Grammar Tip: Don’t & Doesn’t. They Don’t Mix

Doesn’t is a contraction of does not and should be used only with a singular subject. Don’t is a contraction of do not and should be used only with a plural subject. The exception to this rule appears in the case of the first person and second person pronouns I and you. With these pronouns, the contraction don’t should be used. He doesn’t like it. They don’t like it.

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Grammar Tip: Will I Get Passed or Past Over for Promotion?

passed, past
passed = the past tense of the verb ‘to pass’. The basketball player passed the ball to the forward.
past = belonging to a former time or beyond a time or place. Grandpa is always talking about the past. The restaurant is just past the next block.


Grammar Tip: Do You Feel Bad or Badly?

Do I Feel Bad About Feeling Badly? 😕

  • Bad or Badly ?When you want to describe how you feel, you should use an adjective. You might say, “I feel bad.” Saying “I feel badly” would be like saying you play football badly. “I feel badly” would mean that you are unable to feel, as though your hands were numb. Here are some other examples:
    • “The dog smells badly.” Here, badly means that the dog does not do a good job of smelling.
    • “The dog smells bad.” Here, “bad” means that dog needs a bath.
    • N.B. Sometimes people say, “I feel badly,” when they feel that they have done something wrong. Let’s say you dropped your friend’s favorite dish, and it broke into a million pieces. You might say, “I feel really badly about what happened.”

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Grammar Tip: Is It It’s or Its Or Is It Confusing?

Its, It’s

  • its = possessive adjective (possessive form of the
    pronoun it): The crab had an unusual growth on its shell.
  • it’s = contraction for it is or it has (in a verb phrase): It’s still raining; it’s been raining for three days.
  • (Pronouns have apostrophes only when two words are being shortened into one.)

Writers’ Wisdom: Mysteries

Write as precisely and as lucidly and as richly as you can about what you find truly mysterious and irreducible about human experience, and not obscurely about what will prove to be received opinion or cliché once the reader figures out your stylistic conceit. There’s all the difference in the world between mystery and mystification. ~ Paul Harding