The shift from human support to automated support has become the butt of many comedians’ jokes and the differentiating factor in the advertising of select service-oriented companies. But is all self-service support bad? Personally, I think there are some situations where self-service support can actually be superior to speaking to a live person—for both users and businesses. To illustrate my point, I’ll share a couple of examples with you.
Users of Gmail, iGoogle, Google Voice, and the like may be familiar with Google Play, but as with the rollout of most Google offerings, this one has been flying under the radar. For the uninformed, it’s Google’s answer to competitors like Apple’s iTunes, iBooks and App Store, and Amazon’s catalog of videos, TV, music, books, apps and more. In this post, I’lll cover some pros and cons.
The English language can be quite peculiar at times, especially with so many words sounding alike but having different meanings. Consider this sentence: I wonder whose dog is the one who’s constantly leaving little presents on my lawn. When reading it, you can easily see the difference between whose and who’s but it’s not so obvious just hearing it. To help you know which one to use when, I’ve included some definitions and examples of whose and who’s below.
“To apostrophe or not to apostrophe?” that is the question. (Wait, I think I just verbed a noun there. Actually, I was checking to see if anyone was paying attention to Grammar Guide 7: Nouns Gone Wild.) Anyway…if you’re wondering whether to use it or it’s, here is where you’ll find the answer. Following are the meanings and some examples of its and it’s.
Sometimes I feel like “you’re” may be one of the least-used contractions out there, but that’s not because people aren’t saying it or meaning it. It’s because they’re not using it correctly in type. The rampant use of “your” when people mean “you’re” makes me wonder if the latter may someday be lost from the English language, forcing us to rely only context to understand what the writer actually meant.
There, there now, nearly all of us are guilty of accidentally using the wrong word from time to time. Recently, I saw someone post a rant on a friend’s Facebook wall about how people needed to “get a clue and at least make sure there grammar was correct.” Oh boy. Pot, meet kettle. So, in the interest of helping this poster make his point, the following are the correct meanings of they’re, their and there, complete with some helpful examples.
The English language is continually evolving. New social situations, new inventions and new trends create the need for new language to describe them. However, that evolution is not restricted to the invention of new words. More often we see existing words used in new ways, for example nouns being used as verbs. This “verbalization” or denominalization, as grammarians call it, is not new but it does seem to be on the rise.
A decade ago, a friend was something you cherished, not an action you took. An architect was someone who designed and supervised the construction of buildings, not the event of actually building or creating something. Sure, a doctor can doctor and a conductor can conduct, but that doesn’t mean a scientist can science. The verbing of nouns has simply gone wild.
Maybe it’s a trend or maybe it’s the company I’ve been keeping, but I’ve noticed an uptick in the usage of the somewhat-formal in regards to recently. In fact, a co-worker recently asked me to settle a dispute on whether or not regards should be plural when used in place of about or concerning.
While technical writers and devotees of the Chicago Manual of Style typically use serial commas in their writing, there are good reasons for Web writers to follow the Associated Press Stylebook, which advises against them.
First, to better engage readers, Web writing is usually more colloquial and journalistic in style, which is not in line with the more formal serial comma. But there’s a more important reason for not using them. In many languages (e.g., French, German, Italian, Spanish), the serial comma is not the norm and may even go against punctuation rules. So if your site will be translated into another language, your serial comma may be lost in translation and come across as unpolished. That being said, a serial comma is always welcome if it’s purpose for joining the party is to avoid ambiguity or confusion, or if an integral element of the series requires a conjunction.
For as long as I can remember, my father has had a playful attitude toward words. When I would answer his phone calls from the road, he would ask in a low-pitched, official-sounding voice, “Is this the party to whom I’m speaking?” And though it made me giggle, it was grammatically correct. Many people struggle with when to use who and whom in a sentence, but there is a straightforward method to choosing the right word. Just ask yourself if the subject is he or him and you’ll have the answer. Here are some examples: