Complement vs. Compliment: A Grammar Lesson

Thanks to this wonderful Pinterest post, there is no excuse for continuing to get this one wrong.

If you needed more incentive, the AP Style defines complement as a verb “denoting completeness or the process of supplementing something: The ship has a complement of 200 sailors and 20 officers. The tieĀ complementsĀ his suit.”

In summary, compliment equates niceness or praise. Complement is completed.


All Together vs. Altogether: A Grammar Lesson

You know that moment when you’re writing away and all of a sudden you can’t remember simple things? Like than or then? I once wrote an entire high school AP English paper without using than. To which my very patient teacher asked me, just how late were you up writing this paper? Of course, my answer was much too late.I didn’t get to rewrite the paper, but I have yet to forget than and then again.

I had a similar experience this morning. Out of nowhere, I couldn’t remember the difference between all together and altogether. Luckily, the AP Stylebook and this wonderful website fixed my confusion.

All together is an adverb and means a group.

Altogether is also an adverb and means completely and totally. It also means considering everything.

Looking this up reminded me of an elementary school lesson on this topic, all together means we (from the together) and we means a group. Only a group of things, people, etc. can get all together.

Colon or semicolon: a grammar lesson

If you aren’t following Mark Ragan (@MarkRaganCEO) on Twitter, you’re missing out. In addition to posting about the ever-changing landscape of Public Relations, he often posts quick grammar hit, like this one on the colon and semicolon.

Colons can be used for emphasis, to set off a list, indicate dialogue, introduce quotations and in a Question and Answer section. Semicolons indicate separation of thought and can be used to clarify a series, such as the first example in the above article. Additionally, the semicolon can replace a conjunction (and, but, or, etc.).

The truth is grammar is meant to be simple, it’s often over-thinking that creates the complications.

As my trusty, AP Stylebook states, “There is no alternative to correct punctuation.” Sometimes it is just better to recast the sentence than to try to fix it.

Eachother vs. Each Other: A Grammar Lesson

This is rather simple. According to Grammar Girl, each other is always two words in English. The AP Stylebook further explains each other and one another, where more confusion occurs.

As quoted from the 2007 AP Stylebook “Two people look at each other. More than two look at one another. Either phrase may be used when the number is indefinite: We help each other. We help one another.”

To sum it up, eachother is not a word in English. Each other and one another depend on the number of people involved.

Clear as mud?

Anyone, any one, anybody, any body: A Grammar lesson

Earlier today, I had to pull out my trusted AP Stylebook. I had to explain why anyone was wrong in a sentence and couldn’t quite remember why it was wrong, I just knew it was.

The sentence was, “any one can participate.” I just knew it was supposed to be, “anyone can participate,” but I couldn’t remember why.

Luckily, the AP Stylebook always has the answer.

One word for an indefinite reference, two words when the emphasis is on singling out a member from a group.

Indefinite reference: Why would anyone want to do that? (This is the most common).
Singling out: Any one can vote. (The group is whoever is eligible to vote.)

Still confused? Check out this post by my favorite Grammar Girl on the topic.