When dependent clauses require commas, when do they allow them, and when are they definitely incorrect?

I’ve been writing in English for many years, but there are certain recurring issues that come up in my writing, which I can’t seem to resolve permanently. Primarily I have a problem with punctuation. In my native language, commas are very commonly used. One would place a comma to separate any portion of the sentence … Read more

How do I quote a word that ends with a possessive apostrophe?

What is the correct way to enclose within double quotes a word that ends with a possessive apostrophe? For example: The “professionals’” confidence was badly shaken by the market crash. I used quotes around professionals’ to emphasize that they are merely self-proclaimed “professionals” as opposed to real professionals. Did I use double quotes correctly? Should … Read more

Why is there a hyphen in ‘to-night’?

How are you to-night, Helen? Have you coughed much to-day? —Jane Eyre Why does Jane Eyre have a hyphen in to-night? Does it signify that the pronunciation in Emily Brontë’s day was [tunáit], not [tənáit], or what? Answer Per the Online Etymology Dictionary, tonight was written as two words until the 18th century, after which … Read more

Now we’re only a nip and tuck away

Please explain the title of the following image: I know that tuck away is an idiom and may have a literal or figurative meaning. I also understand that according to The Free Dictionary, definition #16 nip may be: 16. (Medicine) plastic surgery performed for cosmetic reasons. Despite all the above mentioned I cannot realize the … Read more

Using “or” or “nor” with three options

Which of these sentences is correct? Don’t you ever call me “honey”. Nor “sweetheart”, nor “my dear”. Don’t you ever call me “honey”. Or “sweetheart”, or “my dear”. Don’t you ever call me “honey”, nor “sweetheart”, nor “my dear”. Don’t you ever call me “honey”, or “sweetheart”, or “my dear”. Answer Option 4 sounds natural … Read more