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Mrs. B’s

  • Tuesday, January 16

    WHAT COULD BE WORSE?

    “Worser” is one of those words Mrs. B hopes will never come from your mouth or from your keyboard, unless it’s someone’s family name. ...
  • Thursday, January 11

    A HISTORIC COLUMN

    A historic is a combination of words Mrs. B rejoices over. Take this example: A historic World War II boat that survived dozens of ...
  • Tuesday, January 9

    MERV KNOWS…

    In newswriting you’re always better off using short words in short sentences. It’s the most effective way to tell a story. Newswriting coach Merv ...
  • Thursday, January 4

    KEEPING IT SIMPLE

    Mrs. B likes what Mark Twain said about his mother: “She never used large words, but she had a natural gift for making small ...
  • Tuesday, January 2

    KEEP IT SIMPLE

    Instead of wordy phrases, Mrs. B hopes you’ll start simplifying. Try these on: Instead of “as a means to,” say to. Instead of “by ...
  • December 2017

  • Thursday, December 28

    SKIP THE 25-CENT WORDS

    Using 25-cent words doesn’t necessarily make you sound smarter. Usually the most effective language is the simplest. Mrs. B could “initiate” her lesson with ...
  • Thursday, December 21

    KEEP IT SIMPLE

    “Utilize” is a useless word for people who are trying to show off. It means the same thing as use. Most of the time ...
  • Tuesday, December 19

    MRS. B vs. VERSUS

    “Versus” is a preposition that means “against” in sports. In other contexts it means “as opposed to” or “in contrast to.” Notice there is ...
  • Thursday, December 14

    Being singular about plurals

    Mrs. B wants you to take a look at this: “The rumors were true,” she said of the split after an introduction that described ...
  • Tuesday, December 12

    TO EACH HIS OWN

    Each is always singular when it is the subject or comes before the subject it modifies. And these pronouns follow the same rule: every ...
  • Tuesday, December 5

    Latin Translations

    Some of Mrs. B's readers have asked about a Latin term you’ll see every now and then:  What does [sic] mean? The Latin adverb ...
  • November 2017

  • Thursday, November 30

    Trooper, Trouper

    Mrs. B is in a tiz today about "trooper" and "trouper." She keeps reading one when it should be the other. A "trooper" is ...
  • Tuesday, November 28

    **migrants, refugees*

    The terms "migrant" and "refugee" are sometimes used interchangeably, but there's a crucial legal difference between the two. Migrants leave home voluntarily to try ...
  • Wednesday, November 22

    9 THINGS TO KNOW FOR THANKSGIVING

    Mrs. B hopes if you're responsible for news graphics or web stories that you'll capitalize both Thanksgiving and Day. Here are nine things historians ...
  • Tuesday, November 21

    “ONLY” WAY TO GET IT RIGHT

    A careful writer, and Mrs. B hopes you are, makes sure that "only" lands in the correct place. Look at how the placement of ...
  • Thursday, November 16

    Some counseling on councils

    Mrs. B wonders if you've noticed the words "council" and "counsel" misused. A “council” is a group of people appointed or elected to serve ...
  • Tuesday, November 14

    MRS. B QUASHES THE WORD “SQUASH”

    Squash is a kind of vegetable (though from a botanical standpoint, it's a fruit). And squash is a racket sport that's played with a ...
  • Thursday, November 9

    THE EDITION THAT PUTS THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE

    Let's look at two sets of words that sound alike but have such different meanings. "Addition" is the process of adding (one plus one ...
  • Tuesday, November 7

    MRS. B BEHIND BARS

    Mrs. B's inspiration for today's lesson is this email: All too often I hear reporters use the terms "jail" and "prison" as if they ...
  • Thursday, November 2

    Mrs.B-Archive-11-02-2017

    No one will ever know you dont the difference between ?there,? ?theyre,? and ?their,? until the slip-up appears on a graphic or in your ...
  • October 2017

  • Tuesday, October 31

    Mrs.B-Archive-10-31-2017

    When to use ?lie? and ?lay? is one of the most challenging lessons in grammar. And even the best writers have trouble with it. ...
  • Thursday, October 26

    Mrs.B-Archive-10-26-2017

    Sometimes people get "conscience" and "conscious" mixed up. Just in case you have ever been one of those people, or might be one of ...
  • Tuesday, October 24

    Mrs.B-Archive-10-24-2017

    ?Continuously? means uninterrupted. ?Continually,? on the other hand, means frequently repeated. When Mrs. B hears "Well have continuous coverage of this story," she has ...
  • Thursday, October 19

    Mrs.B-Archive-10-19-2017

    With tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, and flooding comes damage. Mrs. B wants you to be clear that the noun "damage" is not the same as ...
  • Tuesday, October 17

    Mrs.B-Archive-10-17-2017

    Today Mrs. B wants you to look at three sets of words that sometimes cause some stumbling. ?Incredible? means hard to believe. Heres an ...
  • Thursday, October 12

    Mrs.B-Archive-10-12-2017

    ?Politics? is one of those words that can be either singular or plural, depending on the meaning you give it. When it refers to ...
  • Tuesday, October 10

    Mrs.B-Archive-10-10-2017

    ?Ring?, ?rang,? ?rung.? Those are the principal parts of the verb ?ring,? as in: ~ I ring the bell.  (present tense) ~She rang the ...
  • Thursday, October 5

    Mrs.B-Archive-10-05-2017

    One of our Minnesota newsies asks Mrs. B how to form the possessive case of names that end in "s." Add an apostrophe plus ...
  • Tuesday, October 3

    Mrs.B-Archive-10-03-2017

    Today Mrs. B wants you to look at plural possessives. This sentence works well to help explain the rule: ~The Supreme Court agreed with ...
  • September 2017

  • Thursday, September 28

    Mrs.B-Archive-09-28-2017

    Mrs. B reminds you of how easy it is to mix up these two little words: ?its? and ?its.? ?Its? is the possessive form ...
  • Tuesday, September 26

    Mrs.B-Archive-09-26-2017

    When Mrs. B heard this, she dropped her jaw, picked it up, and ran to the keyboard: Mark and Is series will begin tomorrow. ...
  • Thursday, September 21

    Mrs.B-Archive-09-21-2017

    A "wound" is usually thought of as an injury in which the skin is torn, pierced, or cut. For example: ~The dog bite left ...
  • Tuesday, September 19

    Mrs.B-Archive-09-19-2017

    Mrs. B has noticed confusion over "precedents" and "precedence." Lets begin, though, with the singular of "precedents." A precedent is an act that sanctions ...
  • Thursday, September 14

    Mrs.B-Archive-09-14-2017

    One of Mrs. Bs readers in South Florida suggested this lesson. ?All right? is always two words. (Delete "alright" from your sweet brain, please.) ...
  • Tuesday, September 12

    Mrs.B-Archive-09-12-2017

    Mrs. B has noticed that some of you use "to" following "between" in a phrase having to do with a range of numbers. For ...
  • Thursday, September 7

    Mrs.B-Archive-09-07-2017

    A message from one of Mrs. Bs friends in Albuquerque addresses a subject you may have wondered about, too: Are the words "deadly" and ...
  • Tuesday, September 5

    Mrs.B-Archive-09-05-2017

    Voil?! is a French interjection used to call attention to something. Pronounce it vwah-LAH. Thats a "v" sound before the "w" sound. And the ...
  • August 2017

  • Thursday, August 31

    Mrs.B-Archive-08-31-2017

    Lets review some terms we use in covering the legal system. Only police can book a suspect. Its then up to the district attorneys ...
  • Tuesday, August 29

    Mrs.B-Archive-08-29-2017

    Mrs. B wants you to look at two expressions that sound alike but have different meanings: "jury-rigged" and "jerrybuilt." Something rigged up temporarily, and ...
  • Thursday, August 24

    Mrs.B-Archive-08-24-2017

    When Mrs. B read this, she sprang into action with a lesson on "nauseous" and "nauseated": Monitor your symptoms: If you feel dizzy, nauseous, ...
  • Tuesday, August 22

    Mrs.B-Archive-08-22-2017

    You may have wondered why Zika virus is capitalized. Its name comes from the Zika Forest of Uganda, where the virus was first isolated ...
  • Thursday, August 17

    Mrs.B-Archive-08-17-2017

    Mrs. B knows you hear it a lot, and maybe have even said it or written it, but "convicted felon" is redundant. A felon ...
  • Tuesday, August 15

    Mrs.B-Archive-08-15-2017

    Mrs. B has heard this kind of construction a few times lately: I wish I would have done more research before I went out ...
  • Thursday, August 10

    Mrs.B-Archive-08-10-2017

    Mrs. B is about to literally explode with joy! Literally? Really? That would be a mess. The truth is Mrs. B is figuratively (symbolically) ...
  • Tuesday, August 8

    Mrs.B-Archive-08-08-2017

    "Fewer" refers to the number of something and is used with plural nouns. Heres a headline example:                    2017 Sees Fewer Speeding Tickets In ...
  • Thursday, August 3

    Mrs.B-Archive-08-03-2017

    "Hanged" is the word to use when youre talking about suicides or executions. So lets correct this headline: Man killed woman and grandson, hung ...
  • Tuesday, August 1

    Mrs.B-Archive-08-01-2017

    Mrs. B knows you have important places to go and important people to see, but please take a minute to check your pronunciation of ...
  • July 2017

  • Thursday, July 27

    Mrs.B-Archive-07-27-2017

    Do you remember what an irregular verb is? That means it doesnt form its past tense by adding -ed. "Shake" is an irregular verb. ...
  • Tuesday, July 25

    Mrs.B-Archive-07-25-2017

    It was in July of 1965 that, under the leadership of President Johnson, Congress created Medicare under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act. ...
  • Thursday, July 20

    Mrs.B-Archive-07-20-2017

    "Whos" is a contraction of the pronoun "who" and the verb "is," as in: ~Whos going to do the headlines from the newsroom? ~Weve ...