Barbara VenkataramanFear not, Gentle Writer, Mrs. Grammar Person, heeding your cry for help, has returned, delighted to be of service once again. Like you, Mrs. G.P revels in the knowledge that, while fashions may come and go (both the tasteful and the tacky), exceptional grammar never goes out of style. It is her fervent hope that her words of wisdom serve to complement your knowledge so that you receive nothing but compliments on your writing.

Mrs. G.P. marvels at the difference a single letter can make! She knows that the effect of her words deeply affect you. Especially once you come to realize that effect is a noun and affect is a verb.

She brings you these tidbits so that you may take them with you, safely ensconced in your heart, along with your affection for your favorite grammarian. Coyly, Mrs. Grammar Person reminds you that you bring things toward you, but take things away from you.

Mrs. G. P. wants you to know that you can always count on her. And speaking of counting, here is a handy rule: when using “fewer” or “less” in a sentence, if you can count it, use the word “fewer”, if you cannot, use the word “less”. Another excellent rule to live by is this one: Less is more. Nobody likes to hear anything twice, so it’s best to avoid being repetitious, redundant, reiterative, and duplicative in your writing, dear ones. As Shakespeare taught us, brevity is the soul of wit!

When Mrs. Grammar Person hears of the mistakes her writers frequently make, she feels an attack of the vapors coming on and must immediately lie down. She lays her head on the pillow and waits for her devotees to understand the difference between lie and lay. Lay must always have an object. Thus, you lay the book on the counter, but lie down. One way to remember this is to tell yourself that people lie, but Mrs. G. P. disagrees, believing that most people are honest and good.

Mrs. Grammar Person has enjoyed chatting with you today and hopes that you follow her advice, not out of admiration for her, but because of its own intrinsic worth. Mrs. G. P. will sleep well tonight knowing that you understand “it’s” is a contraction of it and is, while “its”is the possessive form and requires no apostrophe. Ever.

Mrs. Grammar Person fondly bids you adieu, Gentle Writers, comforted by the thought that our paths will cross again.

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