Blog Archives

The Use of Quotation Marks

The principal function of quotation marks is to mark quotes and dialogues. In Spanish, there are two formulas for dialogues: dashes and quotation marks. The latter are used when dialogues are incorporated in the paragraph or within a dialogue that is marked off by quotation marks. Quotation marks are also used with memories and thoughts. […]

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The Extension of the Period and Links Between Sentences

The custom in English today of having expository clarity give precedence to short sentences that are separated by periods, whereas in Spanish the are considered as subordinate elements within a main sentence. The greatest extension of the period in English in relation to Spanish is seen in the capacity of English to construct a series […]

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Commas in English and Spanish

In English, we generally use a comma in front of the conjunctions “and” and “or”. The structures in English allow for us to skip the comma when working with other conjunctions. In certain sentences, the pause indicated by the comma will not be enough and a semi-colon must be used instead. Subordinate adverbial clauses between […]

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Adjectives: Differences in English and Spanish

In English, adjectives are always spelled the same and, syntactically, are almost always placed before the noun. In Spanish, there are a few that are generally unchangeable, but the majoirty aren’t, and nearly all of them denote the number of the subject (singular or plural). Its expressive value differs depending on if it is placed […]

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Subject Verb Object

Both English and Spanish follow the S-V-O (subject – verb – object) order, though each to a different degree. In contemporary English, this scheme is preferred by the majority of speakers and writers. In Spanish, it is a basic order that the language often moves away from as a result of style guidelines and individual […]

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Obama and the Grammar Police

While President Obama has long been lauded for his eloquent speech (see my post “Obama and Power of Words”), as well as his intellect and professionalism, he has also been slammed for his grammar. Obama’s most widely criticized “mistake” is doubtlessly his “misuse” of pronouns. Like so many American English speakers, myself included, Obama often […]

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The Economist cracks down on Americanisms

The Economist is the well-known and acclaimed magazine newspaper(!) about…well, economics…that is published in the UK. One of its proudest principles is how it likes to take stands on issues and argue in favor of or against topics. It is read by important, influential, and intelligent people throughout the world. So as I was thumbing […]

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