ‘as such’ as a replacement for ‘therefore’ only to be corrected without really knowing why. If you think ‘as such’ and ‘therefore’ have the same meaning, read on. ‘Therefore’ is a conjunction (a part of speech that joins words, phrases, clauses or sentences) that according to The Macquarie Dictionary means ‘in consequence of that’, ‘as a result’ or ‘consequently’. ‘As such’ also acts as a conjunction but is different grammatically. The Macquarie Dictionary defines ‘as such’ to mean ‘being what is indicated’, ‘in that capacity’ or ‘in itself or themselves’. ‘Such’ in the phrase ‘as such’ acts as a pronoun (a part of speech used in the place …

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Grammar in Enid Blyton : “ Jolly Good ! ” said Dick, “just wait till I get it !

Did you notice any glaring errors in this blog’s title? If you didn’t, then I can only assume you worked for Enid Blyton’s English publisher, Dean & Son Ltd, during the 1960s.   I’ve been reading my old Enid Blyton books to my children for several years now (I cannot bear the recent editions, with all  references to ‘smacking’ removed, along with the names Dick and Fanny which are, apparently, inappropriate for the American market.) It is only since working as an editor that I’ve noticed substantial differences in punctuation between these editions and contemporary editing standards.   Apart from Enid Blyton’s constant use of exclamation marks! , here are some of Dean & Son’s rather quaint punctuation and grammatical …

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The Clause

Most writing consists almost entirely of clauses. Good writing will connect, relate and contrast these clauses, so that the transition from one to the next appears seamless. Ultimately, however, each clause must, at the very least, name a subject and describe an action performed by or on that subject, and must place this action in time. Although the nature of the clause may seem technical, an understanding of it and its inner workings is vital to a broad and practical understanding of language. Knowing where one clause finishes and the next one begins will help you to write clearer, more concise sentences, and to link your ideas through conjugation and punctuation. What is a Clause? A clause is a group …

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The Semicolon and its Usage

The semicolon is a commonly misunderstood punctuation mark. It may be useful to consider the semicolon as something between a comma and a full stop; it both separates and links the clauses it falls between. Though there are varying opinions about the instances where a semicolon is required, the three usages that follow are widely accepted and account for the vast majority, if not all, of such instances. To link independent clauses As with the full stop, the semicolon can be used to separate clauses that are grammatically independent; however, unlike the full stop, the semicolon links the two ideas that it separates. Linking similar ideas with a semicolon not only gives your concepts greater continuity, but will also help …

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