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When to Use Ensure vs. Insure

When to Use Ensure vs. Insure

Here’s a problem I’ve encountered a lot: the confusion of ensure vs. insure. But wait, those two words are the same, right? Well . . . kind of, but not exactly.

Let’s un-muddle them, shall we?

Every time I hear the word “ensure,” I think of the high-protein flavored beverage that I will never drink. But we’re going to use this ingestible product to help you remember how to use ensure. Win-win (kind of).

Do You Use Quotation Marks or Italics for Song and Album Titles?

Do You Use Quotation Marks or Italics for Song and Album Titles?

I love music. I’ve been teaching myself to play guitar, and I can stumble my way through four or five songs without wanting to poke holes in my eardrums, but my main appreciation for music is when other people play it. I’m an avid Spotify user, and I take a lot of pride in my ability to make kickass playlists. One of my girlfriends has even given me the green light to create her hypothetical wedding reception playlist.

So obviously, when I write about a song or album, I know when to use quotation marks and when to use italics. Let’s discuss.

Do You Italicize Book Titles? And Other Title Conundrums

Do You Italicize Book Titles? And Other Title Conundrums

Italics, quotation marks, underlines, plain old capital letters—when it comes to writing titles, the rules can feel like a confusing mess. Do you italicize book titles? What about movie titles? And for goodness’ sake, what should you do with pesky things like TV shows, short stories, or Youtube videos?

With so many different kinds of media, it’s easy to get lost in all the rules. Let’s demystify them, shall we?

What the Heck is an Em Dash?

What the Heck is an Em Dash?

And now, another punctuation term that you probably have never heard before: the em dash.

Truthfully, I was ignorant of the em dash until Joe first approached me about a punctuation post.

So I did what any educated American would do and went straight to Wikipedia. Here’s what I learned.

Setup vs. Set Up: The Truth About Phrasal Verbs

Setup vs. Set Up: The Truth About Phrasal Verbs

Words in English are tricky things. They merge and morph, even little changes adding layers of new meaning. Don’t believe me? Here’s an area I see lots of people getting tripped up: setup vs. set up. Is it one word or two? And does it even matter?

Actually, it’s both, and yes, it does matter. Let’s take a look at why, shall we?

How to Apply Helpful Writing Feedback (And How to Know What You Can Ignore)

How to Apply Helpful Writing Feedback (And How to Know What You Can Ignore)

When you’re a part of a writing community filled with great critique partners, you’ll be the happy recipient of lots of feedback on your writing. Sometimes it’s obvious how and when you should address the issues the feedback brings up.

But not all feedback is created equal, and often it can be overwhelming to know what feedback items you should address first or last, or whether you should address certain ones at all. Should you address every nitpick and complaint? Could your readers possibly be incorrect?

Christina Weaver on How to Revise a Story and Publish With Confidence

Christina Weaver on How to Revise a Story and Publish With Confidence

Having to revise your story doesn’t mean you’re an awful writer. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed in any way. Every successful author out there revises their work. They revise before they send it to their publisher and then they go through more revisions after their publisher sends it to an editor.

The bottom line is, as painful as it is, writers need to learn to love the revision process. Or at least tolerate it relatively well.

In today’s interview, we’re talking with Christina Weaver about how to revise a story. Christina may not be in love with revision, but she knows how vital it is to your story.

How to Use Possessives to Show Ownership

How to Use Possessives to Show Ownership

Possessives are a funny thing. When used correctly, they add much-needed clarity to our sentences. But they seem to confound our apostrophe rules.

Let’s sort out this grammar conundrum, shall we? With these rules mastered, you’ll clear up your readers’ confusion and use possessives like a pro.

5 Grammar Hacks for Writers Who Hate Grammar

5 Grammar Hacks for Writers Who Hate Grammar

I see this in comments on The Write Practice all the time. “I want to be a writer, but I know nothing about grammar.” I don’t have a degree in English or Journalism, either.

I am, though, a writer. For those of you who have decided you are a writer too, you don’t need a degree in English or be an expert in grammar. There are a few grammar hacks I’ve learned that have helped me.

How to Organize Writing Feedback so You Can Rewrite With Confidence

How to Organize Writing Feedback so You Can Rewrite With Confidence

If you’re a writer, you’ve probably received feedback. While some writing feedback is easily processed (like quick compliments), the best feedback takes time and energy to deal with. Receiving a flood of critiques can feel good at first. But after reading a deluge of opinions and observations and judgments, it can get really overwhelming.

Here’s how to organize the feedback you receive so you can approach the next draft with confidence!

Why You Need to be Using the Oxford Comma

Why You Need to be Using the Oxford Comma

Most of the fun of writing is using your words to tell a story. They course across the page, delighting in the joys of Maureen finally finding her Henry, shuddering as Ingrid uncovers her third dead body of the day, or mourning with Carlos for his lost mother. But I’m not here to talk about words. I’m here to sing the praises of punctuation; specifically, the Oxford comma.

Most people I’ve met have no idea what the Oxford comma is, but it’s probably something that you have used in the past. What is it?

The Ultimate Point of View Guide: Third Person Omniscient vs. Third Person Limited vs. First Person

The Ultimate Point of View Guide: Third Person Omniscient vs. Third Person Limited vs. First Person

As an editor, point of view problems are among the top mistakes I see inexperienced writers make, and they instantly erode credibility and reader trust.

However, point of view is simple to master if you use common sense.

This post will define point of view, go over each of the major POVs, explain a few of the POV rules, and then point out the major pitfalls writers make when dealing with that point of view.

Giveaway: Win ProWritingAid and Become a Grammar Master

Giveaway: Win ProWritingAid and Become a Grammar Master

Want to correct your grammar and improve your writing style? ProWritingAid has everything you need to take your writing to the next level, whether you’re looking for some grammar pointers or you’re a seasoned author and want to refine your style. We’re giving away two years of ProWritingAid to one lucky writer. Will you win?

The Complete Guide to Italicization

The Complete Guide to Italicization

Some time ago, we published a post on italicization in album and song titles. And then Joe sent me a screengrab of a Google search with general italicization questions, so we’re going whole-hog and attempting to write an all-inclusive complete guide to italicization: when you do and when you don’t. We’ve covered italicization in song titles and album titles already, so we’re moving on from there.

Is It Okay To End A Sentence With A Preposition?

Is It Okay To End A Sentence With A Preposition?

Occasionally, we grammar enthusiasts need to take a step back and lighten up a little bit. While there are some grammar rules that are hard and fast (I’m looking at you, comma splice), sometimes there is wiggle room (like the controversial claim that you can split infinitives). Today, we’re tackling another wiggly rule: is ending a sentence with a preposition okay?

Well, guess what? I’m here to liberate your pens and tell you that it’s okay for your protagonist to ask her cheating boyfriend who he was just with.

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